Altuve exits after 'feeling sick' as Astros' win streak ends
MILWAUKEE -- Astros second baseman Jose Altuve was pulled from Tuesday’s 6-0 loss to the Brewers in the sixth inning because he was feeling sick, and really no one in the Houston dugout could have been feeling too good watching an eight-game winning streak come to a halt at American Family Field.
After bashing five home runs and scoring 12 runs to pound the Brewers on Monday, the Astros were held to five hits and were shut out for only the second time this year. One of those hits was an infield single by Altuve, which moved him into sole possession of third place on the club’s all-time hits chart with 1,938.
Altuve, who missed the first 43 games of the season while recovering from a fractured right thumb, went 1-for-3 and was removed with two outs in the sixth inning after he called manager Dusty Baker and head athletic trainer Jeremiah Randall to the diamond. Altuve declined a postgame interview request through a team spokesman.
“He was feeling sick, and so that’s why he called us out there,” Baker said. “We just took him out because we thought it was the best thing to do for precautionary reasons. Like I said, he was feeling sick. You could see it. He’s being evaluated by the doctors and we’ll let you know more [Wednesday].”
Altuve, starting only his fourth game of the season, struck out in the first inning, beat out an infield single in the third and grounded out in the fifth. The Brewers were leading, 2-0, in the sixth inning when Brian Anderson hit a two-out single off Astros starter J.P. France. That was the end of the night for Altuve…and France.
“When I first saw Dusty come out, I thought he was going to pull me, and then he went to Altuve,” France said. “I didn’t know what was going on. They pulled him, and I was like ‘Aw man, that’s unfortunate.’ At the same time, I thought he was going to let me get the last batter [of the sixth], but then he came up to me and said, ‘All right, I’m going to pull you now.’ I didn’t really talk to [Altuve], didn’t ask him what was going on too much, but whatever it is, he’ll bounce back.”
France, rocked for six runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings in his previous start on Wednesday against the Cubs, rebounded nicely. The rookie went 5 2/3 innings and allowed one earned run and struck out a career-high eight batters while throwing a career-high 97 pitches. He gave up a solo homer to Joey Wiemer in the third inning.
“Huge bounce-back outing,” France said. “Unfortunately we couldn't pull it out, but to get back on the bump and to give one earned run after last outing, that was big-time.”
A throwing error by Astros catcher Yainer Diaz allowed Owen Miller to score from second base in the fourth for a 2-0 Brewers lead, and the Brewers tagged struggling reliever Rafael Montero for four runs in the eighth inning to blow the game open.
“You end up scoring a lot of runs one night, and you wish you could cut them up and spread them over two or three games, but that’s what happens,” Baker said. “The ball is in the court of the pitcher. He was very good tonight. The nod goes to the pitcher tonight.”
Brewers starter Colin Rea held the Astros to four singles and two walks in 5 1/3 scoreless innings to win a Major League game for the first time since July 1, 2016.
“[France] threw the ball well, but their guy threw the ball better,” Baker said. “That’s the first time we’ve seen him. Rea was better. He was getting strike one with his breaking ball, or strike one with his low-and-away fastball and would finish us off with low-and-away fastballs. He threw the ball good; he threw the ball excellent.”