Love him or hate him, Jose Altuve is making a case to be known as the new Mr. October.
The Houston Astros’ controversial second baseman hit a leadoff home run in the seventh inning of Game 2 of the 2021 World Series, tying him with Yankees great Bernie Williams for the second most postseason homers all-time.
The blast, which helped seal a 7-2 Astros win against the Atlanta Braves in Houston to tie the Series, was Altuve’s 22nd October dinger. Manny Ramirez has the most with 29.
“To hit 22 homers in the playoffs and tie [Williams] — always every time that my name is mentioned, before it was Derek Jeter, now it’s Bernie Williams — it means a lot to me,” Altuve said after the game.
“It makes me keep going out there, hitting homers to help my team, to keep accomplishing things like this. As long as we win, everything’s good.”
Altuve, who became the poster boy for the Astros’ elaborate sign-stealing scheme that gave baseball its latest back eye, was having a miserable postseason and had gone 0-for-5 with three whiffs in the Series opener before ripping the milestone home run.
He also had a double in the first inning and came around to score to set the tone for the Astros, who are looking for their first championship since 2017 — the year Altuve was named American League MVP.
The Venezuela native, all of 5 feet, 6 inches, has been the Astros’ go-to guy and most fearsome October hitter over the past five years. He’s the team’s all-time postseason leader in homers (22), hits (88) and runs (66).
“The stats [in the] playoffs don’t matter because you’re winning,” Altuve said. “You can be 0-for-20, but what about if you get the big hit? So that’s what the playoffs is about. I don’t care I went 0-for-5 night. I didn’t care. I show up [Wednesday], try to get good pitches to hit, and I’m glad that I [helped] my team to win.”
— Robert Dominguez
Robert Dominguez is co-author of “Bronx Bummers: The Unofficial History of the New York Yankees’ Bad Boys, Blunders and Brawls” and writer of the upcoming “El Salón: The Trials and Triumphs of Baseball’s Latino Hall of Famers.”
Photo: Rough Tough, Real Stuff — Under Creative Commons License