Altuve hits .485 in historic July

Altuve hits .485 in historic July

HOUSTON -- Jose Altuve has likely earned it.

"It's hard to top that month," said Astros manager A.J. Hinch of Altuve's record-setting July. "I don't know how quickly they turn around the Player of the Month Award, but they can bring it down to Houston."

Altuve, who added two hits in Houston's 14-7 win on Monday vs. the Rays, finished July with a stunning .485 batting average on 48 total hits, one shy of tying Lance Berkman, Rusty Staub and Richard Hidalgo's shared Astros record for most hits in a single month at 49.

Altuve's highly-explosive July was unlike the Majors has seen in years. The 5-foot-6 second baseman's .485 batting average in July was the highest in MLB since Chipper Jones' .500 average in the month in 2006.

"I know I hit a lot. I know a lot of people told me that," Altuve said after his final game in July. "Like I said, the only thing I'm looking for is to help my team. We have a good lead in our division. We're just working really hard to keep winning games."

Altuve steals second base

As for the rest of Altuve's historic month, here's some context:

• His .485 batting average in July was the best by any Astros player in any month, surpassing Hidalgo's .476 average in September 2000.

• Altuve posted a career-long hitting streak of 19 games from July 2-28. It was the longest streak by an Astros player since Hunter Pence had a 23-game stretch in 2011.

• From July 4-28, Altuve posted 43 hits over an 18-game span, becoming one of six players in MLB's modern era to record 43-plus hits in an 18-game stretch. The others: Ty Cobb, George Sisler, Jack Tobin, Heinie Manush and Ichiro Suzuki, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

• Altuve was hitting .544 with 37 hits in 68 at-bats from July 4-28. Over the 15-game span, Altuve became the first player with 37 hits in 68 or fewer at-bats since Rogers Hornsby went 37-for-62 in July 1923, according to Elias.

• Altuve earned a hit in 21 of 23 games in July and leads the Majors with 148 hits.

• And, yes, his .368 batting average this season leads MLB as well.

Hinch on win over Rays

"I felt good. Obviously I had a good month," he said. "I'm just trying to do the same thing every time I go to the home plate. Even if I play here or play on the road, I just need to get on base."

Yet, minutes after completing the Astros' best individual offensive month for any player this season, Altuve remained humbled.

"Right now it's really tough to think about what you're doing, you don't want to get caught in the numbers. It's OK if I get two or three hits today, tomorrow is another game. I just need to get on base and help my team."

Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.