Altuve remains an iron man, and a productive one

Nearly given day off after 169 games straight, Astros star has 4 hits, finishes HR shy of cycle

Altuve remains an iron man, and a productive one

ANAHEIM -- Astros manager A.J. Hinch was originally going to give second baseman Jose Altuve a day off on Wednesday. After all, Altuve had played in 169 consecutive games entering the day and the manager thought he was getting a bit tired.

Altuve, of course, told Hinch he didn't think it was a good idea, and after he went 4-for-5 with four runs scored, two singles, a double and a triple in a 10-4 win over the Angels at Angel Stadium, the second baseman was right. As a fan loudly chanted "M-V-P!" when Altuve came to the plate in the ninth, the Astros' capped his day with his fourth hit of the game and his Major League-leading 111th hit of the season.

"He tried to give me a day off today," Altuve said. "He told me yesterday. I didn't think it was a good idea. Thank God he didn't give me the day off."

Altuve's RBI triple

Altuve has reached base in 32 consecutive games, which is the longest such streak by an Astros player since Lance Berkman had 37 in a row in 2004. Altuve has an 11-game hitting streak during which he's batting .444 (20-for-45) with three homers, eight RBIs and a .490 on-base percentage. He's batting .420 in June.

Altuve joins Hall of Famers Craig Biggio (four times) and Joe Morgan (twice) as the only Astros second basemen with four hits and four runs scored in a game.

"Like I said earlier, the guys behind me are making my job a little easier," Altuve said. "It's really hard to go to the mound and face Carlos Correa, Colby Rasmus, Luis Valbuena in the situations that they're in right now. They're swinging the bat really good.

"I know it's kind of hard for the pitchers. They're going to give some good pitches to hit because they don't want to walk me with Correa coming up. Correa is going to make you pay, and I have to thank those guys."

Correa's RBI single

Altuve is hitting .357 with a .432 on-base percentage through 79 games and has walked 39 times and struck out only 32. The 39 walks is one shy of his career high set in 2012.

Hinch has been toying with giving Altuve a day off for a while now beyond Thursday's scheduled off-day. The Astros have 10 games in a row at home prior to the All-Star break, and Altuve will be headed to his fourth All-Star Game. He leads the voting at second base in the American League by a wide margin.

"He is a little tired, believe it or not," Hinch said. "He came in to talk about it early and we didn't connect, and luckily we didn't make the decision to take him out of the lineup. It's almost impossible not to play him. At some point this homestand, I'll have to give him a day off, maybe two, because he's going to have a busy All-Star break. But if he continues to go like this, players don't want to come out very often."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.