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Grossman finding life with five-hit night

Astros prospect perfect at the plate, sparks RedHawks' romp
July 20, 2013

Robbie Grossman has undergone something of a renaissance in July. And Saturday night was the best he's been this month.

The Astros' No. 18 prospect recorded his first five-hit game in more than four years, going 5-for-5 with a triple, two runs scored and an RBI to lead Triple-A Oklahoma City to an 8-1 victory at Memphis.

"Just one of those days where you get good pitches to hit and you hit them. They found holes," said Grossman, who's hitting .377 in 16 games in July. "Things go your way and you're just excited to get your next at-bat."

The 23-year-old outfielder had the added bonus of getting his first three hits off Chris Carpenter, the former National League Cy Young Award winner who's working his way back from shoulder and back injuries.

"For sure, [it was cool]," he said. "As Minor Leaguers, you always want to see guys like that."

Grossman has experienced all kinds of highs and lows this year. Acquired from the Pirates last July 25, he began this season by making his Triple-A debut in Oklahoma City. After hitting .324 in his first 19 games, he made his big league debut against the Mariners on April 24.

The California native went 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles and a run scored in that first game, but he ended up batting .198/.310/.243 in 28 games with the Astros and was back in the Pacific Coast League by the end of May.

The slump didn't end there, however. That .324 average he left the PCL with dipped to .228 after he hit .167 in June. This month, however, the tide has turned for the better.

"Yeah, I went to the big leagues and then came back down to make some adjustments and they're starting to pay off," Grossman said. "I'm seeing the ball better, making better contact. Just a couple things with my swing and just being more confident."

Saturday's performance boosted his overall Minor League line to .268/.382/.351 with two homers and 19 RBIs in 63 games. He also has 12 stolen bases in 17 attempts.

Grossman has always been noted for his plate discipline. In 2011, he became the first Minor Leaguer in seven years to draw 100 walks and score 100 runs in a season. And last year, he hit .266/.376/.410 in 131 games between Double-A Altoona and Corpus Christi.

The switch-hitter has been able to maintain that patience this season and, if Saturday -- and this month in general -- is any indication, he's bringing his average back as well.

"There's a lot of games left, I just have to keep doing what I've been doing, getting better every day and continue working hard," he said.

Third-ranked Astros prospect George Springer chipped in two RBIs for the RedHawks along with catcher Carlos Perez.

Jake Buchanan (2-2) scattered five hits and four walks over six scoreless innings, striking out five to earn the win.

Carpenter (0-1), making his second rehab start and first with Memphis, was charged with four runs on nine hits and two walks while fanning two in 3 1/3 innings.

Jonathan Raymond is a contributor to