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Altuve breaks out with 3 hits as Astros even World Series | WGN 720 Radio

HOUSTON (AP) – For the first time in a sluggish postseason, Jose Altuve looked like himself in Game 2 of the World Series.

Altuve had three hits, including a double, to lead the Houston Astros to a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday night and even the Fall Classic.

The 2017 AL MVP has been surprisingly quiet this month, starting the playoffs with a career-worst 0-for-25 slump and entering Game 2 a paltry 4-for-37 this postseason.

By the seventh inning Saturday, he had nearly reached that mark.

“I feel good,” he said. “I feel very good. Timing, confidence, everything was there tonight. I hope I will continue.”

The three-time batting champion came back in top form in the first inning, hitting Zach Wheeler’s offering for a double into left field. He scored shortly after that when Jeremy Peña, who had also whiffed on the first pitch, doubled to send him home in a three-run inning.

Jordan Alvarez hit his third straight double after a double by Altuve and Peña, making the Astros the first team in MLB history to open a World Series with three extra-base hits.

He singled in the fifth and then showed off his extraordinary batting skills in the seventh with a fastball thrown high in the forehead for another single.

The 5-foot-6 spark plug had the last laugh after reaching first base.

Houston was happy to see that smile. Manager Dusty Baker was asked before Saturday’s game if he was frustrated with Altuve’s struggles at the plate.

“He can’t be happy, but he’s happy we’re winning,” Baker said. “He’s probably the mentally strongest dude in this building. He probably spent most of his life. So, I just know that at any given moment, he’s one stroke away from the hot streak.”

Despite Altuve’s struggles, the Astros were nearly unstoppable this October. They cruised through the division series and championship series, and Friday’s loss was their first since Oct. 3.

“I think the guys made it a lot easier because we were winning,” Altuve said.

It was a welcome sight for Astros fans who have been waiting for big playoff performances from the diminutive second baseman. Altuve is tied for first in franchise playoff history with 99 hits and 23 homers, second most in MLB history behind Manny Ramirez (29).

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Altuve on Saturday. The first was a runner with two outs in the eighth when JT Realmuta hit a groundout that plated Peña. Altuve ducked and turned away, thinking Peña was throwing first. Instead, Peña tried to throw the ball to Altuve, and he rolled to keep both runners safe. Peña was accused of wrongdoing.

It didn’t matter much as Bryce Harper hit a pop fly to end the inning.


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