No place like road for hit-machine Altuve

No place like road for hit-machine Altuve

OAKLAND -- Astros second baseman Jose Altuve continues to make batting look as easy as child's play, going 4-for-5 and finishing a homer shy of the cycle in Tuesday's 4-3, 10-inning loss to the A's at the Coliseum.

The numbers are astonishing. Altuve, who leads the American League in batting average (.354) and the Majors in hits (131), had his second four-hit game in three days and is 10-for-14 during that span. He extended his road hitting streak to 18 games -- he's batting .514 in that span -- and has reached base in 34 consecutive road games.

In 44 games since May 29, he's hitting .400 with a .452 on-base percentage.

"He is our everything," manager A.J. Hinch said. "It's incredible to watch the kind of run he's been on for four months now. This isn't a hitting streak, this isn't a good series, this is a terrific player."

Altuve, who was a triple shy of the cycle on June 25 at Kansas City and tripped rounding second base in his final at-bat, singled in the first inning Tuesday, doubled in the third and tripled in the fifth. He struck out in the eighth, and then singled with two outs in the 10th for his 18th career four-hit game (sixth this year).

When asked if this was as well as he has seen the ball all year, Altuve said: "Probably."

Unlike June 25, when he came to the plate looking for a triple to complete the cycle, Altuve wasn't thinking homer when he came to bat in the eighth.

"In that situation, you just want to get on base," he said. "It's different when it's a tie game. Last inning, you want to get on base. I was trying to look for one good pitch to get a single or a double, walk or whatever, and let [Carlos Correa] hit behind me, and like I said, you just want to put a couple of hits together to win the game."

Altuve is the first Astros player to reach base in at least 34 consecutive road games since Jeff Bagwell had a 51-game streak from Sept. 23, 1998-July 31, 1999. Altuve is batting .415 on the road this season, including a mind-boggling .500 in his last 23 road games.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com 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.