Astros are AL West division champs for third straight season

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 13-5 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Houston Astros are the 2019 winners of the American League West. Here is a quick recap of Sunday's game that clinched it:

With their magic number staying put at 1 after a loss on Saturday, Houston tried once again to lock up the division with a win on Sunday with Justin Verlander on the mound in the series finale against the Angels.

Final Score: Astros 13, Angels 5.

Record: 102-54, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Justin Verlander (20-6, 2.53 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Jose Rodriguez (0-1, 3.24 ERA).

1) George "triple-dinger" Springer

Houston's offense did their part early in Sunday's game to make sure they would be able to wrap up the AL West on the field. George Springer set the tone in the bottom of the first, getting a leadoff home run to give Houston a 1-0 lead.

After the Angels got the run back to tie the game in the top of the second, Springer returned to the plate for his second at-bat and hit another home run, this time a two-run shot to put the Astros back in front 3-1. Los Angeles tried to shift the momentum by getting a run back in the top of the fourth to cut the lead to one, but Springer would make it three-for-three with another solo home run in the bottom of the fourth, making it 4-2.

The rest of the offense would get in on the scoring in the bottom of the fifth, putting together a six-run inning on a two-run homer by Alex Bregman, a two-RBI single by Robinson Chirinos, an RBI-single by Jose Altuve, and one more scoring on a passed ball.

2) Verlander gets win number 20

Justin Verlander dealt with some high-leverage situations early in this start before his offense gave him plenty of slack. After a scoreless first, he would allow back-to-back two-out triples in the top of the second which tied the game 1-1. He worked around a leadoff single for a scoreless third but would allow the Angels to pull within one after putting runners on the corners with no out to set up an RBI-groundout in the top of the fourth.

He rebounded from that by erasing a single and walk in the fifth inning to keep the game at 4-2 before his offense put up the big inning of offense to put the game out of reach and allow him to enjoy the rest of the game from the dugout. The five-inning, two-run start was good enough to earn him his 20th win of the 2019 season. His final line: 5 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 0 HR.

3) Division champs again

With Verlander given the rest of the game off with the big lead putting him in line for the win, the Astros turned the ball to Brad Peacock who made his first appearance since the end of August. He worked around a one-out walk in the top of the sixth to throw a scoreless inning. In the bottom half, Aledmys Diaz tacked on three more runs with a three-run homer to make it 13-2.

Framber Valdez was next out of Houston's bullpen but would not record an out in the seventh after loading the bases, prompting the move to bring in Josh James. James would watch a few runs come across on an error, a single, and a bases-loaded walk, but would get through the inning. Chris Devenski turned things around with a 1-2-3 eighth.

Roberto Osuna came in to record the final three outs, wrapping up the win to not only secure the series victory but clinched the American League West for the third straight season.

Up Next: With the division won, the Astros will need a successful final week of regular-season play to maintain their grasp of the best record in baseball. They will have a day off on Monday before picking up a series in Seattle on Tuesday at 9:10 PM. In the opener of the two-game set, the expected pitchers are Gerrit Cole (18-5, 2.61 ERA) for Houston and Justin Dunn (0-0, 6.75 ERA) for Seattle as an opener.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

Astros are in the World Series for second time in three years

Astros playoff report presented by APG&E: Houston headed to World Series after ALCS Game 6 win

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Houston Astros are headed to their second World Series in three years. After losing with Justin Verlander on the mound in ALCS Game 5 in New York, the Astros returned home and did what it took to put the formidable Yankees away and finish the series, winning Game 6 by a score of 6-4 with a walk-off home run by Jose Altuve.

In what would be a battle of the bullpens, a huge three-run home run by Yuli Gurriel in the first inning was one of the difference-makers in the game, as was a game-tying shot by the Yankees off Roberto Osuna in the top of the ninth. Ultimately, it was Jose Altuve who played the hero. Here is a recap of the game that has Houston headed to the fall classic:

Final Score: Astros 6, Yankees 4.

Series: Astros win 4-2.

Winning Pitcher: Roberto Osuna.

Losing Pitcher: Aroldis Chapman.

Gurriel breaks his slump to give Astros an early lead

The Astros started ALCS Game 6 by handing the ball to Brad Peacock, who, after an eight-pitch eighth inning in Game 5, looked impressive enough to be trusted to start the bullpen day. He did his job in the top of the first, retiring the top of the Yankees order 1-2-3 on seven pitches.

In the bottom of the inning, the Astros finally got a momentous hit from Yuli Gurriel. Jose Altuve was the first baserunner of the night with a one-out double, then Alex Bregman followed with a two-out walk. That set up Gurriel, who turned an inside fastball around and snuck it into the Crawford Boxes to give Houston an early 3-0 lead.

Houston holds the lead through the middle innings with collection of relievers

Peacock remained in the game for the top of the second, but after two outs would struggle to put the Yankees away, allowing a two-out double then RBI-single to trim Houston's lead to 3-1. He would face one more batter and issue a walk before A.J. Hinch would pop out of the dugout to move on to Josh James, who would get a strikeout to end the threat.

James would continue into the third, getting two outs but eventually loading the bases, prompting another move, this time to Ryan Pressly. Pressly would get a groundout on one pitch, but after fielding it himself would look to re-injure his knee, a bad sight for Houston. Next up was Jose Urquidy who took over on the mound in the top of the fourth, but allowed a solo home run en route to completing the frame.

Urquidy would return for a 1-2-3 fifth and remain in the game for the top of the sixth. He would put two on base with one out after a walk and single, then benefited from a terrific diving catch by Reddick to get the second out and possibly save a run. That would be it for Urquidy, as the Astros would bring in Will Harris, who was able to induce a groundout on one pitch to end the threat.

Astros take the lead to the ninth

The Astros then went to work at the plate in the bottom of the sixth. Jose Altuve led the inning off with a walk, then moved to third on a single by Michael Brantley. Alex Bregman would score Altuve on an RBI-groundout, pushing Houston's lead to 4-2. Houston would get runners on second and third with two outs later in the inning, but Yordan Alvarez's struggles would continue as he struck out to end the inning and Houston's chances to add more to their lead. Harris would go back to the mound in the top of the seventh and would be able to erase a leadoff single by Aaron Judge after an incredible diving catch by Michael Brantley that would turn into a double play.

That left six more outs for Houston's bullpen to cover to finish off the game. In the top of the eighth, Joe Smith took over as the sixth pitcher for Houston and worked around a one-out single to send the game to the ninth after a double play by his defense ended the inning. Houston would load the bases in the bottom of the eighth with two outs but come out empty-handed after a groundout by Aledmys Diaz, who was pinch-hitting for the struggling Yordan Alvarez.

Yankees tie, but Jose Altuve sends Houston to the World Series

In the top of the ninth, closer Roberto Osuna came on in arguably the highest-pressure situation of his career. He allowed a leadoff single to bring the tying run to the plate, and after one out DJ LeMaheiu would tie the game with a two-run home run to right field. Osuna would get the next two batters, sending the tie game to the bottom of the ninth. In the bottom of the ninth, Aroldis Chapman came in for the Yankees to try and keep it a tie game for New York. Instead, Jose Altuve would launch the winning home run to send the Astros to the World Series.

Up Next: World Series Game 1 will be Tuesday at 7:08 PM Central from Minute Maid Park in Houston. The Astros will likely give the ball to Gerrit Cole, who would have been used for Game 7, while the Nationals will be expected to start Max Scherzer, setting up a fierce pitching battle.

The Astros playoff report is presented by APG&E.

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