ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Usually when the crowd at Angel Stadium is chanting "MVP! MVP!" it is for Mike Trout. On Wednesday afternoon, the chant -- even if it came from just a handful of fans -- was for Jose Altuve.
Altuve, who has an 11-game hitting streak and has reached base in 32 straight, singled in the first inning, tripled in the third and doubled in the fifth. With a chance for the cycle, he lined out to left in the sixth, then singled to left for his fourth hit in the ninth.
There is plenty of season to be played, but Altuve's MVP support will only grow if he keeps playing as he is. And certainly, his manager will lead the campaign.
"There's so many characteristics, in terms of durability, reliability, high-end performance, impact on your teammates, impact on your team, that constitute MVP-caliber players," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "When you have someone that's influential in every single component of the game -- offense, defense, baserunning, clubhouse, performance -- to me, that's very noteworthy, and we have one of the best."
Altuve missing out on hitting for the cycle was about the only thing that hasn't gone the Astros' way lately. They have won 10 of their past 11 games, which includes a sweep of the Angels last week in Houston. The Astros (42-37) finished their June schedule with 18 wins, their most in June since 1989.
And it was Altuve leading the way, as usual. Besides the four hits that raised his average to a league-leading .357, the second baseman also scored four runs, drove in one and stole a base.
And to top it off, Hinch considered giving Altuve the day off.
"He tried to give me today off, he told me yesterday," Altuve said of Hinch. "But I didn't think that was a good idea, so thank God he didn't give me the day off."
George Springer and Luis Valbuena homered for Houston, which got a serviceable performance from starter Dallas Keuchel (5-9). The left-hander gave up three runs (two earned) on six hits and three walks in six innings. Keuchel struck out four.
The Angels' offense, such as it was, was led by Trout, who had a single, a double and two walks. Jett Bandy hit a home run, and Kole Calhoun and Albert Pujols each had an RBI.
Angels starter Jered Weaver (6-7) labored through 5 1/3 innings, giving up six runs on seven hits and three walks. He had only one clean inning, retiring the side in order in the second.
The last-place Angels (32-47) have dropped nine of their past 10 games and are 15 games under .500 for the first time since Aug. 23, 2013.
After the game, Angels manager Mike Scioscia held a team meeting. He refused to go into details, but he said the meeting was upbeat and that no one is pointing fingers at anyone else, saying the club has great clubhouse chemistry.
"If they're pointing a finger, they're pointing at themselves," he said.
If the Angels are unable to turn things around soon, they could find themselves in last place at the All-Star break for the first time since Scioscia became the manager in 2000. They were in last place at the break in 1999, leading to the club's overhaul with the resignations of manager Terry Collins and general manager Bill Bavasi and the subsequent hiring of Scioscia.
For now, Scioscia said his players simply need to focus on the process and not get caught up in the standings.
"We know we've seen some guys performing at their absolute worst for the first half," he said, "and we know they're better than that."
NOTES: Houston 2B Jose Altuve has played in 169 consecutive games, going back to last season, the longest active streak in the majors. ... Angels C Geovany Soto, out since May 18 because of a torn meniscus in his right knee that required surgery, is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A Salt Lake on Thursday. Soto was hitting .283 in 20 games when he was hurt. ... The Astros finished with 17 wins in June, the most they have had in June since winning 17 in 1998. They last won 18 in June in 1989. ... Angels RHP Joe Smith was scheduled make a second rehab appearance for Class A Inland Empire on Wednesday. Smith has been out since June 5 with a strained left hamstring.