Altuve notches inside-the-park homer

Altuve notches inside-the-park homer

HOUSTON -- The fact that Jose Altuve ran through a stop sign by third-base coach Dave Clark for the second time in a month didn't really matter much in the dugout celebration.

Had it not been for Altuve's inability to pick up Clark as he rounded third base, the rookie second baseman wouldn't have provided Astros fans with perhaps the most exciting play in baseball -- an inside-the-park home run.

Altuve became the first Astros players since Adam Everett in 2003 to hit an inside-the-park home run when he led off the first inning by hitting a ball off the wall in left-center field and raced around to score -- and past the outstretched arms of Clark -- without even needing to slide.

"As soon as I hit the ball, I knew the ball was in the gap," Altuve said. "I kept running hard and I saw the center fielder kind of lose the ball and he didn't know where it is, and I just kept running. When I was midway to third base I tried to see Clark, but [Giants third baseman Pablo] Sandoval was blocking my view. When I realized where he was, it was too late. I just kept running and scored and that was good for the team."

Altuve is the first Astros player to get his first Major League home run on an inside-the-park home run since pitcher Butch Henry in 1992. He's the first Astros player to lead off a game with an inside-the-park home run since Bill Doran in 1987.

"He's coming around second and he had a good look at what was going on [in the outfield]," manager Brad Mills said. "I think coming around second, about 20 feet past second base on his way to third, I think he decided, 'I may give it a shot.' The crowd got into it and that kind of encouraged him a little bit as he was running. All those things played into it a little bit."