Barmes hitting second in series opener

Barmes hitting second in series opener

HOUSTON -- Clint Barmes' average and his place in the lineup are both up.

Buried in the batting order for much of the season, the defensively-steady shortstop was in the two-hole for Friday night's series opener against the Astros.

The jump came in the wake of a nine-game spurt during which Barmes hit .417, with four multihit games. The spree lifted his average to a season-high .230. It was the sixth time in 134 games that Barmes was in the top third of the starting lineup.

"He's just been very steady for us," manager Clint Hurdle said. "He's probably had more hits to right field the last month than in the entire season before. He's letting the ball travel and is seeing it well. Hopefully, he gives us a spark there."

Barmes could be in the right place to do just that. Not meaning No. 2, but Houston. In his first dozen starts against his 2011 club, Barmes had a homer and seven RBIs, while going 10-for-39 (.256).