Altuve provides only offense for Astros in loss

Second baseman records pair of hits as Houston shut out by Tribe

Altuve provides only offense for Astros in loss

HOUSTON -- Astros second baseman Jose Altuve treated the fans at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday when he passed Craig Biggio's club record for most hits in a season. Altuve performed another impressive feat Wednesday by keeping the Astros from being no-hit.

Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco threw a dazzling two-hit shutout, allowing just a pair of infield hits to Altuve -- his 212th and 213th hits of the season -- in the fourth and ninth innings and striking out a career-high 12 batters in a 2-0 win over the Astros.

"He's one of the top pitchers in the league and one of the hottest pitchers in the league," Astros interim manager Tom Lawless said. "He made a lot of good pitches today. We had two hits -- Altuve had both of them -- and we didn't have many chances to score runs today."

Carrasco (8-5) is the second pitcher in Major League history to strike out 12 batters on 98 pitches or fewer in a shutout, joining Sandy Koufax (1964). He's the first Indians pitcher to have at least 12 strikeouts in a shutout since Bartolo Colon struck out 13 in a one-hitter against the Yankees in 2000.

"Oh my God," Altuve said. "Every pitch -- split, fastball, slider, curveball. I knew, personally, that I was in trouble with him since my first at-bat because he threw fastballs in the middle and I couldn't hit it. I said, 'Man, if you can't hit a fastball against one guy, you're in trouble.'"

Altuve beat out an infield single in the fourth inning and legged out another with two outs in the ninth to extend his club record for multihit games to 65. He's the first Astros player with seven consecutive multihit games since Lance Berkman in 2008.

"I didn't hit the ball past the infield today," he said. "I had one to shortstop [a lineout], a strikeout and two ground balls. If you're able to get two hits, you feel good. This is not about getting hits. It's about winning games. It was a tough game. We have to give the credit to Carrasco. Unbelievable."

Carrasco retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced and 17 in a row in between Altuve's two hits.

"He was so good, just pounded the strike zone and he had a bunch of at-bats of three pitches or less," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He was commanding everything, so they started to try to get aggressive and he got first-pitch outs because of it."

Astros starter Brett Oberholtzer (5-12) pitched well in defeat, holding the Indians to two runs and seven hits in 7 2/3 innings without issuing a walk. Astros starters have a 2.45 ERA in their last six games and have walked just 17 batters in 117 1/3 innings since Aug. 28.

"Obie was working fast and nobody was really doing anything for both teams for a while," Lawless said. "They just got a hit with a guy in scoring position and two outs, and good teams do that. They take advantage of the opportunities, and we didn't have many opportunities to score."

Catcher Yan Gomes, who hit a two-run homer Tuesday, drove in both of the Indians' runs against Oberholtzer with a two-out single in the fourth inning and a two-out triple in the sixth. The triple came about when Astros right fielder Jake Marisnick came up short on a diving attempt on a sinking line drive and allowed the ball to roll to the wall.

Lawless pulled Marisnick aside in between innings to talk about the play, calling it on-the-job training.

"He's learning up here just as well as a lot of the other guys, and when that situation comes up again later in your career, I said, 'What are you going to do? You're going to step back and catch it on one hop and give the guy the single and have first and second with two outs, and we'll play on and we'll try to get the next guy out,'" Lawless said. "Later in the ballgame, or a tie game, you try to make that play. But in that situation and that part of the game, he knew it was not the right play."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.