BALTIMORE -- Astros manager AJ Hinch gathered his team for a brief celebration following Saturday's 5-2 win over the Orioles in Game 2 of a doubleheader at Camden Yards, congratulating the players for keeping their foot on the gas and setting a club record with their 103rd win of the
BALTIMORE -- Astros manager AJ Hinch gathered his team for a brief celebration following Saturday's 5-2 win over the Orioles in Game 2 of a doubleheader at Camden Yards, congratulating the players for keeping their foot on the gas and setting a club record with their 103rd win of the season.
Coming off their first World Series championship, the Astros plowed through their schedule in business-like manner and are performing at a high level heading into the playoffs. They eclipsed the previous club record of 102 wins set by the 1998 team that won the National League Central.
"We took a moment because it's a great accomplishment and we should be proud," Hinch said. "We have a chance tomorrow to extend it one more game. It's hard to do that and our guys were happy. We did want to be in the record books, and the most wins in franchise history is a big deal. Hats off to this team, to the organization, [general manager] Jeff [Luhnow], the coaches and players. A lot of people contributed, and it's a really cool season."
The Astros used home runs from Myles Straw, Brian McCann and Jake Marisnick to sweep the doubleheader with a win in Game 2 and improve to 103-58 heading into Sunday's regular-season finale against the 115-loss Orioles. The Astros are 21-5 in September and 57-23 on the road, which is the second-best road record in the Majors since 1961.
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"It means a lot for everybody in this clubhouse," All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve said of the wins record. "When you talk about franchise record, it's a team effort. It's not just one or two players involved. … I feel proud and I want to congratulate AJ, my teammates, the coaches, front office, the owner, everybody. The fans are a big part of this. It's crazy we did back-to-back 100 wins when a couple of years ago we did back-to-back-to-back 100 losses. It's a special day for us."
Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel worked three innings and gave up one run, and five relief pitchers pieced together the final six innings. Keuchel finished the season with a 12-11 record and a 3.74 ERA while throwing 204 2/3 innings in 34 starts. He's the 15th pitcher in franchise history to log three seasons at least 200 innings (fourth lefty).
"To be able to start this game was pretty special to know we had a chance for the franchise-record single season in wins," Keuchel said. "It's been pretty special for me here the last three or four years, turning the corner with the franchise and getting a heck of a lot better. This is definitely something I'll cherish for a very long time."
Straw, a speedy rookie who got his first Major League hit on Wednesday in Toronto, homered to right-center field in the first inning for the first home run and RBI of his career. The Astros took a 2-1 lead in the fourth when Marisnick drew a bases-loaded walk, and McCann's 270th career homer made it 3-1 in the sixth inning. Marisnick cranked a two-run homer in the eighth.
"That was probably the quickest I've ever gotten around the bases," Straw said. "They got the ball, and it was awesome to get it this early."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
In his second appearance since coming off the disabled list last week, right-hander Lance McCullers was thrown into a bases-loaded situation in the seventh and allowed a run to score from third base on a wild pitch. But it was another good showing for McCullers, who could be used in relief in the playoffs. He threw only seven pitches, but hit 96-mph with his only fastball. Hinch said he's convinced the former starter is healthy and could still face a batter Sunday.
"I did want him to have to inherit something," Hinch said. "That wasn't the perfect situation, but we wanted him to have a little bit of leverage. It worked out perfectly. The one spike breaking ball has the run scored. He gets the tag down he probably doesn't score then, but he looked really good. A little extra adrenaline, his velocity was pretty high, his breaking ball was really good. Probably couldn't ask for a better test as game situations go."
The Astros have gone 17-2 against the Orioles since the beginning of 2016.
HE SAID IT
"We didn't have him in the pool of expectation to get a homer, but pretty cool moment for him." -- Hinch, on Straw, who homered in his eighth Major League at-bat. He has three homers in 1,554 career Minor League at-bats.
Right-hander Charlie Morton (15-3, 3.18 ERA) starts the Astros' regular-season finale at 2:05 p.m. CT Sunday against the Orioles at Camden Yards. This will be Morton's fourth start since a sore shoulder sent him to the DL and his first since he lasted only one inning a week ago against the Angels. Jimmy Yacabonis (0-2, 6.00 ERA) will start for the Orioles.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.