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Bregman blazing on extra-base hit streak

Nine straight games with XBH one away from Astros' record
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- After each hit he collects, Astros infielder Alex Bregman flashes a sign to the dugout with his hands to indicate the number three. It doesn't indicate the RBIs or bases collected on his three-run triple on Tuesday, but instead a milestone he hopes to achieve before his first complete Major League season is over -- hit .300.

"It's just the kind of hitter I believe I am," Bregman said. "It's just a reminder to remind myself every time, every day, that it's the kind of hitter I am and to be confident about it."

Full Game Coverage

CHICAGO -- After each hit he collects, Astros infielder Alex Bregman flashes a sign to the dugout with his hands to indicate the number three. It doesn't indicate the RBIs or bases collected on his three-run triple on Tuesday, but instead a milestone he hopes to achieve before his first complete Major League season is over -- hit .300.

"It's just the kind of hitter I believe I am," Bregman said. "It's just a reminder to remind myself every time, every day, that it's the kind of hitter I am and to be confident about it."

Full Game Coverage

Bregman drove in Houston's first three runs with one swing in an 8-5 loss to the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field, going 1-for-3 to bring his season average to .273.

It marked the ninth consecutive game with an extra-base hit for the 23-year-old, matching Washington's Ryan Zimmerman for the longest such streak in the Majors this season.

"Just trying to see the ball and hit it, get a good pitch to hit," Bregman said. "Trying to hit the ball the other way hard, and go from there."

It also leveled him with Jeff Bagwell's May stretch in 1997 for the second-longest streak in Astros franchise history. With an extra-base hit on Wednesday, he would tie Richard Hidalgo in 2000 for the franchise record. Over this stretch, Bregman has gone 12-for-33 (.364) with four doubles, two triples and a homer.

Bregman, the No. 2 overall Draft pick in 2015, was productive when he broke through with the Astros last season, hitting. 264 with a .791 OPS, eight homers and 34 RBIs. Astros manager A.J. Hinch, however, has seen a shift this year.

"What he's done is change his body mechanics," Hinch said. "He's a little flatter, and not so much into the launch angle and lift and putting the ball in the air. He's actually adjusting the launch angle to hit the ball harder more, and the byproduct has been putting the ball in the air.

"What he's done is been able to control his body, which was sloppy in his back side, so that his bat actually enters the zone [flat]. Then, his pitch selection has gone up a bit, too."

Hinch said the development should only continue for Bregman as he continues to tinker his game with each set of added at-bats.

"He really thinks he should be a .300 hitter, and he won't stop until he gets there," Hinch said. "You should catch him [showing his hands]. He wants to hit .300. He puts the three up."

Bregman's development offensively has come when Houston has needed it the most. The Astros, when healthy, pose as versatile and dangerous of a lineup in baseball, with what Hinch considers to be 11 or 12 "everyday" players. But with nine players on the disabled list -- including All-Stars Carlos Correa and George Springer -- Bregman's emergence has been critical.

Bregman -- who can play second base, third base, shortstop and the outfield -- was in Correa's spot at shortstop Tuesday.

"He's a good offensive player. He's been very good inside the strike zone," Hinch said. "He's been really good for us, and picked up some of the loss of Springer and Correa and some of our guys who have been down. He's comfortable in the batter's box, seeing the ball pretty well. He's a good player."

Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago and covered the Astros on Tuesday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Houston Astros, Alex Bregman