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Astros again benefit from speed of Altuve

Second baseman hits infield single, steals second and scores

HOUSTON -- As Jose Altuve continues to return to form following the right hamstring injury that sidelined him for several games, it's evident just how much the Astros missed the speed in his absence.

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For a second straight night, Altuve legged out an infield single, stole second base and came around to score on an Evan Gattis hit, though the production wasn't enough in a 3-2 loss to the Yankees on Friday.

Altuve was moving on the full-count pitch to Luis Valbuena in the sixth inning on Friday, easily beating Brian McCann's throw and setting the table for Gattis, who blooped a single that landed between three hustling defenders and enabled Altuve to score with ease.

The run gave the Astros a 2-0 lead that would ultimately disappear in the next half-inning, but it also gave a glimpse into the game-changer the 2014 American League batting champ can be when he puts the ball in play.

"We're not perfect and we don't have to be, but we're going to be aggressive and try to be smart with how we take bases and make the other team defend us," manager A.J. Hinch said after Thursday's game. "I think he missed playing while he was out. That kind of boost is certainly going to be nice in the middle of our order."

Chandler Rome is an associate reporter for
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