KANSAS CITY -- With George Springer again stealing headlines on Monday night, it would have been easy to miss a special night from Dexter Fowler.
Like Springer, Fowler reached base in all five plate appearances in the Astros' 9-2 win over the Royals. Fowler singled twice and walked three times.
Since manager Bo Porter installed Fowler into the three-spot of the lineup, a potent 1-2-3 punch from the top of the order has formulated. Second baseman Jose Altuve leads off (and leads the Majors in hits), Springer slots into the two-hole, with Fowler acting as the unconventional No. 3 hitter.
Fowler has occupied the three-hole for 11 of the last 13 games, and the only reason he batted second in those other two games was because of Springer's absence. Fowler has seen time in all three of the top spots, but has been most successful in the three-hole, where he had posted a .333/.483/.444 line in 13 games entering Tuesday's action.
Fowler does not mash home runs at the rate of a traditional No. 3 hitter (in fact, his .373 slugging percentage is a career low), but for what Fowler lacks in power he makes up for with the on-base skills he inherited during his six years with the Rockies when he primarily batted first and second.
"It is what you make it, obviously the situations are a little different, but I treat it like I'm a leadoff hitter," Fowler said.
Fowler's perfect Monday night at the plate upped his OBP to .381. He leads the American league in both walks (22) and OBP (.455) in May.
Presley, Gonzalez key Astros' rallies vs. KC
KANSAS CITY -- When reminiscing over the perfect nights at the plate from Dexter Fowler and George Springer on Monday, remember the circumstances that led to the opportunities the Astros' outfielders received.
Twice, the bottom of the order jumpstarted two-out, bases empty rallies in the 9-2 win over the Royals.
In the center of it all was Alex Presley and Marwin Gonzalez, the eighth and ninth hitters, respectively. Presley collected three hits, while Gonzalez rapped out a career-high four hits.
All seven of Presley and Gonzalez's hits came with two outs and no runners on. The duo had a hand in all four runs Houston scored with two outs.
"I think that was part of our woes earlier on in the year, just not being able to get those two-out hits," manager Bo Porter said after the game, adding, "You look at a lot of those hits, they're up the middle, they're the other way, I feel like the guys are really covering all aspects of the strike zone."
Three runs crossed in the second inning after Gonzalez kept the frame alive with a two-out double.
In the third, Presley and Gonzalez reached base with two outs and nobody aboard, in essence knocking Royals starter Yordano Ventura out of the game, as he departed with an elbow injury in the next at-bat.
Presley and Gonzalez's work on Monday earned them starts against Kansas City starter Jeremy Guthrie on Tuesday, somewhat surprising considering both were playing on a platoon basis.
"From Marwin, the way he swung the bat yesterday and played defense, Presley swung the bat well, I'm just going to go out and continue to ride the hot hand," Porter said.
Clemens set to host celebrity slam event
KANSAS CITY -- Former Astros pitcher and current organizational advisor Roger Clemens will host the inaugural Rocket Man Celebrity Slam on Tuesday, July 15.
The independent Sugar Land Skeeters, another team Clemens formerly played on, will field the event at their home ballpark, Constellation Field.
Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, will be joined at the event by fellow former Astros Roy Oswalt and Jeff Bagwell. Additionally, country music stars Toby Keith and Billy Dawson highlight a list of celebrities that will be in attendance.
All proceeds for the benefit will go to the Roger Clemens Foundation.
"We are looking forward to putting on a good show for all of our Sugar Land and Houston fans," Clemens said in a press release from the Skeeters. "Fans can come on out and have a good time, take some pictures and get some cool autographs. Most of all, we appreciate all of the support for our charity."
Jackson Alexander is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.