AL MVP

Astros star Jose Altuve wins American League MVP award

Jose Altuve takes home his first MVP award. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After much anticipation, it's official: Jose Altuve is your American League Most Valuable Player for 2017. Minute Maid Park will get to continue to chant "MVP!" into the 2018 season when their best player steps up to the plate. 

It should be no surprise that Altuve was able to claim one of the league's top honors for this season, at least for anyone outside of New York who was probably feeling strongly about Aaron Judge after his stellar rookie year. 

Jose had an outstanding regular season, a career year, in fact. He led the AL in hits with 204, making it his fourth straight 200-hit season, and finished with an incredible .346 batting average to earn his third batting title. In addition to the best batting average of his career thus far, Altuve also had his best on-base percentage (.410), slugging percentage (.547) for a combined .957 slugging plus on-base percentage which was third in the AL. 

Altuve was second in the league in runs scored at 112 and in stolen bases at 32. He was also second in WAR, wins above replacement, at 7.9 games, a pretty telling number that shows that without him, the Astros would've been a totally different team. 

He was also solid on the defensive side of the ball, finishing fifth among AL second basemen in fielding percentage at .982 and fourth in assists at 351 while committing 10 errors on the year. 

All in all, even though the postseason is not considered in the MVP voting, Jose's remarkable year was definitely one of the driving forces that led the Astros to their first championship in franchise history. 

It's hard to say if Altuve still would've been named MVP if Judge hadn't had his second-half slump, or if Trout hadn't been sidelined for a chunk of the season, but there's no question that all things considered Altuve deserved to be in the running, and it's no surprise he won this year and should continue to be a contender for years to come. 

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Carlos Correa had a big home run Saturday night. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

With four wins in a row, including the first two of this series, Houston had a chance to keep their momentum going to lock up a series win on Saturday in this four-game set. Although Texas would make it interesting late, the Astros would hold them off to get the victory.

Final Score: Astros 6, Rangers 5

Astros' Record: 23-17, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Luis Garcia (1-3)

Losing Pitcher: Dane Dunning (2-3)

Action in the first

After getting trounced the night prior, the Rangers managed to grab early momentum with a run to start the scoring Saturday night against Luis Garcia. It came after a one-out triple set up a sac fly, giving Texas a 1-0 lead. Houston quickly took control back in their favor, though, putting up four in the bottom of the inning on a two-RBI single by Alex Bregman and a two-run homer by Carlos Correa, making it 4-1 Astros.

The scoreboard went quiet after that inning, with both teams slowing down at the plate. Garcia put together a decent night, allowing just the one run over five innings of work, erasing some runners throughout the night. His final line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 0 HR, 94 P.

Rangers tighten it up late

Bryan Abreu was the first reliever to enter for Houston, taking over for Garcia in the top of the sixth. He worked around a leadoff single, keeping it a three-run game, then returned for a 1-2-3 top of the seventh. Correa led off with a double in the bottom of the inning, setting up a two-run Kyle Tucker homer, extending his recent hot streak and the lead to 6-1.

Ryne Stanek took over on the mound for Houston in the top of the eighth but worked himself into trouble with a single and walk to set up a three-run homer by Joey Gallo to make it a two-run game at 6-4. He would manage just one out before a walk would prompt Dusty Baker to move on to Brandon Bielak. Bielak would allow a run while getting the final two outs, making it 6-5.

Astros secure the series

After a scoreless bottom of the eighth, Ryan Pressly would try to notch another save and close the door on the Rangers. He would get the job done, sitting the Rangers down in order, keeping Houston's winning streak intact.

Up Next: The finale of this four-game set will start at 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Lance McCullers JR. (3-1, 3.10 ERA), fresh off of a recent gem, will look to continue his success for the Astros, while Kyle Gibson (3-0, 2.28) will try to stay perfect on the season for the Rangers.

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