History for 100: Yordan's homer sets Astros record

April 4th, 2023

HOUSTON -- Although the 2023 season is less than a week old,  has already set a record, and in doing so, he gave his team a chance to stage one of its characteristic come-from-behind wins.

The Astros did come from behind Monday night at Minute Maid Park, and although they lost to the Tigers, 7-6 in 11 innings, it’s highly likely they would not have been able to push the game to extras without Alvarez, one of the few Houston hitters who is off to a blazing start to the season.

With the Astros down by three in the fifth, Alvarez launched his 100th career home run, making him the fastest in club history to reach that mark. It arrived in his 372nd career game, beating the prior record of 452 games held by former outfielder/first baseman Lance Berkman. Alvarez is the 19th player in franchise history to reach the 100-homer mark.

“When I hit it, in the moment, I really wasn't thinking about that. I knew I was like one or two away [from 100], but I wasn't really thinking about it,” Alvarez said, through the team’s interpreter. “My thought was, at the moment, ‘OK, cool, I tied the game there.' And then I didn't notice it until I looked up at the [scoreboard]. And it said home run 100. It’s cool.”

In true Alvarez fashion, the homer, hit off Tigers reliever José Cisnero, was a doozy. Per Statcast, it traveled 435 feet, left Alvarez’s bat at 110.6 mph and, most importantly, erased a three-run deficit, tying the game at 4.

Much of the Astros’ offense has yet to find its footing a handful of games into the 2023 campaign, though there were encouraging signs up and down the lineup in the opener with the Tigers. , hitless entering this game, logged consecutive singles in his final three at-bats. José Abreu, who recorded hits in all four games of the opening series with the White Sox, doubled home Bregman in the ninth, sending the game to extras.

But no one has been steadier than Alvarez, who has essentially picked up where he left off last October when he was sending blast after blast into the stands at Minute Maid Park, carrying the Astros to the championship. That he’s performing this well, despite a hand issue that kept him out of much of Spring Training, could be taken as an encouraging sign that he’s in for another explosive year.

“This is probably one of the most awesome things that I've seen,” manager Dusty Baker said. “And boy, he has lightning in his bat. Every time he swings, you know he could do something. And there aren’t many players around of that magnitude. He's certainly one of the best.”

When informed of just how quickly Alvarez reached 100 homers, Bregman said, “I believe it.”

“Shoot, in his second at-bat he went oppo homer to the gas pump,” Bregman said. “He's been impressive ever since he got called up to the big leagues. Even before that. I think he might have hit 20 in Triple-A before he even got called up. So he's been unbelievable. He hits the ball all over the field with power and is a special part of our lineup.”

Alvarez said he does not pay a lot of attention to milestones before they happen, but he did acknowledge that the one he reached Monday was special.

“It means a lot, obviously, being the quickest player to do that,” he said. “But I’m just trying to go out there and give it my all and just continue to work.”

Alvarez has already had one game off -- he didn’t play in the series finale with the White Sox -- and it’s likely he’ll continue to receive rest every few days as he navigates through the hand issue that sidelined him for parts of the spring -- as frustrating as that might be at times for Alvarez, and Astros fans.

“He means everything to the team,” Baker said. “You’ve got a big guy in the middle that's not only a slugger, but he's a hitter. We hate not to have him in the lineup, but we’ve got to give him some time off because the weight gets heavy. I'm sure it does. So we’ve just got to keep him healthy. Keep him in the lineup and good things happen for us.”