ST. LOUIS – Eight years and eight days after José Altuve singled off Tyler Clippard to notch his first big league hit, the Astros' second baseman connected for his 1,500th career hit, doing so quicker than any other player in franchise history.
Altuve reached the milestone with a fifth-inning homer that keyed the Astros’ 6-2 win over the Cardinals on Sunday. His 1,500th hit came in his 1,190th career game. The only players in the divisional era (since 1969) to reach the mark in fewer games were Ichiro Suzuki, Wade Boggs, Kirby Puckett, Nomar Garciaparra, Tony Gwynn and Derek Jeter.
“The game was on the line when I hit the ball, so before thinking about 1,500 hits, [I was] just thinking about winning the game,” Altuve said. “When I hit it, I was happy that I was able to help my team and score those three runs. Then, you think about all you’ve been doing to get to this moment. I’m thankful to God and my family and all of my teammates. I’m really happy to be part of this wonderful team.”
Altuve's home run capped an inning that opened with Astros starter Wade Miley drawing a five-pitch walk. George Springer advanced him with a double before both trotted home as Altuve’s home run landed in the left-field seats. According to Statcast, the ball traveled a projected 388 feet with an exit velocity of 103.9 mph.
It was Altuve’s 16th homer of the season and a part of his eighth three-hit game this year. It also came against the same team that served up Altuve’s 1,000th career hit in 2016.
Altuve was feted by his teammates in the clubhouse after the win.
“Fifteen hundred hits and in dramatic fashion,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said. “Big accomplishments like that are really cool to celebrate, especially in a win.”
Altuve sits sixth on the Astros' all-time hits list behind Craig Biggio (3,060), Jeff Bagwell (2,314), Jose Cruz (1,937), Cesar Cedeno (1,659) and Lance Berkman (1,648). Less than a week ago, Altuve became only the 12th player in franchise history to reach the 500-RBI mark.
“It’s a special day for him,” Springer said. “It’s very, very hard to hit in this league, and he’s only been playing for a short amount of time and he has 1,500 hits already. That’s remarkable.”