He’s already considered the best hitter in Major League Baseball… But now you can also call Jose Altuve a “closer”…
With the Houston Astros needing to win both Games 6 and 7 to move on to the World Series for only the second time in franchise history, the 27-year-old Venezuela professional baseball player made sure they sealed the deal.
Altuve, a five-time MLB All-Star, notched three hits, including two home runs, in the final two games, with his solo shot in the fifth inning of Game 7 on Saturday night spurring a 4-0 victory over the New York Yankees and a celebration at Minute Maid Park.
“He’s the best hitter I’ve ever seen,” Astros shortstop Carlos Correa said after Game 6, and he might as well play that comment on a loop after almost every game.
The Astros are now back in the World Series for the first time in 12 years and head to L.A. to face the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 1 Tuesday night.
As usual, the Astros were led by Altuve, the 5-foot-5 engine of the most prolific offense in baseball since the 2009 Yankees.
In Game 7, Altuve’s big hit came in the fifth inning. He ripped a line drive that sent Yankees right fielder and Rookie of the Year candidate Aaron Judge back to the wall. Judge, who robbed Yuli Gurriel of a home run in the second inning, wasn’t going to bring this one back, but Altuve couldn’t be sure. Judge is 6-foot-7, after all.
Altuve sprinted down the first-base line, bat in hand. When the ball cleared the fence, he flipped his bat toward the first-base coach’s box, where it was finally retrieved by a bat boy.
Like the rest of the Astros’ offense, Altuve went ice cold in the middle three games of the series. He went 0-for-New York, as the Astros lost three games in a row for the first time in more than a month. After his first two at-bats of Game 6, Altuve’s hitless streak had grown to 0-for-12.
But in his final six plate appearances of the series, beginning in the fifth inning of Game 6, he went two-run single, homer, groundout, walk, homer, strikeout.
“[He’s] the best hitter on the planet, and I think he had three days in New York without hitting — whatever,” Correa said. “I knew he was going to come back.”