It's been a brutal start to José Abreu's brief Astros career, but one of the premier run producers of his generation reached a milestone in the top of the first inning Wednesday night.
With the Astros already leading 1-0, Houston's cleanup hitter stepped into the box with runners on second and third. Abreu fell down in the count 0-2 before fouling off back to back pitchers from Miles Mikolas. Mikolas delivered a fastball up-and-out in the fifth pitch of the at-bat, and Abreu did what run producers do--found a way to get Alex Bregman home.
Abreu lifted the pitch into right field, scoring Bregman on the sacrifice fly and advancing Kyle Tucker to third. The SAC fly gave the Astros a 2-0 lead. Tucker later came around to score on a single from Jeremy Peña, giving Houston three runs in the first.
The routine sacrifice fly was the 37th RBI of the season for Abreu, but more importantly, the 900th of his big league career. The first baseman became only the 395th player in big league history to drive in 900 runs.
Abreu became the fourth-fastest active player to reach 900 career RBI, doing so in his 1,346th game. Only Miguel Cabrera, Nolan Arenado and Giancarlo Stanton reached the milestone faster.
Abreu's 2023 has been noteworthy for all the wrong reasons, but the milestone RBI is the latest in a string of positive signs for Abreu. Abreu came into tonight hitting .282 with a .782 OPS and 16 RBI in June. He'd driven in only 20 runs on the season before driving in 17 and counting this month.
If the Astros are going to find a way to run down the Rangers, they're going to need more positive at-bats and run production from their prized free agent signing like the one he had tonight.