The regular season is in the books
Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 8-5 win
With the best record in the league already locked up with the win on Saturday, the Astros went into the 162nd and final game of the 2019 regular season with a chance to get one last tune-up and add to some individual numbers and records. Here is a rundown of the final game before the postseason:
Final Score: Astros 8, Angels 5.
Record: 107-55, first in the AL West.
Winning pitcher: Gerrit Cole (20-5, 2.50 ERA).
Losing pitcher: Dillon Peters (4-4, 5.38 ERA).
1) Houston's main bats finish strong
In their last chance to add some hits and RBIs to their final regular-season stat lines, the Astros' bats took advantage. Right away in the top of the first, George Springer led off the game with a single, then scored on an RBI-double by Jose Altuve to put Houston ahead 1-0.
Springer would go on to go 4-for-4 on the day with two RBIs including a solo home run in the second. Aledmys Diaz also hit a solo home run that inning, then in the top of the third Yuli Gurriel launched a two-run blast to extend the lead to 5-0. In the fourth, they added three more including Springer's other RBI, a double, along with an RBI-double for Michael Brantley and RBI-single for Alex Bregman. Bregman would go 1-for-1 with that RBI and two walks.
2) Cole gets his 20th win and ninth-straight 10+ strikeout start
Gerrit Cole once again had to take the mound the day after Justin Verlander set some historical marks and reached incredible milestones. Cole didn't shy away from getting his own, though, tossing a great game himself.
He allowed one run, a solo home run in the bottom of the third which made it a 5-1 game at the time. He also faced trouble in the fourth, loading the bases with one out after a single, hit batter, and walk, but would fight back with two strikeouts to end the inning. He would come out for one more inning, seeking two more Ks to reach ten on the day.
He would do so, striking out the last batter he would face in the 2019 regular season to reach ten on the day, doing so for the ninth-straight start, a feat no other pitcher has ever done. The five innings of one-run baseball also lowered his ERA to 2.50, further making it a difficult decision to vote between him and Justin Verlander for the Cy Young. Cole's final line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 10 K, 1 HR.
2019: Record setting season for @GerritCole45! #TakeItBackpic.twitter.com/ufoxS11pJ4
— Houston Astros (@astros) September 29, 2019
3) Houston finishes with a win
That set up four innings for the bullpen to cover, starting with Brad Peacock in the bottom of the sixth. Peacock wouldn't have the cleanest inning, getting just two outs while allowing a two-run home run to cut the lead to 8-3. Bryan Abreu would get the final out of the sixth then return for the seventh, a 1-2-3 inning to hold the five-run lead.
Joe Smith took over for the bottom of the eighth but allowed two RBI-doubles to cut Houston's lead down to 8-5 before Chris Devenski would be brought in for the final out of the inning. In the bottom of the ninth, Devenski remained in the game and recorded the first two outs before the final pitching change to bring in Will Harris who would get the final out of game 162.
Up Next: The regular season is now behind the Astros. In front of them, eleven wins needed to lift the Commissioner's Trophy for the second time in three years. Their first playoff game will be ALDS Game 1 on Friday, time TBD but likely in the afternoon, and opponent not yet determined as the winner of the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland A's in Wednesday's Wild Card game will travel to Houston to face the Astros in Game 1.
The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.