UPDATE: Well, this is a relief. According to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, Astros manager Bo Porter said that X-rays came back negative and that Altuve is considered day-to-day.
10:56 p.m. ET: Troubling development for the Astros, as Julia Morales of CSNHouston.com passes along word that second baseman Jose Altuve exited tonight’s game against the Diamondbacks in the bottom of the seventh inning after he was hit in the right hand/wrist area while squaring to bunt.
Altuve appeared to be in a lot of pain as he walked off the field with team trainers. No word yet on his status, but Astros fans will have to hope that he didn’t suffer the same fate as Diamondbacks outfielder A.J. Pollock, who fractured his right hand on a similar play on May 31 and is expected to be sidelined through the end of July.
Altuve returned to the lineup tonight after missing yesterday with a minor injury to his left oblique. The 24-year-old is hitting .319 through 67 games this season and leads the majors with 90 hits. He ranks first in the American League with 24 stolen bases.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.