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Astros lose series opener to Mariners 10-5

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Astros fail to play spoiler against the contending Mariners

The top two second basemen in the game today discuss Jose Altuve's greatness.
The top two second basemen in the game today discuss Jose Altuve's greatness.
Bob Levey

At least Jose Altuve had 3 more hits tonight, adding to his league-leading total of 216, amirite?

You are not watching Groundhog Day my friends, this is very similar to how I started off my last game recap (last Friday night/Saturday morning).  And once again, Mr. Altuve provides the main positive takeaways from the game.  Without further ado, some fun Altuve stats:

- His 216 total hits this season now ties him with Magglio Ordonez for the single season hit record for a Venezuelan born player.  Mags hit 216 in 2007.

- Obligatory MLB Batting Title Race Update:  after tonight, Altuve is sitting with a ridiculous .343 batting average, with Victor Martinez second at .335.

- This was Altuve's 24th 3-hit game of the season; yet another Astros single-season record.

- The only way to get Jose Altuve out is if the coach literally takes him out of the game completely; as he only needed his first three at bats to earn his three hits.  With the game out of hand, I am sure interim manager Tom Lawless figured he should give his star player a short breather before tomorrow night.

Aside from those quick stats, his actual three at bats and corresponding hits provide a brief glimpse of this man's genius:

- 1st at bat: Altuve jumps on the first pitch he sees, and laces a double past the third basemen.

- 2nd at bat: With Grossman on 1st, the Astros put on a hit and run on the first pitch.  The pitch is HIGH and AWAY, at just about eye level (seriously, no exaggeration on my part), and Jose Altuve somehow has the ability to shoot it right through the hole at 2nd, as Cano was covering 2nd on the steal attempt.

- 3rd at bat: Altuve gets behind in the count 0-2, and on a tough pitch, is able to hit a seeing-eye single between short and third.

Three very different at bats, but they all result in Jose Altuve hits.  The man is a hitting machine, and his bat control is otherworldly.

I will sum up why we lost by simply stating the first three plays of the top of the 4th inning:  leadoff hitter Logan Morrison reaches on an error by SS Jonathan Villar; followed by Michael Saunders reaching on an error by 1B Chris Carter.  Next up is Mike Zunino.  Since he has been struggling mightily recently, he is asked to put down a sacrifice bunt so there would be runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out.  Pitcher Brad Peacock loses control of the strike zone (an unfortunate recurring theme for the young pitcher), and Zunino ends up working the count to 2-1.  With the count now favorable, the Mariners take off the sacrifice bunt, and Zunino proceeds to hit a 3-run blast deep over the left-center wall.  Yup, that sums up the game quite nicely.  Or poorly, depending on how you look at it.