September 22, 2019 / 10:09 PM / a month ago

Springer, Astros beat Angels to clinch AL West

EditorsNote: Small changes throughout

Sep 22, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Los Angeles Angels left fielder Michael Hermosillo (21) runs to third base on an RBI triple during the second inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

George Springer homered in each of his first three plate appearances, shouldering the load until the Houston Astros broke free with a six-run fifth inning in their 13-5 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.

The Astros (102-54) clinched the American League West with the win, their ninth full-season division title and third in a row. Houston completed its home schedule with a club-record 60 victories and finished 32-6 at home against AL West foes, with perfect marks against Seattle and Texas.

Springer slugged two home runs off Angels right-hander Jose Rodriguez (0-1) and a third off left-handed reliever Jose Suarez. He lined the first pitch of the bottom of the first inning into the Crawford Boxes in left field for his 12th leadoff home run this season and 36th overall.

With the score knotted at 1-1 in the second, Springer blasted a two-run shot off Rodriguez, driving home Aledmys Diaz and giving the Astros the lead for good.

After the Angels (70-86) clawed to within a run in the top of the fourth, Springer temporarily matched Alex Bregman for the club lead with his 38th home run in the bottom half of that frame to extend the lead to 4-2. Springer smacked three homers in a game for the first time in his career and for the 14th time in franchise history.

Houston put the game out of reach in the fifth, scoring three runs off Miguel Del Pozo and Justin Anderson while sending 10 batters to the plate. Bregman recaptured the team lead with his 39th homer, a two-run shot to left that plated Michael Brantley, while Robinson Chirinos added a two-run single and Jose Altuve a run-scoring single. Diaz also scored on a passed ball.

Diaz delivered a three-run homer, his eighth on the season, in the sixth for the Astros’ fifth dinger of the game. Springer went 3-for-5 with four RBIs and Diaz 3-for-4 with three RBIs, and rookie Yordan Alvarez finished 4-for-4 for his second career four-hit game.

Astros right-hander Justin Verlander (20-6) notched his second career 20-win season despite laboring over five innings, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks. He posted just five strikeouts, leaving him six shy of 3,000 in his career with just one start left this season, but posted two key strikeouts in succession in the fourth to strand Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons at third base representing the tying run.

—Field Level Media

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