Altuve homers in first 3 innings; hits 5 in 2 days

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Jose Altuve homered in each of the first three innings Tuesday night, leading the Houston Astros’ explosive beginning in their rivalry clash with the Texas Rangers.

The barrage gave Altuve homers in four straight plate appearances going back to Monday’s game and five homers in six plate appearances — the most in a two-game span in Astros history and tied for the most over two games in MLB history. He is the fourth player in the Expansion Era (since 1661) to hit five home runs in six plate appearances, joining Manny Ramirez (1998), Shawn Green (2002) and Josh Hamilton (2012).

Helped by Altuve’s first three-homer game in the regular season — he’s the first player in Astros history with a cycle and a 3-HR game in the same season — Houston scored three runs in each of the first three innings en route to a 14-1 victory.

Altuve started the game with a blast to left off Rangers starter Nathan Eovaldi, who was making his first appearance since July 18 because of a forearm strain.

Altuve’s second homer was also against Eovaldi and ended the righty’s night after 1⅓ innings and four runs allowed. Altuve’s third blast was against reliever Dane Dunning.

He did not come to the plate during the top of the fourth and grounded out in the fifth, then struck out in the seventh before being pulled from the game.

Altuve has been greeted with an echoing chorus of boos all through the series, but the derision does not seem to have bothered him. After his third homer on Tuesday, he was 7-for-9 in the first 12 innings of the matchup with five homers, five RBIs and six runs scored.

According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Altuve became just the fourth player to homer in each of the first three innings of a game. The others were Carl Reynolds (1930), Mike Cameron (2002) and Manny Machado (2016).

He also joined the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Mookie Betts as the only players this season to record back-to-back multihomer games.

Altuve’s four homers in four straight plate appearances tied the major league record.

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