HOUSTON --- Sometimes you just have to tip your cap. Astros second baseman Jose Altuve did exactly that after striking out against Mariners reliever Tony Zych to strand the bases loaded in the sixth inning of Monday's 9-7 loss in 10 innings.
That at-bat summed up the frustration of the night for the Astros, who went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10. They went 0-for-2 in four bases-loaded chances, with two strikeouts, and George Springer's walk and sacrifice fly.
The Astros entered the day leading the Majors with a .372 batting average with the bases loaded.
"Obviously, we would love to get more if we can and create more opportunities for ourselves," manager A.J. Hinch said. "Hitting the ball to the outfield is the ideal situation."
After Carlos Beltran hit a two-run homer in the sixth to tie the score at 4, the Astros kept the pressure on when Mariners reliever James Pazos gave up singles to Brian McCann and Alex Bregman and hit Jake Marisnick to load the bases. Zych then walked Springer to force in the go-ahead run, but recovered to strike out Altuve swinging.
Altuve hadn't struck out in his previous seven games but went 1-for-6 on Monday with a pair of punchouts, including the critical K against Zych.
"I was mad, but at the same time, I was like, 'Wow, this guy is good,'" Altuve said. "He threw me a fastball that [sunk] this big [holding his hands six inches apart], came back on the outside corner. I was like, 'OK, good pitch.' And then he threw me two right at my head. I turned around and it ended up down the middle.
"I'm always going to go out there and fight for my at-bats. I don't like giving my at-bats away, but like I said, sometimes you have to tip your hat. Even though I was mad about the bases loaded, I was tipping my hat to that guy because he threw me three really good pitches and he ended the inning."