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Sparkplug Altuve keeps foot on gas, eyes more

Star sets Astros mark, extends torrid postseason, but says, 'I haven't got a hit tomorrow'
October 13, 2017

HOUSTON -- It came as a surprise to no one that All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve's fingerprints were all over the Astros' 2-1 win over the Yankees in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series presented by Camping World on Friday night.Altuve accounted for half of Houston's hits by

HOUSTON -- It came as a surprise to no one that All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve's fingerprints were all over the Astros' 2-1 win over the Yankees in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series presented by Camping World on Friday night.
Altuve accounted for half of Houston's hits by going 3-for-4 with a stolen base, a run scored and a tremendous defensive play. He became the first Astros batter with three hits in an LCS game since Brad Ausmus in Game 6 of the 2005 National League Championship Series against the Cardinals. Altuve also set a club record with four three-hit games in the postseason.
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"He's showing people why he's an MVP," said Yanks slugger Aaron Judge, whom Altuve said pregame he would vote for if he had a vote for the AL Most Valuable Player Award. "Getting on base, stealing bases, making great plays on defense. He was doing it all tonight."
Altuve is hitting .579 (11-for-19) in five postseason games this year, including a three-homer game in Game 1 of the AL Division Series presented by Doosan on Oct. 5 against Boston. When asked about his playoff success, Altuve brushed off the question.
"I'm hitting zero for tomorrow," he said. "I haven't got a hit tomorrow. Every day is a new day, and if I help my team win today, that's good. But tomorrow is another day, and we're all going to start from zero."
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With chants of "M-V-P!" coming from all corners of the sellout crowd at Minute Maid Park, Altuve flied out in his first at-bat against Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka before getting started. The All-Star singled in his following three at-bats, but no hit was bigger than his infield single in the fourth.
After beating out the grounder up the middle, Altuve stole second base and scored on the next pitch when Carlos Correa laced a single to left field.
"I was on first base, and I was like, 'OK, I'm going,'" Altuve said. "I didn't think [I had] to do it, I just went, and I'm glad I was safe. And obviously we have one of the best hitters on our team behind me, and he drove me in, so I was happy."

Correa said he took a couple of pitches to give Altuve a chance to steal.
"I would rather hit with him at second base than at first base," Correa said. "Obviously, with a single, he's going to score. 2-1 count, he got to second, and I was like, 'He wasn't going to throw me a fastball in this count.' So I was looking for something soft up in the zone, and I was able to get it."
A half-inning earlier, Altuve made a terrific diving stop and threw out Didi Gregorius at first base, inducing a huge roar from the crowd.

"He hit it really hard, and I just [dove] and closed my eyes, and the ball went in my glove," Altuve said. "I'm happy I made that out."
For Altuve, who played through Houston's 106-, 107- and 111-loss seasons, getting a taste of his first LCS has him wanting more.

"We have to go out there tomorrow and try to win the game and keep the momentum going," he said. "I like the way we're playing, and we don't have to change anything -- just go out there and keep doing it."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.