The magic number is down to one!
So like the Astros themselves undoubtedly, I sit in front of the TV looking at Safeco Field, rooting for the Mariners.
Should I write a celebration to a great season, another 100 win season, another Division Championship, this time in baseball’s best division? But wait, it’s 3-3 in Seattle and Mike Leake is getting bombed. Looks like the celebration might be on hold, or maybe not.
Surely we clinch tonight, it’s September 25th, the date the Astros clinched in 1986 and 1997. It’s now 5-3 A’s with no outs in the second. Think I’ll just tell about the game tonight.
Once again the young arms, seemingly from oblivion, came through for the Astros. Josh James got his second win, going five innings, allowing only one run, on a homer by Bill McKinney in the third. He was not as overpowering as in previous appearances, getting only three strikeouts, but with the help of some good fielding held an early Astros lead.
Here’s an example of a defensive gem turned in by the Correa-less make shift infield tonight.
In games started by Framber Valdez and Josh James, or when one of them was the main pitcher, the Astros are 9-2. They have been a huge part of the 18-4 September success of the Astros filling in for the injured Lance McCullers and Charlie Morton.
The Astros scored the only runs they would need in the first inning on an Alex Bregman home run, his 31st, a line drive barely over the left field fence, which scored George Springer. Here’s the Bregs homer.
The Astros would add two more in the sixth on a Tyler White RBI single, followed by an Evan Gattis pinch hit sac fly.
Much like last night, the Blue Jays failed to capitalize on opportunities. In the seventh inning, Collin McHugh allowed the Jays to load the bases with a double, a single and a walk. But Ryan Pressly, who has quietly become the Astros’ most reliable reliever, was brought in to douse the fire, and he got pinch hitter Justin Smoak to strikeout on three pitches.
No doubt in Toronto they are noting that it was Keuchel’s strikeout of Smoak the previous night that likewise squelched a rally.
Hector Rondon had a smooth eighth inning, good to see, and Roberto Osuna got his second save in two nights and twentieth of the year to lock down the win for the Astros.
Yuli Gurriel had his sixth straight multi-hit game.
Tomorrow is the final game of the season series with Toronto. The Astros conclude the regular season with a four gamer in Baltimore.
Early game time, 3:07 CDT
Box score and videos here.