Craig Biggio, for the time being, remains the Houston Astros single-season hits leader with 210. But with Jose Altuve notching his 200th in in the Astros 146th game of the season, Biggio’s record is clearly in jeopardy.
Jose went hitless in the first two games of the series with the Mariners. But with a .400+ career batting average against M’s starter Hisashi Iwakuma, Altuve appeared destined to reach the 200-hit mark. The MLB leader in hits certainly has not endured lengthy slumps this season and just needed a big hit to snap out of his mini-funk.
In the top of the fifth inning, Altuve did just that with an RBI double (41) to score Robbie Grossman. Jose’s 200th hit came on the first offering from Mariners’ relief pitcher Danny Farquhar in the top of the 7th inning. Pretty fitting for Altuve as he had a .418 batting average (56×134) going into Wednesday’s game. He would go on to take 3rd base for his 52nd stolen base of the season.
Nick Tropeano made his MLB debut and also earned the victory. Through 5+ innings of work, Nitro yielded 2 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks.
The Mariners two runs scored via an RBI double to Mike Zunino in response to the top half of the second inning to make the game 3-2. Houston would add their 4th run on Altuve’s RBI double in the 5th inning while Alex Presley contributed with an RBI single in the top of the 8th inning.
Tropeano departed following a lead-off walk to Michael Saunders. Fortunately Darin Downs came in and struck out Robinson Cano before getting Kendrys Morales to ground into an inning-ending double play. Downs would throw a hitless 7th inning for his 2 innings of work while facing just 5 batters. Jose Veras fired a perfect 8th inning while Tony Sipp nailed down the save albeit a deep fly ball to right field ended the game.
The Astros are 6-2 in the month of September and will face the Mariners for the last time this season September 19-21. That series will also be the end of the 2014 home schedule for the Astros.