Bob Melvin has seen more than enough of Jose Altuve.
“He’s one of the best in the league — without a doubt,” Melvin said after Altuve went 8-for-12 in his three-game stay at the Coliseum.
The Venezuelan second baseman was in the middle of three of the Houston Astros’ four rallies on Wednesday afternoon, helping spoil the host’s chances for a sweep.
“He doesn’t have to hit one hard to get a hit. He can roll one through [the infield]. He’s got a wand,” Melvin said following the Oakland Athletics 7-0 loss. “We’ve seen him really good — often.”
Rookie starter Daniel Mengden, who allowed three runs in five innings of work, couldn’t keep Altuve off the bases.
“He’s a tough out,” Mengden said of the diminutive hitter who singled twice against the right-hander.
Mengden, who was facing his hometown team and former employer, has now thrown five innings or less in each of his past three outings.
“He’s probably one of the best hitters in the league right now. It’s tough facing him because the strike zone is so tiny,” Mengden admitted. “You throw a good pitch, but it’s a ball because of how small he is.”
Mengden struggled to find the strike zone regardless of who was at the plate, though. In the loss, the 23-year-old handed out five walks — the most he’s issued in any of eight major league starts.
“He’s still trying to find his rhythm,” Melvin said. “He was better the last couple of innings, but the command’s been his issue.”
The A’s had no answers for Doug Fister, who allowed just four hits — half of them to Josh Reddick — in seven shutout frames.
“I don’t know whether or not we were flat today,” Melvin said. “I think it was more Fister today than anything else.”
Before the game, the A’s optioned Dillon Overton, Tuesday’s night’s starter, to Triple-A. Melvin cautioned that Overton’s demotion doesn’t signal that Rich Hill will be ready to return to the mound on Sunday.
“I don’t see that happening at this point,” Melvin said of Hill, who’s dealing with a blister. “We’ll have to do something different.”