ARLIINGTON -- The hits just keep on coming for Jose Altuve.• Dress for October: Get AL West champs gearThe All-Star second baseman recorded his fourth consecutive 200-hit season by getting a single in the first inning of Wednesday's 12-2 win over the Rangers at Globe Life Park. Altuve went 1-for-4
ARLIINGTON -- The hits just keep on coming for Jose Altuve.
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The All-Star second baseman recorded his fourth consecutive 200-hit season by getting a single in the first inning of Wednesday's 12-2 win over the Rangers at Globe Life Park. Altuve went 1-for-4 with two runs scored, and he leads the American League with a .347 batting average, putting him on the cusp of his third batting title in four years.
"At the end of the day, I'm playing and getting hits for my team," Altuve said. "It's very special, especially this year. To get 200 hits and we have already clinched, we're going to the playoffs, everybody is swinging the bat good. I really appreciate everything they have done for me."
Prior to Altuve, Hall of Fame second baseman Craig Biggio (1998) was the only Astros player to get 200 hits in a season. Altuve is the first player to get 200 hits in four consecutive seasons since Ichiro Suzuki had 10 in a row from 2001-10.
"We're starting to think it's routine, and it's not," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "It's really hard to do. There aren't many guys in the league that do it. There's certainly not a lot of guys in the league that do it back-to-back -- and then back-to-back-to-back, and then four years in a row now.
"We've said over and over again how special he is and how important he is on our team. It's fun to be a part of. He wants it badly, more so for others than himself. It's cool to be a part of it."
Astros outfielder George Springer has seen Altuve get 200 hits in each of Springer's four seasons in the big leagues.
"He's a joke," Springer said. "He's a create-a-player. He deserves it. I'm extremely happy for him. To be a part of somebody getting four straight 200 hits is impressive. Anybody that watches this game or has played it knows how hard it is to get one, and the guy's got 200 again. Hats off to him. He deserves it. He works hard all year."
Altuve is the fifth player since integration (1947) with at least four consecutive 200-hit seasons, joining Suzuki, Michael Young (2003-07), Wade Boggs (1983-89) and Kirby Puckett (1986-89). Young was the last right-handed hitter to get 200 hits in four consecutive seasons prior to Altuve.
"I'm living a dream right now, and I'm happy about the 2017 season because of the opportunity we have in front of us," Altuve said.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.