All-Star leader Altuve caps Astros' 3 straight HRs
Springer, Bregman start Houston's first back-to-back-to-back HRs since 2008
HOUSTON -- When All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve stepped to the plate in the sixth inning of Wednesday night's 5-1 win over the Rays, the sellout crowd at Minute Maid Park was still buzzing over back-to-back homers by George Springer and Alex Bregman to start the inning.
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Altuve really gave them something to cheer about.
Springer, Bregman and Altuve walloped back-to-back-to-back homers off Tampa Bay starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, sending the red-hot Astros to their 13th win in 14 games. The home run barrage came two innings after Altuve tied the game with a solo homer in the fourth.
"Eovaldi throws 98-99 [mph], and when you put the barrel on the ball, you know it's going to fly," said Altuve, who led the American League in All-Star votes in Tuesday's voting update. "George hit it pretty good, too, and then Alex. There was a lot going on in that inning. I got a little excited, and I tried to put the ball in play. He's got a good fastball."
It was the sixth time in franchise history that the Astros have hit three consecutive homers and the first since Miguel Tejada, Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee did it against Brewers pitcher Carlos Villanueva on May 2, 2008.
"It's cool, you know?" Springer said. "That shows what our lineup can do at any time. For us to hit one or two is great, and then for [Altuve] to hit the third one was even better."
Springer crushed an 0-2 pitch at 107.1 mph off the bat and sent it 437 feet over the left-center-field wall to give the Astros a 2-1 lead. Two pitches later, Bregman homered to left field at 97.2 mph off the bat and 352 feet. Before the crowd had caught its breath, Altuve hit a 2-1 pitch at 112.3 mph off the bat and sent it 443 feet over the tracks in left field.
"It was awesome to get the place rocking," Bregman said. "Springer, big swing, gets us going, and then we kind of just fed off George right there, Jose and I. Pretty cool when that happens. I've never been a part of something like that before. It was fun."