NEW YORK – Jose Altuve doubled Saturday for his first hit in 26 postseason at-bats this year, ending the longest slump of his stellar career.
The star second baseman for the Houston Astros reached across the plate and slapped an 0-1 slider from New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole inside the right-field line during Game 3 of the AL Championship Series.
The ball rolled toward the corner, and Altuve cruised into second base with one out in the fifth inning for his first hit since going 3 for 3 against Philadelphia in his final game of the regular season on Oct. 4.
The three-time batting champion and 2017 AL MVP began the playoffs 0 for 25 against Seattle and New York — the longest hitless streak at the start of a postseason in major league history. He broke the mark set when Dal Maxvill of the St. Louis Cardinals went 0 for 22 versus Detroit in the 1968 World Series, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Previously, the worst drought of Altuve’s career was 0 for 19 from Aug. 31 to Sept. 5, 2018.
The 5-foot-6 Altuve batted .300 with 28 homers and 57 RBIs during the regular season. The eight-time All-Star has won five Silver Slugger awards and was the MVP of the 2019 ALCS against the Yankees, when he launched a series-clinching homer off Aroldis Chapman.
Altuve has 23 career postseason home runs, which ranks second in big league history behind Manny Ramirez (29).
After his double, Altuve was stranded at third base. Despite the uncharacteristic struggles of their popular leadoff man, the Astros won their first five games this postseason.
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