SAN DIEGO -- Astros second baseman Jose Altuve is making an early run at another batting title.
Altuve went 2-for-4 with a double, a run scored and two RBIs in Wednesday's 7-2 win over the Padres at Petco Park for his seventh consecutive multihit game. During that stretch, Altuve is hitting .471 (16-for-34) with eight RBIs and a 1.163 OPS.
Last year, Altuve became the first Astros player to win a batting title by posting a .341 average with a club-record 225 hits.
"There's more than just a hitter," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "He senses opportunity. When you need a sac fly, he gets a sac fly. When you need a spark, a leadoff runner, he gets on base. And he does it in different ways. You can't pitch him the same way twice. I think I get a better appreciation at how dangerous he can be line to line.
"He gets his fair share of hits in different ways. When we roll the lineup around, I think our whole dugout senses something is going to happen positively. He continues to pile on the hits. The big moments don't scare him. The big moments, meaning a guy on third base and nobody out. A good pitcher that gets him out, he comes back for more. He's a real threat."
Behind Altuve, red-hot center fielder Jake Marisnick and surging performances from designated hitter Evan Gattis, first baseman Chris Carter and right fielder George Springer, the Astros hit .284 on their nine-game road trip with 14 homers and 61 RBIs. They scored 66 runs in those nine games.
"Right now we're playing, I guess you could say, like a contending team," said outfielder Colby Rasmus, who homered Wednesday. "We're doing all the little things, and when we got them held down, we're finishing them off, which is a good thing. So right now we've got to kind of ride this wave and keep it going and continue to work and come to the yard with the same mind-set every day: we want to win."