Jose Altuve Announces His Return With Authority

Minnesota Twins v Houston Astros
Minnesota Twins v Houston Astros / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

Yes, the Astros lost yesterday's game in rather surprising fashion. But might it be a point in time we look back on as a turning point in the Astros season?

With an offense that has struggled to score runs all year once again scuffling, the lineup chased Sonny Gray in the bottom of the seventh and brought their face of the franchise to the plate with the bases loaded.

These are the moments that have defined Jose Altuve for years. With his team down 4-1, Altuve flipped the game on it's head, turning on a 98.7 mph fastball and depositing it into the seats. The Grand Slam gave Houston a 5-4 lead, and with Hector Neris shutting things down in the eighth, this one was all but over.

Ryan Pressly went on to blow his first save in 28 tries, playoffs included, allowing Minnesota to force extra innings where fellow shutdown reliever Bryan Abreu also got touched up. The Twins left with a 7-5 lead, but for the Astros, yesterday was pivotal.

Ryan Pressly and Bryan Abreu won't give up three combined runs in games moving forward. The bullpen is as lights out as can be. But the offense hadn't been. That is, until Altuve returned.

Since coming off the IL, Altuve is hitting .355. In only eight games, Altuve has three doubles, two home runs, six RBI and five walks. He's reaching base at a 44% clip and is slugging .645. All that adds up to a 1.090 OPS and 197 OPS+.

The Astros have been desperate for run production this season. Mauricio Dubón filled in admirably as a leadoff hitter, but with virtually no pop in his game, he's better suited to hit eighth and turn the lineup over for the run producers as he did yesterday.

With Altuve back on top and Peña behind him, runs may be coming and coming fast for the Astros.

While the Astros went down yesterday, the bigger story is Jose Altuve announcing with authority, "I'm back."