Astros clinch AL West with 7-1 win over Mariners

HOUSTON (AP) When the Houston Astros traded for Justin Verlander less than three weeks ago, they envisioned days like this.

Verlander struck out 10 over seven innings in his first home start for Houston, Derek Fisher and Marwin Gonzalez homered in a big fifth inning and the Astros clinched the American League West with a 7-1 win over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday.

''The story is almost too good to be true,'' manager A.J. Hinch said. ''We trade for him for this exact reason to come up in big moments. He was locked in from the very beginning. Nobody better to have on the mound and nobody better to celebrate with.''

The Astros acquired the ace from Detroit on Aug. 31, just minutes before the deadline for players to be eligible for postseason play. He had made two starts on the road before his Minute Maid Park debut.

''I don't think you could ask for a better introduction for me to the city of Houston than this,'' Verlander said. ''First home start would have been great. First home start and a win would have been great. First home start and to win in a division-clinching game - you can't make that up. And I'm looking forward to hopefully many more wins.''

George Springer and Carlos Correa also homered for the Astros, who won their first division title since 2001 and seventh overall. The Astros become the first team in major league history to win titles in three divisions after previously winning the NL West and NL Central.

As the Astros celebrated Sunday's accomplishment, they were quick to point out that they want to finish the regular season strong to try and gain home-field advantage in the postseason b`y finishing with the best record in the AL. Houston led the AL for most of the season, but Cleveland moved ahead with its recent 22-game winning streak.

''For us, this is just the beginning,'' Correa said. ''We are just getting started.''

Houston has reached the postseason three times as a wild-card team since winning last winning its division in 2001 - with a team that included Seattle manager Scott Servais. The Astros will return to the playoffs for the second time in three seasons after ending a 10-year postseason drought in 2015.

Owner Jim Crane, who bought the team in 2011 and oversaw rebuilding, reveled in the celebration.

''I had a little tear in my eye,'' he said. ''This has been a long time coming. It was our goal from the get-go to work hard at it, build the team and we have a really good ball club.''

For the few players still on the team who endured the really lean years, winning the first division title in 16 years was even more special.

''It means a lot because I was here when we lost 100 games three years in a row,'' Jose Altuve said. ''Now I'm part of some winning teams and that means a lot to me.''

Verlander (13-8) retired his first seven batters before Ben Gamel homered into the right-center bullpen in the third. He allowed just two singles after that to improve to 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA since the trade. Verlander walked one and raised his strikeout total with Houston to 26 in three games.

''We knew we were going to have to keep it close because we probably weren't going to get a lot off Verlander,'' Servais said. ''Obviously, he was really good again today.''

Houston had trouble stringing hits together until the fifth inning, when Yuli Gurriel singled and Fisher homered to straightaway center off Andrew Moore (1-4) for a 2-1 lead.

Springer singled and Moore got two outs before being replaced by James Pazos. Gonzalez sent his fourth pitch off the wall in left field for his 22nd home run to make it 4-1.

Moore allowed three runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. He is 0-4 in seven starts and two relief appearances since June 22.

Springer hit his 32nd homer, a solo shot in the seventh off Emilio Pagan. Correa made it 7-1 later in the inning with a two-run homer.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Astros: RHP Lance McCullers will not return to the rotation on Tuesday and will instead throw another bullpen in a couple of days before the team decides when he will pitch again. ... INF Colin Moran was activated from the disabled list on Sunday. He's been out since July 23 after suffering facial fractures when he fouled a ball off his face.

THEY SAID IT

Hinch on his message to the team after the game: ''I just said thank you for everything that this season is about and also to stay focused for what's ahead. We have a chance to have a really special run here.''

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Mike Leake (3-0, 2.41 ERA) pitches in the opener of a series against Texas on Tuesday.

Astros: RHP Collin McHugh (2-2, 3.61) is scheduled to start against the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday. McHugh left after three innings in his last start because of a problem with his fingernail.

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Copyright 2017 by STATS. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.

