HOUSTON (AP) — To Houston manager Bo Porter, there’s no one playing better in the majors right now than Jose Altuve.
The Astros second baseman shied away from agreeing with his skipper. Instead, he kept up his impressive show.
Altuve got three more hits and stole two bases Sunday as the Astros defeated the Detroit Tigers 6-4.
Altuve finished the three-game series 9 for 14 and leads big leagues with 116 hits. He’s already stolen a career-high 36 bases — he swiped second in the first inning, and set a franchise record with a steal in six straight games.
“I’ve seen some players locked in in all my years of playing,” Porter said. “But the impact with which Jose Altuve is having on the baseball game, I would have to really sit down and think about or have some numbers put in front of me that would make me think that there is someone who’s had more of an impact on a baseball game the way he’s having an impact right now.”
Altuve took the compliment in stride, saying, “He’s my manager, he has to say that.”
“I have to be ready every game to get on base,” he said. “I know the guys that I have behind me, if I get on base, something good is going to happen.”
Altuve became the third player since 1904 with four straight games with multiple steals, joining Ray Chapman in 1917 and Bill Dahlen in 1904, according information from the Elias Sports Bureau provided by the Astros.
“I’m going to try to keep getting on base, and if I have a chance to take the next base, I am going to do it,” Altuve said.
Scott Feldman (4-5) allowed two runs in six innings to earn his first win since May 26. Feldman, who snapped a personal three-game losing streak, has allowed three runs or less in each of his last three starts.
“They have a great lineup,” Feldman said. “I just tried to make some pitches. Luckily, a lot of the balls they hit hard were hit to center field, where there is a lot of room out there.”
Matt Dominguez and Carlos Corporan had three hits apiece and L.J. Hoes and Jon Singleton each had two RBIs for the Astros, who have won three of their last four.
Tony Sipp got the last four outs for his first save.
Nick Castellanos had two hits for the Tigers, including a two-run triple in the eighth that cut the Astros’ lead to 5-4.
J.D. Martinez also had two hits, and Alex Avila hit a solo home run in the fifth.
Tigers star Miguel Cabrera was 0 for 13 in the series, while Victor Martinez went 1 for 12.
“Those are the guys we lean on,” Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said. “They are going to have struggles. It’s going to happen. They scuffled a little bit swinging the bat.”
The Astros scored three times in the first against Drew Smyly (4-7). Altuve singled, stole second and scored on George Springer’s double. Two batters later, Jesus Guzman hit an RBI single and scored on Hoes’ sacrifice fly.
“I felt like that was very important,” Porter said. “Losing the game the way we lost the game last night (4-3 in the ninth) I thought that our guys did a great job coming out setting the tempo. Ran the bases tremendously and just put a lot of pressure on the other team.”
After Torii Hunter’s RBI double cut the lead to 3-1 in the third, Hoes hit an RBI double in the bottom half.
Singleton’s bases-loaded walk in the sixth scored Alex Presley to extend Houston’s lead to 5-2, and he upped the lead to 6-4 in the eighth with an RBI single.
Smyly, who was ill Saturday and sent back to the team hotel, was pulled after 2 1-3 innings, allowing four runs on eight hits with three strikeouts. The outing was Smyly’s shortest as a starter this year and the most runs he’s allowed since getting tagged for six on May 26 at Oakland.
Smyly would not use being ill Saturday as an excuse for the poor outing.
“Not a good day,” Smyly said. “They came out swinging. I didn’t bring it. They did.”
NOTES: Houston CF Dexter Fowler missed a third straight game with tightness in the back. ... Detroit 2B Ian Kinsler did not start Sunday getting a day off from Ausmus, but he pinch hit in the eighth and struck out to end his seven-game hitting streak. ... Detroit LHP Ian Krol, on the 15-day disabled list since June 21 with left shoulder inflammation, threw a bullpen session Saturday and felt good, Ausmus said. ... Houston Rockets star guard James Harden threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game.