Astros sweep the two-game series in Mexico

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 4 hits from the 10-4 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After an offensive explosion powered them past the Angels in the first game on Saturday, the Astros looked to make it a two-game sweep in Monterrey, Mexico on Sunday afternoon. Here are some quick facts and three takeaways from the game:

Final Score: Astros 10, Angels 4

Record: 20-14, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Justin Verlander (5-1, 2.86 ERA)

Losing pitcher: Matt Harvey (1-3, 6.94 ERA)

1) Verlander allows more homers, still gets the win 

Justin Verlander was not immune to the elevation and climate in Monterrey, giving up a solo home run in the bottom of the first to continue his 2019 trend of a home run in every start. He'd allow another in the bottom of the second, a two-run home run which put the Angels ahead 3-2, then a solo homer in the bottom of the seventh to end his day. He'd leave with a 6-4 lead and was still able to strike out seven during his six and one-third innings of work.

2) Correa extends his hitting streak in another high-offense game

Carlos Correa wasted no time moving his hitting streak to 15 games, putting the Astros up 2-1 in the top of the second inning with a two-run opposite-field home run. That would start the scoring for Houston as they'd go on to score double-digits for the second straight day, with Jose Altuve and Robinson Chirinos both getting RBI-doubles later in the game along with two more RBIs for Michael Brantley on a two-run homer in the top of the ninth to give the Astros some insurance runs.

3) Bregman hits his third homer in Mexico

Fresh off of his two-homer night on Friday, Alex Bregman had another opportunity for a big moment when he came to the plate with the bases loaded in the top of the fifth. As he's done so many times in his early career, he came through, blasting a ball to straight-away center for the grand slam to push the Astros ahead 6-3, a big enough lead to keep them ahead for good.

4) Pressly extends scoreless streak and Osuna closes it out

Ryan Pressly would finish off the seventh for Verlander before extending his scoreless streak to 33 innings, a new franchise record, with a scoreless eighth to set up Roberto Osuna for the ninth. Osuna would take the mound in front of his native crowd and closed out the win with a scoreless inning.

Up Next: The Astros will fly back to Houston tonight and kick off a full week of games at Minute Maid Park tomorrow night against the Royals. First pitch of game one of the three-game set will be at 7:10 PM tomorrow night and will feature Gerrit Cole (2-4, 3.95 ERA) on the mound for Houston going against Jakob Junis (3-2, 5.12 ERA) for Kansas City.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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Is Jose Altuve already the greatest Astro of all-time? Composite Getty Image.

Over the past three weeks, Astros second baseman Jose Altuve knocked his 2,000th hit, clubbed his 200th home run, hit for his first cycle and supercharged the Astros to dust themselves off and make another run to the World Series.

You’ve heard it in soft tones for a couple of years but now it’s a citywide chant: Jose Altuve is the greatest Houston Astro of all-time.

I’ve been saying it, too. I love to watch Altuve play the game. He’s everything that’s good about baseball. Despite being the shortest player on the team (heck, in all the major leagues), nothing is more fun for an Astros fan than watching Altuve blast the first pitch of the game over the railroad tracks at Minute Maid Park. Yeah, he’s a pint-sized power hitter in the leadoff spot. He’s leading the team in batting average, now at .322 after his cycle Monday night.

These days every Little League dad tells his kid … play like Jose Altuve. Kids get it.

You know the recent past. Altuve has led the Astros to two World Series titles, six Championship Series appearances, five Divisional titles, four World Series appearances. Altuve is the heart and soul of the Houston Astros.

But does all that team success make Altuve the greatest Astro of all-time? Baseball is a team sport. GOAT is an individual title.

Although it hasn’t been that many years, time does have a habit of slipping away. Have we forgotten the greatness, the GOATness of Craig Biggio?

A few years ago, I visited the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. They have plaques listing the Top 10 players in all sorts of categories. I was surprised how many times I saw Biggio’s name.

He ranks sixth in National League history in games played, fifth in at bats, seventh in runs scored. Biggio’s 668 doubles is sixth in all of baseball history, second most by a right-handed batter.

Biggio, who played from 1988 to 2007, holds the Astros career marks in, deep breath, hits (3,060), singles (2,046), doubles (668), extra base hits (1,014), total bases (4,711), sacrifices (101), times on base (4,505), hit by pitch (285), runs created (1,832), games played (2,850), at bats (10,876), plate appearances (12,504), and dirty uniforms (a billion).

For most of their careers, both Biggio and Altuve played the same position – second base. And they played it well. Biggio collected four Gold Gloves Awards at second base. Altuve has one Gold Glove.

Biggio also played a few years in the outfield and behind home plate. Does that matter? Depends who you ask. I once sat down with Pete Rose and asked if he saw a lot of himself in Altuve, you know, the scrappy second baseman playing above his physical stature.

Rose seemed to take a bit of offense to the question. He said, “Yes, but I also made the All-Star Game as a left fielder, right fielder, third base and first base.”

So versatility does count, at least to Pete Rose, the Hit King.

Speaking of hits, when Altuve got his 2,000th hit, we heard good wishes for another 1,000. Will Altuve get there? It’s a good question. As of today, Altuve is 1,047 hits behind Biggio. Altuve is 33 years old.

Altuve entered the big leagues like a house on fire. Starting in 2012, his first full season, Altuve averaged 198 hits over the next six seasons. He also rarely missed a game, averaging 154 games those years. His batting average over that span: .318.

Altuve hasn’t been as durable the past four full MLB seasons. He’s averaged 137 games a year since 2018. His batting average in recent years: .298.

Altuve had 200+ hits four seasons in a row, 2014-17. He hasn’t since then, and he won’t this year, when he’s missed 69 of the Astros 131 games due to injuries (broken hand and oblique strain).

At his rate over the past several years, it will take Altuve more than six prolific seasons to catch Biggio’s hit total. If his health stays good, he will be 40 years old when he approaches Biggio’s mark.

In Altuve’s favor for Astros’ GOAT status, he has it all over Biggio in post-season stats. Altuve has 23 home runs (second all-time) and a .271 batting average in 92 career games and (fingers crossed) counting. Biggio had a .234 batting average and two homers in 40 games.

So as we stand here today, who is the Greatest Astro of All-Time? It’s really impossible to say. Let’s say that Biggio is the leader in the clubhouse while Altuve is still on the course.

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