123456789RHE
SEA74-76
001000000161
HOU91-58
00004030X7120
  • W: J. Verlander (13-8)L: A. Moore (1-4)
  • HR: SEA - B. Gamel (10), HOU - M. Gonzalez (22), G. Springer (32), C. Correa (21), D. Fisher (5)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
J. Segura SS40100021.297.348.429.7770.0
M. Haniger RF40100011.277.354.478.8320.5
R. Cano 2B40200010.283.342.460.8011.5
N. Cruz DH40100014.287.373.533.9060.5
K. Seager 3B40000014.253.322.452.774-0.5
Y. Alonso 1B30000020.264.363.492.854-1.0
M. Zunino C30000030.248.329.504.833-1.5
B. Gamel LF31111010.278.327.412.7385.5
G. Heredia CF10000100.256.323.349.6721.0
a- D. Vogelbach PH10000010.150.261.150.411-0.5
  • a-struck out for Heredia in the 9th
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
G. Springer CF42211100.291.374.535.9089.0
J. Reddick RF51100014.315.363.482.8451.5
C. Correa SS41121002.304.379.528.9067.0
M. Gonzalez 2B41221001.293.364.521.8859.0
C. Beltran DH40000011.234.287.394.681-0.5
A. Bregman 3B40100001.279.348.460.8081.0
B. McCann C40100001.244.326.417.7431.0
Y. Gurriel 1B41200012.292.325.476.8013.5
D. Fisher LF41221012.227.324.403.7277.5
    BATTING
    • HR - B. Gamel (10)
    • RBI - B. Gamel (54)
    BATTING
    • 2B - M. Gonzalez (30), Y. Gurriel (37)
    • HR - G. Springer (32), C. Correa (21), M. Gonzalez (22), D. Fisher (5)
    • RBI - G. Springer (79), C. Correa 2 (71), M. Gonzalez 2 (82), D. Fisher 2 (16)
    • 2-Out RBI - M. Gonzalez 2 (30)
    FIELDING
    • E - R. Cano (9)
    PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
    A. Moore (L, 1-4)4.27330115.401.15-2.5
    J. Pazos0.11110013.631.35-2.0
    D. Altavilla1.00000004.431.433.0
    E. Pagan1.02320223.400.960.0
    M. Gonzales1.02001106.621.790.5
    PITCHERSIP
    A. Moore (L, 1-4)4.2
    J. Pazos0.1
    D. Altavilla1.0
    E. Pagan1.0
    M. Gonzales1.0
    PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
    J. Verlander (W, 13-8)7.031111013.501.2131.0
    C. Devenski1.00000102.710.933.5
    K. Giles1.03000202.451.021.0
    PITCHERSIP
    J. Verlander (W, 13-8)7.0
    C. Devenski1.0
    K. Giles1.0
    PITCHING
    • Pitches-Strikes - A. Moore 78-52, J. Pazos 7-3, D. Altavilla 8-5, E. Pagan 28-21, M. Gonzales 21-12
    • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - A. Moore 2-11, J. Pazos 1-0, D. Altavilla 3-0, E. Pagan 2-0, M. Gonzales 2-0
    • Batters Faced - A. Moore 21, J. Pazos 2, D. Altavilla 3, E. Pagan 6, M. Gonzales 6
    PITCHING
    • Pitches-Strikes - J. Verlander 99-64, C. Devenski 8-7, K. Giles 20-14
    • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J. Verlander 2-7, C. Devenski 1-1
    • Batters Faced - J. Verlander 23, C. Devenski 3, K. Giles 6
    PLAYERS OF THE GAME
    123456789RHE
    SEA74-76
    001000000161
    HOU91-58
    00004030X7120
    HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
    J. Segura SS40100021.297.348.429.7770.0
    M. Haniger RF40100011.277.354.478.8320.5
    R. Cano 2B40200010.283.342.460.8011.5
    N. Cruz DH40100014.287.373.533.9060.5
    K. Seager 3B40000014.253.322.452.774-0.5
    Y. Alonso 1B30000020.264.363.492.854-1.0
    M. Zunino C30000030.248.329.504.833-1.5
    B. Gamel LF31111010.278.327.412.7385.5
    G. Heredia CF10000100.256.323.349.6721.0
    a- D. Vogelbach PH10000010.150.261.150.411-0.5
    Total31161111310-----
    • a-struck out for Heredia in the 9th
    HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
    G. Springer CF42211100.291.374.535.9089.0
    J. Reddick RF51100014.315.363.482.8451.5
    C. Correa SS41121002.304.379.528.9067.0
    M. Gonzalez 2B41221001.293.364.521.8859.0
    C. Beltran DH40000011.234.287.394.681-0.5
    A. Bregman 3B40100001.279.348.460.8081.0
    B. McCann C40100001.244.326.417.7431.0
    Y. Gurriel 1B41200012.292.325.476.8013.5
    D. Fisher LF41221012.227.324.403.7277.5
    Total37712741414-----
      BATTING
      • HR - B. Gamel (10)
      • RBI - B. Gamel (54)
      BATTING
      • 2B - M. Gonzalez (30), Y. Gurriel (37)
      • HR - G. Springer (32), C. Correa (21), M. Gonzalez (22), D. Fisher (5)
      • RBI - G. Springer (79), C. Correa 2 (71), M. Gonzalez 2 (82), D. Fisher 2 (16)
      • 2-Out RBI - M. Gonzalez 2 (30)
      FIELDING
      • E - R. Cano (9)
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      A. Moore (L, 1-4)4.27330115.401.15-2.5
      J. Pazos0.11110013.631.35-2.0
      D. Altavilla1.00000004.431.433.0
      E. Pagan1.02320223.400.960.0
      M. Gonzales1.02001106.621.790.5
      Total8.01276144---
      PITCHERSIP
      A. Moore (L, 1-4)4.2
      J. Pazos0.1
      D. Altavilla1.0
      E. Pagan1.0
      M. Gonzales1.0
      Total8.0
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      J. Verlander (W, 13-8)7.031111013.501.2131.0
      C. Devenski1.00000102.710.933.5
      K. Giles1.03000202.451.021.0
      Total9.06111131---
