Alex Bregman and Michael Brantley homered, and Jose Urquidy and three relievers combined on a three-hitter as the Houston Astros beat the Los Angeles Angels 4-0 Friday night in Anaheim, Calif.
With the win, the American League West champion Astros (105-55) clinched home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs.
Bregman hit his team-leading 41st home run leading off the second inning, but the game remained 1-0 until the eighth. That’s when Brantley came up big, belting a two-out, three-run homer.
Bregman’s blast off Angels starter Patrick Sandoval furthered the argument that the Astros third baseman should receive AL Most Valuable Player consideration. Angels center fielder Mike Trout has long been the favorite, but a foot injury ended his season on Sept. 7.
On offense, Bregman’s totals match up closely with Trout. Though Trout has 45 homers, Bregman has a 111-104 edge in RBIs and a .296-.291 advantage in batting average, though Trout’s 1.083 on-base-plus-slugging percentage tops Bregman’s 1.016 OPS.
Urquidy shut out the Angels on three hits in six innings. All three hits were singles, and no Los Angeles baserunner reached second base in the entire game.
Urquidy got help from the bullpen, as Ryan Pressly, Will Harris and Josh James each pitched an inning. Harris, though, was most impressive, striking out the side on nine pitches in the eighth inning.
Harris got six strikes swinging and three called strikes while setting down Kaleb Cowart, Matt Thaiss and Michael Hermosillo.
While the Angels had only three hits in the game, the Astros had just four, including two by Jack Mayfield.
Brantley’s home run was the big hit. Mayfield singled with one out in the eighth, and George Springer followed with a walk. Jose Altuve struck out before Brantley drove a 1-0 splitter from Luis Garcia for a three-run shot to center field, his 22nd long ball of the year.
—Field Level Media