Verlander has historic night as Astros lock up best overall record
Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 6-3 win
After securing the best American League regular-season record with the victory on Friday night to guarantee home-field advantage through the ALCS, the Astros had the chance to lock in the best record of the entire league with another win over the Angles in Los Angeles on Saturday.
It was also Justin Verlander's last start in the regular season, his final chance to add to his potential Cy Young Numbers. Here is a quick recap of the game:
Final Score: Astros 6, Angels 3.
Record: 106-55, first in the AL West.
Winning pitcher: Justin Verlander (21-6, 2.58 ERA).
Losing pitcher: Luke Bard (3-3, 4.78 ERA).
1) Verlander reaches 3,000 strikeouts on his career and 300 in 2019
Justin Verlander went into Saturday's game closing in on two milestones, one a career-long and the other for the 2019 season. The former he reached in the bottom of the fourth, getting his sixth strikeout of the night which brought him to the elusive mark of 3,000 in his career.
With the strikeouts then coming in bunches, Verlander had a chance at the twelve K's needed to join teammate Gerrit Cole with 300 on the year. In the bottom of the sixth, he would get that strikeout, finishing his regular-season performance by reaching that achievement.
Along the way in the start, he did allow three runs on a solo home run in the first and two-run homer in the fourth, ultimately increasing his ERA to 2.58, but that would be a small blemish on an otherwise historic night. His final line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 12 K, 2 HR.
No. 3,000. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/CJBbptLcJf
— MLB (@MLB) September 29, 2019
2) Altuve and Reddick lift the offense ahead
Early in the game, it did not look like Houston's bats were going to be able to figure out Jose Suarez and be able to bail out Justin Verlander who had allowed the early runs. That changed in the top of the sixth when a leadoff walk set up Jose Altuve for a two-run home run to trim the Angels' lead to 3-2.
Later in that inning, Houston had two more runners on base after a walk and hit-by-pitch, and Josh Reddick took advantage with the second homer of the inning, this one a go-ahead blast to make it a 5-3 Houston lead. Jose Altuve knocked in another run in the top of the seventh, getting an RBI-single to extend the lead to 6-3.
3) Houston's relievers throw three scoreless innings
With Verlander's night done after six innings, Hector Rondon took over on the mound for the bottom of the seventh and worked around a one-out hit batter and walk to keep the Angels scoreless in the inning. Ryan Pressly continued to look sharp, throwing a nine-pitch bottom of the eighth.
Jake Marisnick led off the top of the ninth with a triple, but three straight outs would leave him stranded and Houston's lead still three runs. That gave Roberto Osuna another save opportunity for the year, and he would keep Los Angeles scoreless in the bottom of the ninth. The win locked up the best overall record in the MLB for the Astros, giving them home-field advantage should they reach the World Series.
Up Next: The 162nd and final game of the 2019 regular season for the Astros will be Sunday in Los Angeles against the Angles at 2:07 PM. Gerrit Cole (19-5, 2.52 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston to make his final bid to pass up Justin Verlander for the Cy Young as well as try to get to win number 20, while Dillon Peters (4-3, 4.72 ERA) will oppose him for the Angels.
The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.