September 22, 2018 / 4:00 AM / 3 months ago

Gurriel drives in 7 as Astros rout Angels

EditorsNote: Updates with A’s result

Yuli Gurriel slugged a pair of home runs, including a first-inning grand slam, and drove in seven, and Gerrit Cole worked seven strong innings as the reigning World Series champion Houston Astros clinched a postseason berth with an 11-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Friday at Minute Maid Park.

The Astros secured their 12th postseason appearance in club history and shaved their magic number to six to win the American League West for a second consecutive season. The Oakland Athletics beat the Minnesota Twins in extra innings later Friday to stay within 3 1/2 games.

Houston (96-57) reached 96 victories for just the fifth time in franchise annals. The Astros finished 96-66 in 1986 before winning a club-record 102 games in 1998, 97 in 1999, and 101 last season.

Cole (15-5), working on eight days’ rest, allowed three runs on six hits while recording 12 strikeouts without issuing a walk. It marked his eighth double-digit strikeout game of the season and bumped his season total to 272, tops in the American League. Astros right-hander Justin Verlander is second to Cole with 269 strikeouts. He will start on Saturday.

In the first, Gurriel drove a first-pitch sinker from Angels left-hander Andrew Heaney (9-10) 368 feet the opposite way to right field, plating Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, who singled with one out, and Marwin Gonzalez, who walked to load the bases with two outs in the first.

It marked the second grand slam of the season for Gurriel, who tagged Heaney again in the third with a two-run shot to left that upped the Houston lead to 6-0. Gurriel ran his season home run total to 12.

The first Gurriel blast was the Astros’ franchise-record-tying seventh grand slam of the season.

Gurriel, who went 3-for-4, added a single in the fifth to drive in Tyler White. George Springer added a two-run homer in the eighth, his 21st home run and first since Sept. 2.

Heaney logged six scoreless innings in his previous appearance against the Astros at Minute Maid Park. He wasn’t quite as effective in his second career start in Houston, surrendering six runs on five hits and three walks with five strikeouts over three innings.

The Angels, playing the fourth game of their final road trip, have dropped six of eight contests.

Cole carried a shutout into the sixth before Angels center fielder Mike Trout lined a two-out, two-run homer to center field, his 37th homer this season.

—Field Level Media

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