HOUSTON -- Jose Altuve had exited from the Astros' clubhouse following Monday's 8-3 win over the Mariners before he had a chance to talk to the media, which gave his teammates a chance to tell reporters how incredible he's been playing lately.
Altuve, the reigning Major League batting champion, capped off his terrific August by going 3-for-5 to extend his career-long on-base streak to 28 games, meaning he reached base in every game in the month. He finished August with 45 hits, which ties the club record for hits in the month (Jesus Alou, 1970).
"Big month for him," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "And we feed off of that, obviously. He's on base all the time, obviously getting hits. He's been productive with his hits. He's very much a feared hitter when the lineup rolls around. Obviously, this month he's batted leadoff, and when he bats second it's very productive.
"Every hitter gets a lot of confidence. I think Altuve has an extra gear where he can almost get hits wherever he wants. When the shortstop moves over in the hole, he hits the ball up the middle. When he moves up the middle, he can hook it in the hole, and then when he gets into hitters' counts, he's showing he can do some damage. Very, very talented hitter."
Altuve led the Majors in hits in August by hitting .375 with a .411 on-base percentage. He raised his batting average to .316 from .297 to begin the month.
"It's fun to watch him when he's this hot," rookie shortstop Carlos Correa said. "He went from .305 to .317 in a couple of days. It's really fun to watch him. He got four hits yesterday, three today. It's unreal, you know? It's really fun to watch him play and be able to share the offensive part of the game with him."
Veteran infielder Jed Lowrie, who played with Altuve in 2012 in the second baseman's first full season in the Major Leagues, said Altuve is probably the best hitter he's ever played with.
"In 2012, I saw what he was capable of, and it was easy to point to last year and say it was a breakout year, but the guy did the same thing in 2012 and really did the same thing in 2013, and I guess last year you could say it was a culmination of all that, but the guy just flat-out hits," Lowrie said. "It's amazing.
"Literally, every time it seems like they move a step in the hole, he hits it back up the middle. Every time they move a step to the middle, he hits it in the hole. And the one tonight -- he breaks his bat and hits a pitch that looks like it's at eye level and finds a hole right over the second baseman [for a single in the third]. He's got a knack for getting hits. It's amazing."