MINNEAPOLIS -- Perhaps Astros second baseman Jose Altuve should start staying in a hotel room while the team is in Houston.The reigning American League batting champion is hitting just .237 at Minute Maid Park this season, but he continues to swing a red-hot bat on the road, going 4-for-5 with
MINNEAPOLIS -- Perhaps Astros second baseman Jose Altuve should start staying in a hotel room while the team is in Houston.
The reigning American League batting champion is hitting just .237 at Minute Maid Park this season, but he continues to swing a red-hot bat on the road, going 4-for-5 with two RBIs in Tuesday's 7-2 win over the Twins to raise his road batting average to .439 this year with a .521 on-base percentage.
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"I realize that I'm playing better on the road," said Altuve, who's hitting .320 overall this season. "I don't know why, but I think it's just coincidence. It's not a reason why I'm doing that. I'm just trying to be the same player on the road [and] at home and help my team."
Altuve grounded into a double play in the first inning against Twins starter Jose Berrios, before getting four singles in his next four at-bats. That included a two-run, bases-loaded hit in the fifth that scored Alex Bregman and George Springer and put Houston ahead, 4-2.
"Every ball I hit, I'm expecting to get through," Altuve said.
Altuve has hit safely in all 13 games he's played at Target Field, batting .491 with three-plus hits in five of his last six games in the Twin Cities. In his last seven games away from home, he's batting .500 in 30 at-bats.
"He hits well everywhere," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I know it's pretty extreme this year and maybe a little bit more extreme this year than most. I don't know. I think subconsciously he uses the middle of the field a little bit more. You see a few more base hits to right-center. I'll tell you, at home, I'll take him in an at-bat any time. I don't really need to be talked into that one."
Hitting better on the road is nothing new for Altuve. Last year, he hit a Major League-best .376 on the road with a .439 on-base percentage and .299 at home with a .352 on-base percentage. His .376 average on the road last year was the highest of any hitter away from home since Ichiro Suzuki hit .405 on the road in 2004.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.