HOUSTON -- It's been more than two months since Brett Wallace was sent to Triple-A Oklahoma City following a 1-for-24 slump, including 17 strikeouts, to start the season. He flourished with the RedHawks and was rewarded with a callup to the Astros on Tuesday.
"It's definitely exciting," he said. "A lot of hard work went into it."
Wallace hit .326 with 15 doubles, 11 homers and 37 RBIs in 59 games at Oklahoma City, hitting both lefties (.332) and righties (.329) well. Wallace gives the Astros an option at third base now that Marwin Gonzalez has been sent down, and he can play first base and designated hitter.
"It's good to get Brett back," manager Bo Porter said. "He went to Triple-A and did everything we asked him to do. He swung the bat well down there, played first and third. He was on the Opening Day roster and was one of our starters and had a setback, but at the same time, he's earned the right to have this opportunity."
Porter rewarded him with a start on Tuesday at designated hitter.
"That was awesome," Wallace said. "Bo said there would opportunities and I told him I was ready to do whatever it took. When that first lineup went up and I looked at it, I was pretty excited to be in there."
Wallace made a few minor adjustments to his swing while in Oklahoma City, focusing on moving his hands up like he's done in the past. Other than that, his success was about getting back in the flow at the plate and regaining confidence.
"Hitting's crazy in that sense," he said. "You can lose your rhythm pretty quickly, but you can also gain it back quite quickly. Once I got down there and started doing my work, I feel like I got my rhythm back quickly and from there, just tried to work hard every day."
Elmore recalled to serve as middle-infield backup
HOUSTON -- Infielder Jake Elmore was only with the Astros for a few days in his previous stint, but he made a terrific impression on manager Bo Porter and general manager Jeff Luhnow by hitting .364 in 11 at-bats.
Elmore, who appeared in three games with Houston in May while Jose Altuve was on the bereavement list, figures to stick around with the team longer this time. The team called up him Tuesday to serve as a backup in the middle infield.
"Last time I was here, everybody knew the circumstances and it was unfortunate," Elmore said. "Obviously, this might be a little more of an opportunity and hopefully I'll take advantage of it."
Elmore, who made his Major League debut last year and appeared in 30 games at the end of the season for Arizona, was hitting .300 with 42 runs scored, 13 doubles, 30 RBIs, 16 steals and a .383 on-base percentage in 69 games at Triple-A Oklahoma City.
"I feel pretty good," he said. "Once I got down, I kind of had a rough stretch, but lately I've been playing pretty well and moving around positions. I'm comfortable, feel good at the plate and I'm ready to go."
Club's recent defensive woes concern Porter
HOUSTON -- Astros manager Bo Porter would like to see his team tighten the screws on defense following a stretch in which it committed eight errors which led to a total of seven unearned runs in the five games previous to Tuesday.
Houston entered Tuesday's game against the Cardinals leading the Major Leagues with 60 errors and 40 unearned runs in 77 games.
"More important to me are the compound errors, the errors that actually lead to unearned runs," Porter said. "You want to clean those things up. I said the group, to me, a lot of times, I think errors are more of a product of not understanding which plays need to be made."
Houston's skipper said players need to understand they have more time to make plays when the balls are hit hard and recognize when a fast runner means they have to get rid of the ball quicker.
"That's something as a coaching staff and a manager, we have to address with our players, and I think the progression has taken place and we'll get better in that area," Porter said.