      PITCHERSIP
      J. Verlander (W, 13-8)7.0
      C. Devenski1.0
      K. Giles1.0
      Total9.0
      PITCHING
      • Pitches-Strikes - A. Moore 78-52, J. Pazos 7-3, D. Altavilla 8-5, E. Pagan 28-21, M. Gonzales 21-12
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - A. Moore 2-11, J. Pazos 1-0, D. Altavilla 3-0, E. Pagan 2-0, M. Gonzales 2-0
      • Batters Faced - A. Moore 21, J. Pazos 2, D. Altavilla 3, E. Pagan 6, M. Gonzales 6
      PITCHING
      • Pitches-Strikes - J. Verlander 99-64, C. Devenski 8-7, K. Giles 20-14
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J. Verlander 2-7, C. Devenski 1-1
      • Batters Faced - J. Verlander 23, C. Devenski 3, K. Giles 6
      • 7TH INNING
        Correa homered to center, Reddick scored17
        Springer homered to left15
      • 5TH INNING
        Gonzalez homered to left center, Springer scored14
        Fisher homered to center, Gurriel scored12
      • 3RD INNING
        Gamel homered to right center10
      • 9TH INNING
        • Ken Giles relieved Chris Devenski
        • Daniel Vogelbach hit for Guillermo Heredia
        • D. Vogelbach: Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Foul tip, Vogelbach struck out on foul tip
        • J. Segura: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Segura reached on an infield single to shortstop
        • M. Haniger: Strike looking, Ball, Haniger singled to right center, Segura to second
        • R. Cano: Foul, Cano singled to left center, Segura to third, Haniger to second
        • N. Cruz: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Cruz struck out swinging
        • K. Seager: Strike looking, Ball, Seager popped out to shortstop
        • Middle of the 9th (0 Runs, 3 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 8TH INNING
        • Chris Devenski relieved Justin Verlander
        • Y. Alonso: Alonso flied out to right
        • M. Zunino: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Zunino struck out swinging
        • B. Gamel: Strike looking, Foul, Gamel grounded out to first
        • Middle of the 8th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • Marco Gonzales relieved Emilio Pagan
        • A. Bregman: Ball, Foul, Foul, Bregman grounded out to third
        • B. McCann: Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Ball, McCann grounded out to second
        • Y. Gurriel: Gurriel doubled to deep right center
        • D. Fisher: Ball, Fisher singled to left, Gurriel to third
        • G. Springer: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Springer walked, Fisher to second
        • J. Reddick: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Reddick struck out swinging
        • End of the 8th (0 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 7TH INNING
        • J. Verlander Pitching:
        • R. Cano: Ball, Foul, Cano singled to center
        • N. Cruz: Cruz grounded into double play shortstop to second to first, Cano out at second
        • K. Seager: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Seager flied out to deep center
        • Middle of the 7th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
        • Emilio Pagan relieved Dan Altavilla
        • D. Fisher: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Fisher struck out looking
        • G. Springer: Foul, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Springer homered to left
        • J. Reddick: Ball, Foul, Reddick safe at first on 2nd baseman Cano fielding error
        • C. Correa: Ball, Strike swinging, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Correa homered to center, Reddick scored
        • M. Gonzalez: Strike looking, Strike looking, Gonzalez grounded out to second
        • C. Beltran: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Foul, Foul, Foul tip, Beltran struck out on foul tip
        • End of the 7th (3 Runs, 2 Hits, 1 Error)
      • 6TH INNING
        • J. Verlander Pitching:
        • G. Heredia: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Heredia walked
        • J. Segura: Strike looking, Pickoff attempt, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Segura struck out swinging
        • M. Haniger: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Heredia caught stealing, catcher
        • Middle of the 6th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • Dan Altavilla relieved James Pazos
        • A. Bregman: Ball, Bregman grounded out to pitcher
        • B. McCann: McCann grounded out to shortstop
        • Y. Gurriel: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Strike looking, Gurriel grounded out to third
        • End of the 6th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 5TH INNING
        • J. Verlander Pitching:
        • Y. Alonso: Strike swinging, Foul, Strike swinging, Alonso struck out swinging
