Did the meeting work? You bet

The lengthy team meeting Astros manager Brad Mills called prior to Wednesday appears to have paid dividends. The Astros went out and pounded the Pirates, 8-2, after Mills and his players met for 70 minutes prior to the game to talk about ways to get team going in the right direction.

“I’m going to go out and say if we don’t have that meeting today, the energy doesn’t change because it hasn’t changed in a couple of weeks now,” Astros shortstop Clint Barmes said. “That what it seemed like. From before the game started in our dugout and the way the guys played, it just seemed like there was just a little extra hustle from everybody.”

Astros pitcher Bud Norris, who got the win Wednesday, thought it was beneficial.

“We needed to come together and bring the unit back together and realize where we’re at,” Norris said. “We’re only at the halfway point. To go out there and do the little things is really what’s it’s all about, and that’s exactly what we did today. We got guys over and got them into scoring position and guys drove in them in. We need to keep learning and growing in that part of the game and be smart with it, too.”

Barmes said the Astros’ first-half woes have been “embarrassing.”

“Something definitely needs to change,” he said. “I think we have the talent, and I believe we’ve had the talent here from day one. We can play with any team, and we’ve shown that at times. We just haven’t finished games off. There’s no reason we can’t do that, and tonight was a huge positive to show a lot of the guys in this clubhouse it can be done and this is how we have to start going about it.”

Carlos Lee was among the players who got up and spoke to the group.

“It was kind of like everybody expressed themselves and got a lot of things out and I think we feel like we have a new start, refreshed,” Lee said. “We went out there and we did the job. We got the guys over, we got big hits and we played good defense and had solid pitching. It was a good game overall.”

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