HOUSTON The recurring ups and downs of James Loney at the plate are on the upswing again.
After going hitless in his first 16 at-bats this season, the left-handed Loney has gone 10 for 30 (.333) in his last 10 games.
The first baseman didn't start Sunday against Houston Astros left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, who has held Loney to two hits in 13 plate appearances.
But after Rodriguez left the game, Loney hit a pinch-hit single against reliever Fernando Rodriguez in the eighth inning.
Loney hit his first home run of the season Saturday, pulling the ball into the upper deck at Minute Maid Park. He also has four doubles but is still batting only .217.
"I feel fine" at bat, Loney said. "I'm not really too concerned with numbers all the time. It's more of how I'm hitting the ball and how my timing is."
Loney also started poorly last year, batting .170 in his first 24 games. He hit .314 with 11 home runs the rest of the season.
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