MLB Team Report - Houston Astros - INSIDE PITCH


BOSTON - There really is not much more to say about what Jose Altuve has done this season.

The Little Big Man second baseman hit a grand slam, one of his four hits, Sunday to power the Astros to an 8-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox.

It was Houston's 52nd win of the year, one more than last season -- and Altuve has been tremendous. He's leading the major league in hitting (.339) hits (173), and multi-hit games (53). Oh, and he leads the American League with 46 stolen bases.

He is way ahead of Craig Biggio's 1998 pace that led to the Houston club record of 210 hits.

"I just try to stay away from that and not pay attention much and just do my game," Altuve said. "If I get hits, I get hits. If I get on base, I get on base, score more runs for my team. As long as we're winning it's going to be OK."

His manager, Bo Porter, says Altuve always wants to have the bases loaded during situational batting practice. The manager also says four-hit outings like the one Sunday come as no shock.

"He's been doing it all year. It's no surprise to us," Porter said. "You grow accustomed to feeling like if he doesn't get two hits you feel like something is wrong, but he's having a great year and we just stand on top of him telling him, 'Finish strong, finish strong, finish strong.' He's in a great position to do a couple of things extremely special."

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MLB Team Report - Houston Astros - NOTES, QUOTES


RECORD: 52-73

STREAK: Won one

NEXT: Astros (LHP Brett Oberholtzer, 4-8, 3.87) at Yankees (LHP Chris Capuano, 1-3, 4.13)

PLAYER NOTES:

--2B Jose Altuve ripped a second-inning grand slam Sunday, the first slam of his career and his sixth home run of the season. He had four hits, registering his major league-leading 53rd multi-hit game of the season. He has 173 hits, also tops in the majors, as he sets his sights on Craig Biggio's club record of 210, set in 1998. He was also leading the majors in hitting, standing at .339 at game's end. "Oh man, the big guy. He put a charge in that one," said manager Bo Porter. "Every time we have situational hitting and we let them pick their situation, Altuve always ... [says] 'bases loaded, bases loaded,'" Porter said. "He got bases loaded today and put a real good swing on it." Altuve became the first Astro with four hits, including a grand slam, in a game since Jeff Bagwell back in 2004.

--RHP Colin McHugh, who notched his first win since June 3 when he beat the Minnesota Twins in his last start (six innings, one run, four hits), went six innings for his second straight victory. He pitched in and out of trouble throughout his six innings but gave up only a third-inning run. "It was kind of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde today," said McHugh, who turned in his fourth straight one-run performance. "Some innings I felt really great, some innings I was really struggling command-wise -- especially with the fastball."

--3B Matt Dominguez, who started 104 straight games before sitting on Saturday night, was back in the lineup Sunday. He had a sacrifice fly in the six-run second inning but also grounded into his 22nd double play of the season -- his fourth in three games in Boston.

--Rookie 1B Jon Singleton was advised by manager Bo Porter to use Boston's David Ortiz as a model for building his hitting career. "That maturation takes time," Porter said before the game. "When [Ortiz] first started his career, he wasn't the player that he is today. With some players, it clicks right away, but other guys have to experience some of the failure and play it back in their mind and go back and look at the video. What you're hoping is as they get into these situations more and more, the success in which they have will breed confidence, and the failure they experience, you hope it motivates them to understand that situation so the next time they find themselves in that situation, they feel better prepared." Singleton's reaction? "He just shook his head and said, 'I see exactly what you're talking about,'" said Porter. Singelton hit his 11th homer, a 440-foot shot, in the ninth inning.

--RHPs Matt Albers (shoulder, since early in the season) and Jesse Crain (biceps tendinitis surgery) may or may not pitch before the end of the season, but general manager Jeff Luhnow hopes to see both of them at some point. "It would be nice to have those two guys in the bullpen in September to help us win some games," the GM said. "I'm sure they want to do that as well so they can establish something going into next year."