08/20/11 11:11 PM ET
Altuve notches inside-the-park homer
By Brian McTaggart / MLB.com
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."
Wright back in bigs with determined attitude
HOUSTON -- He's back, and he hopes this time for good.
Left-handed reliever Wesley Wright, who's bounced between Triple-A and the Majors since spending the entire 2008 season with the Astros, joined the club Saturday for the third time this season. He was called up late Friday after Jeff Fulchino was optioned to Triple-A.
"The last couple of years I've been up and down a lot, but I'm kind of used to it," Wright said. "I try not to worry about it because you never know when that call's going to come one way or another. You just try to stay focused one day at a time, and when you get a chance, make the most of it."
Wright has appeared in 39 games at Oklahoma City this year and was 2-1 with a 2.07 ERA, striking out 52 batters in 65 1/3 innings. Manager Brad Mills wanted Wright to give him an extra lefty in the bullpen.
Wright's focus this year has been trying to limit the number of baserunners he's had, which means staying low in the strike zone and trying to get a double play if someone does get on base. He's gone back and looked at his career numbers.
"Over my career, from the beginning up until his year, with the walks and hits there's been a lot of traffic," he said. "I want to limit the number of baserunners to give myself a better chance. If you make guys earn their way on base, it allows them to be more successful."
Astros taking patient approach with Schafer
HOUSTON -- The debut of center fielder Jordan Schafer in an Astros uniform could be delayed a bit because of the discomfort he felt recently in his left middle finger -- an injury that has kept him on the disabled list since July 20. He was traded to the Astros in the Michael Bourn deal 11 days later.
"There's really no rush to make that move," Astros manager Brad Mills said. "We'll kind of wait and see how things go tonight and how our game goes, how he does and so forth."
Through three games on his scheduled five-game Minor League rehab outing at Triple-A Oklahoma City, Schafer was 3-for-10 with three strikeouts and one RBI. The Astros will be forced to make a roster move to open up a spot whenever they deem Schafer ready to play.
"His bat looks good," said Mills, who has watched Schafer online. "I watched his at-bats and they looked pretty good. One thing that looked good was his knowledge of the strike zone. I thought for a guy that was sitting out 15, 20 days, his knowledge of the strike zone hadn't changed that much."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.