Altuve’s Birthday Gift To Himself Silences Yankees Stadium
Photo Credit/Houston Astros
One year on my birthday, my late wife and kids went out and got me some pretty amazing gifts that I really loved, but what they didn’t know was that I had also bought myself a nice pair of shoes that I just blended in with the others in my closet. So, while I did enjoy the gifts, the best one on that day was the one I bought myself.
I am pretty sure that Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve will enjoy all the gifts he received for his 31st birthday, but none will be as gratifying as the one he gave himself in the top of the eighth inning at Yankee Stadium on Thursday.
The former A.L. MVP hit a three-run homer off of reliever Chad Greene to put the Astros up 5-3 as they would eventually go on to win the game 7-4 to avoid the sweep in the final game of the series.
Although Altuve has been cleared of having never participating in the 2017 sign stealing scandal, he became the target of many Yankee fans due to his home run in the 2017 ALCS that sent New York home and the Astros to the World Series.
“You don’t like to get booed by anybody, but that’s part of the game,” said Altuve after the game. “I was just going out there and trying to do my best to help my team to win.”
Houston faced one of their former aces as Gerrit Cole to the mound for New York and had a decent outing allowing two runs on five hits in seven innings. His only mistakes came in allowing Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez to take him deep twice on solo home runs to keep the Astros withing striking distance.
“I take pride in the fact that I was able to do that,” Alvarez said after being told that he was one of only three players to ever have two home runs in a single game against Cole.
Photo Credit/Houston Astros
The Astros took a slim 5-4 lead into the ninth inning after giving up a run on an infield mistake that allowed Gleyber Torres to score from first base on a deep single hit by Aaron Hicks as Houston was in the shift.
Catcher Martiń Maldonado who was covering third base tried to hustle back to the plate, but it was too late as Torres had already gained momentum rounding third base. Maldonado would make amends in his very next at-bat by hitting a two-run home run to left field to give the Astros a three-run lead which was enough for closer Ryan Pressly to seal the victory.
As Houston heads home to take on the Toronto Blue Jays as Minute Maid Park, they will take a little pride in knowing that the once again it was an Altuve hit that sent the fans home in silence just like in 2017.
"We got some big hits today, period,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “But none bigger than his (Altuve). That was huge. And it quieted the fans for a little while. I can't tell you how happy everybody in the dugout was for Jose because he's one of the best guys you'll ever meet in this game."