        • M. Zunino: Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Zunino struck out swinging
        • B. Gamel: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Strike looking, Gamel struck out looking
        • Middle of the 5th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • A. Moore Pitching:
        • Y. Gurriel: Ball, Ball, Gurriel singled to left center
        • D. Fisher: Strike swinging, Fisher homered to center, Gurriel scored
        • G. Springer: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Springer singled to left center
        • J. Reddick: Foul, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Ball, Reddick flied out to deep left
        • C. Correa: Strike looking, Pickoff attempt, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Pickoff attempt, Pickoff attempt, Foul, Correa flied out to deep center
        • James Pazos relieved Andrew Moore
        • M. Gonzalez: Ball, Foul, Ball, Pickoff attempt, Gonzalez homered to left center, Springer scored
        • C. Beltran: Ball, Ball, Beltran grounded out to third
        • End of the 5th (4 Runs, 4 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 4TH INNING
        • J. Verlander Pitching:
        • M. Haniger: Haniger flied out to deep right
        • R. Cano: Ball, Foul, Cano grounded out to first
        • N. Cruz: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Ball, Cruz singled to right center
        • K. Seager: Foul, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Seager struck out swinging
        • Middle of the 4th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
        • A. Moore Pitching:
        • M. Gonzalez: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ball, Gonzalez doubled to deep left
        • C. Beltran: Ball, Beltran flied out to right
        • A. Bregman: Strike looking, Bregman grounded out to third
        • B. McCann: Ball, Ball, Foul, Ball, Foul, Foul, McCann lined out to shortstop
        • End of the 4th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
      • 3RD INNING
        • J. Verlander Pitching:
        • M. Zunino: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Foul, Strike swinging, Zunino struck out swinging
        • B. Gamel: Ball, Strike looking, Gamel homered to right center
        • G. Heredia: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Foul, Heredia popped out to shortstop
        • J. Segura: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ball, Strike swinging, Segura struck out swinging
        • Middle of the 3rd (1 Run, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
        • A. Moore Pitching:
        • G. Springer: Strike looking, Strike looking, Springer flied out to right
        • J. Reddick: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Reddick lined out to left
        • C. Correa: Strike looking, Correa lined out to center
        • End of the 3rd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 2ND INNING
        • J. Verlander Pitching:
        • N. Cruz: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Cruz lined out to center
        • K. Seager: Foul, Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Seager flied out to center
        • Y. Alonso: Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Alonso struck out swinging
        • Middle of the 2nd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • A. Moore Pitching:
        • C. Beltran: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Beltran fouled out to catcher
        • A. Bregman: Strike looking, Foul, Bregman singled to right
        • B. McCann: Foul, McCann singled to right, Bregman to second
        • Y. Gurriel: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Gurriel struck out swinging
        • D. Fisher: Ball, Fisher grounded out to first
        • End of the 2nd (0 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 1ST INNING
        • J. Verlander Pitching:
        • J. Segura: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Segura lined out to center
        • M. Haniger: Strike looking, Ball, Haniger popped out to first
        • R. Cano: Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Cano struck out swinging
        • Middle of the 1st (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • A. Moore Pitching:
        • G. Springer: Springer flied out to deep center
        • J. Reddick: Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Ball, Ball, Foul, Foul, Reddick singled to left center
        • C. Correa: Pickoff attempt, Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Pickoff attempt, Strike (foul tip), Correa popped out to shortstop
        • M. Gonzalez: Ball, Ball, Foul, Pickoff attempt, Gonzalez lined out to left
        • End of the 1st (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)