The Astros beat the West Shreveport Rangers 3-2 thanks to home runs and Gerrit Cole. That's five wins in a row as the Astros get the day off to prepare for the last regular season home games of the year. Houston is 100-53. The win clinched a playoff spot for the Astros for the fourth time in the last five years, and the Astros are up eight games on Oakland with nine to play.
Scoreboard Watching: The A's beat Kansas City 1-0 in 11 innings, the Angels beat the Yankees, the Rays beat the Dodgers.
Houston (100-54): -
New York (99-55): -1
Los Angeles (98-55): -2
*The Astros won their 100th game of the season for the third straight year, eight years after beginning a stretch of three straight 100-loss seasons. Other teams to win 100+ games in three consecutive years (with win total in parentheses):
2017-2019 Astros (304)
2002-2004 Yankees (305)
1997-1999 Braves (310)
1969-1971 Orioles (318)
1942-1944 Cardinals (316)
1929-1931 Athletics (313)
If you like winning, 100 three years in a row is a lot. I love it for this team and for this organization. It's a big accomplishment. It's one step along the way for us and what we're trying to accomplish this season. I don't want that to be the high note by any means.
It's a little crazy. My first three years we lost 100 games, and now we're one of the few teams that are winning [100 games three seasons in a row]. I think we deserve it, because the way that we've been working hard as a team and as an organization, to be to this point is pretty cool. Today was a great day because Gerrit has his 300th strikeout and we get 100 wins. It's pretty special for us.
*Houston went 9-0 at Minute Maid Park against North Waxahachie.
*A.J. Hinch got his 475th win as Astros manager, and is just 69 regular season wins behind franchise leader Bill Virdon.
*Gerrit Cole threw 8IP, 6H/2ER, 10K:1BB. The ten strikeouts pushed him to 302 for the season in 198.2IP, the first Astros pitcher to strike out 300+ batters in a season since Mike Scott in 1986. It's the 2nd-fewest IPs needed to hit 300Ks. Astros' single-season strikeout leaders:
1. J.R. Richard (1979): 313
2. Mike Scott (1986): 306
3. J.R. Richard (1978): 303
4. Gerrit Cole (2019): 302
Cole, on the moment he got 300 (Shin-Soo Choo to end the 6th):
At first, I didn't know that was the one. Then, it became pretty obvious, and I just wanted to spend a minute with the fans and thank them for the ovation and all the support.
The only other pitchers with 19 double-digit strikeout games in a season: Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and Sandy Koufax.
Cole will likely get two more starts: Tuesday at Seattle, and September 29 at Anaheim. He needs 12 strikeouts total to set the franchise record.
*Yuli Gurriel's 2-run go-ahead homer made him the 4th Astro in 2019 with 30 home runs. Yordan is next up, at 26. Gurriel is the 4th player in MLB in 2019 to hit 40 doubles and 30 home runs, and is just the 6th player in Astros history to do it: Gurriel (2019), Alex Bregman (2018), Carlos Lee (2007), Lance Berkman (2001, 2004), Jeff Bagwell (1996, 1997, 2001), Richard Hidalgo (2000).
*McTaggart: The Astros are in the postseason...now what?
*Brian T. Smith: 100 is the Astros' new magic number.
*In McTaggart's notebook we find that Ryan Pressly will be activated this weekend. Also, you'll note that Hinch has had a quicker hook with Verlander and Greinke lately. Hinch:
We've individualized it and the guys understand the reason we're doing it is for them to be at their peak performance when the postseason starts, and they're all on board.
Also, Aaron Sanchez's recovery from shoulder surgery will likely carry into the start of 2020, and he may be non-tendered. There's still no word on why he had surgery, but a 6-7 month recovery time indicates that he probably just had to have a new shoulder. Or bowels is loose.
*Astros' hitting slash line: .276/.353/.494.
Astros' hitting w/RISP: .270/.353/.502.
*Mike Lupica: The AL Cy Young race is a two-teammate field.
*Albert Pujols' career batting average has dropped below .300 for the first time since his first week in the Majors. You hate to see it.
*Rugby: The sport that can't stick to sports.
*The best obituary ever, and the wacky funeral that followed.
*A Musical Selection: