Halos confident with Kendrick in three-hole

Halos confident with Kendrick in three-hole

DETROIT -- With Albert Pujols missing another game with right calf inflammation, second baseman Howard Kendrick took his spot in the three-hole for the second time in three days and second time this season.

"We've hit him third before," manager Mike Scioscia said. "When you have a piece like [Pujols] out of the middle of your lineup, you have to move some things around."

Kendrick hit third in 22 games last season. And although he doesn't have the power numbers one might expect for a player hitting in the three-hole, he's been one of the team's most consistent hitters, especially turning it on in August.

Kendrick is hitting .338 with a .395 on-base percentage for the month. He has three straight multihit games and four RBis in that span, including driving in the team's only two runs on a double to left-center field Friday night.

"Howie is no doubt feeling more comfortable in the batter's box," Scioscia said. "There's no doubt he's hitting the ball harder and starting to drive the ball a little bit better like he can. It's an important piece to our offense."

The 29-year-old has hit six doubles -- his highest total in any month -- has 11 RBIs and 25 hits. He's also hitting .311 vs. lefties this season, which likely factored into Scioscia's decision.