Watch Out Pirates, Here Comes Hunter Pence

The Houston Astros suck a lot right now, but Hunter Pence is on fire.

The 28-year-old outfielder extended his hitting streak to 23 games after going 3-for-4 with 4 RBI in his team's 8-3 win over the Atlanta Braves on Monday.

Pence, who missed his first game of the season on Sunday with tightness in his back, went yard off Derek Lowe in the third inning for his ninth homer of the year and drove in two more with a base hit in Houston's five-run sixth.

His hit streak is the longest in the big leagues currently, while batting .325 with 50 RBI on the season. He's now tied up with Art Howe, Moises Alou and Luis Gonzalez for the fourth-longest streak in franchise history. Good company. If he wants to be the best, he'll need to hit in eight more games consecutively to beat Willy Taveras' 30-game hitting streak from back in 2006.

Wouldn't it be nice if hitting was contagious? Especially when you're the 25-42 last-place Houston Astros.

Pence will attempt to keep the streak alive Tuesday evening when they face Jeff Karstens (3-4, 2.94 ERA) and the Pittsburgh Pirates at Minute Maid Park. His .299 career batting average against Pirates pitching is a good sign, and he's gone 4-for-12 against them so far this season. He's even better against Karstens historically, with a lifetime .500 average, a home run, a double and 2 RBI in 10 career at bats.

Good luck to you, Hunter. I'll be watching you crush some Pirates pitching on channel no. 659 on my DirecTV at 8pm ET tonight!

[Houston Chronicle]

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