With a rolling single up the middle off Corey Kluber in the seventh inning, Jose Altuve on Tuesday set a new franchise record for most hits in a season. He won't be stopping there. The AL batting leader has 211 hits on the year, snapping Craig Biggio's mark set in 1998, and still has 11 games on the schedule to add to his record.
Biggio, Altuve grasp hands after record
(c) Associated Press
The Venezuelan had previously tied the mark with a Biggioesque double down the third base line in the fifth. He has had multi-hit performances in the last six games, pushing his season batting average to .343. If that holds up, he'll become the first Astro ever to win a batting title.
Biggio was on hand to see his record broken. He sat in the field box next to Nolan Ryan. Altuve came over and shook Biggio's hand in the fifth after tying the mark. The two have met previously and Biggio says he is a big fan of his second base heir.
Unfortunately, this all came about during a 4-1 defeat to Kluber and the Cleveland Indians which snapped a two-game winning streak. Kluber earned his 16th win of the season, striking out 14 while allowing seven hits and one run over seven innings of work. Nick Tropeano, in his second start as an Astro, lasted five innings and gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits while walking two. Despite the 1-1 record, "NiTro" still owns a solid 2.70 ERA.
Yan Gomes smashed a two-run homer in the sixth off a slumping Darin Downs to push the Tribe's advantage to 4-1 before Houston put on a final rally.
Marwin Gonzalez was the offensive star for the Astros. Batting from the fifth spot, he drove home Altuve in the first inning with a single to right to tie the game at one. In the eighth, Gonzalez was on the scoring end after consecutive singles by Max Stassi and Alex Presley.
Stassi, Altuve and Gonzalez each had two of Houston's nine hits. Robbie Grossman owned the Golden Sombrero with four punchouts.
In Wednesday night's 7:10 Central contest, Brett Oberholtzer (5-11) will seek to put himself and his team back on the winning track when he duels Carlos Carrasco (7-5). Oberholtzer could not get out of the fifth inning in his last start, an 11-3 loss to the Angels.