Altuve's record night not enough for Astros
Houston fans 17 times vs. Kluber, Tribe bullpen
HOUSTON -- Astros second baseman Jose Altuve would have undoubtedly traded a hitless night for a win.
Altuve set a franchise record for most hits in a season by coming up with his 211th hit of the year in the seventh inning, surpassing the previous record of 210 set by Craig Biggio in 1998, in the Astros' 4-2 loss to the Indians on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park.
Indians starter Corey Kluber was dominant, striking out a career-high 14 batters in seven innings. The only Astros batter he didn't strike out was Altuve, who went 2-for-5 for his sixth consecutive multi-hit game. Kluber is the first Indians pitcher to strike out 14 since Bartolo Colon in 1998.
"Like I told some of the coaches in there, it was probably one of the better games I've ever seen pitched," Astros interim manager Tom Lawless said of Kluber's start. "He was pretty good. He was real good. You tip your hat to him. He's a Major League pitcher, he's one of the best. We battled with him a long time. We were in the game and had an opportunity in the [third] inning to put a couple of runs across, but he made pitches there that he needed to make."
After going 0-for-2 in his first two at-bats, Altuve tied Biggio by hitting a double to left field in the fifth inning off Kluber for hit No. 210. With the crowd on its feet in the seventh, he rolled a single up the middle for his 211th hit.
"I want to thank all the fans at the field supporting me and supporting the team," Altuve said. "We're having a good season. We're playing good and if I can keep getting hits and getting on base and helping my team to win, I'm going to feel really happy."
Kluber pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth, striking out Alex Presley and Gregorio Petit to end the inning. The Astros tied a season high by striking out 17 times, with even Altuve striking out in his final at-bat against reliever Cody Allen.
"He [Kluber] definitely wasn't going to give in to us," Presley said. "The pitches I swung at that I struck out on were balls in that at-bat. He worked off the fastball in and the cutter, slider thing or whatever that is he has, it's hard. He did a good job of that, keeping you guessing. He makes you feel uncomfortable with the fastball."
Astros rookie Nick Tropeano, making his second career start, worked five innings and held the Indians to two runs (one earned) and four hits in five innings.
"I think he worked way too many deep counts tonight," Lawless said. "He was in a lot of deep counts, 3-0, 3-1 counts. It's hard to do that. That's what he told me when I told him he was done after five, was 'Just way too many deep counts.' I said, 'Yes.' Up here it's hard to pitch like that."
Tropeano gave up a bloop single to Michael Bourn to start the game, and he scored on a groundout by Carlos Santana. The Indians took the lead in the fourth when Lonnie Chisenhall scored from first base on a single by Yan Gomes that was misplayed in left field by Robbie Grossman for an unearned run.
Gomes lined a 1-1 pitch into the Crawford Boxes in the sixth inning off Darin Downs for a two-run homer that put the Indians ahead, 4-1. That was more than enough breathing room for Kluber.
"I think he understands the game really well and pitching to the scoreboard," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "There were times tonight we needed strikeouts, not just outs."