HOUSTON (AP) – Justin Verlander picked up his major league-leading 19th win and Yuli Gurriel, Alex Bregman and Yordan Alvarez all homered to help the Houston Astros to a 4-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.
The Astros are a win away from their third straight 100-win season and have a magic number of one to clinch a playoff berth and three to capture their third straight American League West title.
Verlander (19-6) added to his case for the AL Cy Young Award by striking out eight and scattering four singles over six scoreless innings. He lowered his AL-leading ERA to 2.50 and his 283 strikeouts this season leave him 11 shy of becoming the 18th player in MLB history to reach 3,000.
Roberto Osuna struck out two in the ninth for his 34th save.
Texas starter Lance Lynn (14-11) was tough early and the Astros had just one hit before Gurriel’s home run to the first row of the seats in right field with one out in the fifth.
There were two outs in the sixth when Bregman launched his homer onto the train tracks atop left field to give him 37 this season. It’s the most home runs by an Astro since Chris Carter also had 37 in 2014.
Houston went back-to-back when Alvarez extended his rookie franchise record with his 26th homer on a ball hit to straightaway center field to make it 3-0.
Lynn yielded seven hits and four runs with eight strikeouts in seven innings. He is 0-5 in his last eight starts behind an offense that hasn’t provided much run support. The Rangers haven’t scored more than three runs in one of his starts since his last win on Aug. 2.
Jose Altuve singled with one out in the first inning before Lynn settled in, retiring the next 12 batters, with six strikeouts before Gurriel’s homer.
Houston shortstop Carlos Correa went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts in his return after sitting out since Aug. 19 with a sore lower back.
Rangers: OF Joey Gallo (wrist surgery) is working out and playing in games at the Rangers instructional league in Arizona and could come off the injured list by the end of the week.
Astros: Correa was only able to get one rehabilitation game in at Triple-A Round Rock before the team’s season ended, so the Astros will ease him back into playing every day. Manager AJ Hinch said he’ll be off on Wednesday to give him two days off coupled with an off day on Thursday and that he’ll likely only play two of three games this weekend against the Angels. … RHP Brad Peacock (sore shoulder) threw a bullpen session on Monday and is scheduled to throw live batting practice on Thursday as he moves closer to coming off the injured list.
Rangers: LHP Kolby Allard (4-0, 4.34) will start for Texas on Wednesday night. The rookie allowed seven hits and four runs in four innings in his last start but did not factor in the decision in a 6-4 win over Tampa Bay.
Astros: RHP Gerrit Cole (17-5, 2.62), who leads the majors with 292 strikeouts, is scheduled to start for Houston on Wednesday. Cole allowed four hits and one run while striking out 11 as he pitched a season-high eight innings for the second straight start in a 4-1 win over Kansas City the last time out.