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Astros quick hits: The Legend of Jose Altuve, Batting Champ grows

Every decent legend needs an origin story. Jose Altuve's got a capper Sunday.

Jim McIsaac

For a story to become a legend, it needs a hook. In Hollywood, the traditional three-act structure needs a conflict in the second act that gets resolved in the third.

This weekend, Jose Altuve's life could have been a three-act play. Call it the Legend of The Astros Batting Champ.

With a slight lead over Detroit's Victor Martinez, Altuve went into the weekend on a high note. He likely would have walked away with the title if he produced like he had all season.

But, Altuve went 1-for-8 on Friday and Saturday in New York, falling from .343 to .33999 and landing in striking distance of Martinez.

Enter the villains of our little play, the Astros Front Office. This sinister group wanted to force Altuve out of the lineup Sunday, so he could win the batting title by default. This flew in the face of everything Ted Williams taught us, despite the fact that Don Mattingly did it before and Justin Morneau did it this season in the NL.

Outrage ensued. Our moral compass, Astros County, expressed his displeasure on Twitter and may have single-handedly changed the hearts and minds of the Astros.

Or, more likely, Altuve did it himself.

From Evan Drellich's recap of the wild morning Sunday.

"Yeah, I wanted to play, it wasn't an option," said Altuve, who would be the first batting champion in Astros history if he holds on. "They just said no. You know, like I said before, I was ready to play every day.

"I tried (to make an argument) in the beginning but that conversation wasn't a conversation. Just they were letting me know that I'm not playing. They didn't ask me."

And interim manager Tom Lawless, in perhaps his last day on the job, said it was his intent to put the second baseman in the lineup.

"He wanted to play 'cause he always wants to play," Lawless said. "But you know, this is something really special for him, for the organization. So you know, collectively, we just sat there and talked and came up with a plan and everybody agreed to it that was the best thing for it and here we are.

"You know, once he sat down in there, and we all talked about it, he's OK with it, is the best way to put it."

Cue the sad trombone music, as Roy Hobbs lays in the hospital bed and his Knights lose two straight.

Yet, pressure mounted and Altuve ended up in the lineup. What's more, he went 2-for-4 with a double. The Tigers won Sunday, meaning they would not play Game 163. Altuve finished up with the batting title, leading the entire majors in batting average.

Altuve finished with 225 hits and Houston's first-ever batting title. Only 18 players since 1947 have collected 225 or more hits in a single season. Since 2000, only three have topped the mark and the last non-Ichiro player do to so was Darin Erstad.

That's the sort of thing that would scroll across a black screen after the freeze frame on Jose Altuve, soaking in fan admiration and cheers. It'd would be (and was) the perfect ending to a legendary season.