EditorsNote: Edit 1: Minor edits. Edit 2: Updates with Astros clinching home-field.
Justin Verlander became the 18th pitcher in major league history to reach the 3,000-strikeout plateau on Saturday as the Houston Astros recorded a 6-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif.
Verlander (21-6), who fanned 12 batters to push his career total to 3,006, struck out Kole Calhoun in the fourth inning to hit the milestone. He also fanned Calhoun in the sixth for his career-high 300th strikeout of the season.
The 36-year-old Verlander joined Gerrit Cole (316) as the only set of teammates to strike out at least 300 batters in a season since Randy Johnson (334) and Curt Schilling (316) accomplished the feat for the 2002 Arizona Diamondbacks.
Josh Reddick belted a three-run homer and Jose Altuve also went deep and drove in three runs for the Astros (106-55), who have won 11 of their last 13 contests and clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Verlander’s 3,000th strikeout resulted in a wild pitch, allowing Calhoun to reach base with one out in the fourth inning. Andrelton Simmons followed by depositing a first-pitch fastball over the wall in center field to give Los Angeles a 3-0 lead with his seventh homer of the season, with four coming at the expense of Houston.
The Astros responded with a vengeance in the sixth as George Springer walked to lead off the inning before Altuve sent an 0-2 fastball from Jose Suarez over the wall in center field. Altuve extended his career-high homer total to 31 with his third against the Angels (72-89) this season.
Suarez was replaced by Luke Bard (3-3), who walked Alex Bregman and hit Aledmys Diaz with a pitch before Reddick sent a 2-1 slider over the wall in right field to stake Houston to a 5-3 lead.
Altuve tacked on another run in the seventh inning by driving in Kyle Tucker with a double to left field.
The offensive explosion made a winner of Verlander, who allowed three runs on four hits in six innings.
Two relievers bridged the gap to Roberto Osuna, who retired the side in the ninth inning to secure his 38th save of the season.
—Field Level Media