Grand Springer dinger, Correa HRs lead sweep

September 27th, 2017

ARLINGTON -- The Astros capped off a huge offensive series against the Rangers, getting a grand slam from and two homers from en route to a 12-2 win Wednesday afternoon that polished off a lopsided three-game sweep at Globe Life Park.

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The Astros scored at least 11 runs in three consecutive games for the first time in their history, outscoring the Rangers, 37-7, in the series. The Astros outhit the Rangers, 46-23.

"Pretty impressive the way we swung the bats, the way we played defense, and we pitched well," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "It looked like we had a ton of energy. We were out to win these games, and we did. Just really proud of our effort and proud of our execution. … It was an incredible series."

Springer's fourth career grand slam and Correa's second homer in as many at-bats highlighted a seven-run outburst in the sixth inning that enabled the Astros to take an 11-2 lead. reached 200 hits for the fourth year in a row with a first-inning single.

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"Obviously, the last three days have been extremely challenging," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "We've given up 46 hits in three days, and probably 45 percent of those we were behind in the count. This type of team, the way they've been playing the whole year, that's going to be a challenge for you."

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In his final outing before likely starting Game 1 of the American League Division Series presented by Doosan next week, (15-8) improved to 5-0 with a 1.06 ERA in five starts with the Astros by striking out 11 batters and allowing six hits and two runs -- on solo homers by and -- in six innings.

"I wasn't my best, but these guys made it pretty easy on me scoring that many runs," Verlander said.

The Astros (98-60) set a franchise record with their 50th road win of the season. Their 98 wins are second most in franchise history behind the 1998 team, which won 102 games. Houston went 50-26 against AL West opponents this year.

With the win, the Astros remained a game behind the Indians for the best record in the AL. The Indians beat the Twins, 4-2, on Wednesday night and hold the tiebreaker over the Astros after winning the season series. Thus, the Astros have to finish ahead of the Indians to get the best record and No. 1 seed.

Standings

"This is an important stretch for us," Springer said. "We know we're heading to the playoffs, and to have the whole team top to bottom swinging the bats, I thought the pitching staff again was great. Our pitching staff has been great all year, but great again. It's a good three games for us."

Correa (4-for-5) and hit RBI singles in the first against Texas starter (3-8) for a 2-0 lead. (3-for-5) hit an RBI single in the fourth, and Correa clubbed his 22nd homer of the season in the fifth to put Houston ahead, 4-1. In the seven-run outburst in the sixth, Correa set a career high with his 23rd homer and Springer set a career high with his 85th RBI.

"Today was a tough one. I put myself in a situation where I needed some ground balls, and I got those ground balls early. They found their way through," Martinez said. "I felt great though. I felt great going into it and throughout the game. I felt in control. We stuck to the game plan the whole time, just got some bad breaks here and there. Maybe the last three or four balls were hit well. Other than that, I thought I made some good pitches."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

Altuve notches No. 200: The All-Star second baseman recorded his fourth consecutive 200-hit season by getting a single in the first inning. Prior to Altuve, Craig Biggio (1998) was the only Astros player to get 200 hits in a season. Altuve is the fifth player since integration (1947) with at least four consecutive 200-hit seasons, joining (2001-10), Michael Young (2003-07), Wade Boggs (1983-89) and Kirby Puckett (1986-89).

"We've said over and over again how special he is and how important he is on our team," Hinch said. "It's fun to be a part of. He wants it badly, more so for others than himself. It's cool to be a part of it." More >

One to remember for Calhoun: Calhoun, acquired from the Dodgers in the trade that sent out west, slugged his first career homer in the big leagues when he took Verlander deep in the second inning. Calhoun turned on an 88-mph changeup and sent it on a line 380 feet into the right-field seats, according to Statcast™. Calhoun singled off Verlander in the fourth inning.

"It was pretty cool," Calhoun said. "Obviously, facing one of the better pitchers in the whole MLB, and I was able to put two good swings on it, and I was able to see the ball well."

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QUOTABLE

"It's a hard lineup to navigate, and once the ball gets rolling downhill, it's hard to stop. They can all swing it top to bottom and really sitting innings together, at-bats together, and it makes it really tough on a pitcher." -- Verlander, on the Astros' lineup

"I'll probably give it to my dad, just because he's been there ever since I was a kid. Both parents have been there for me since I was a little kid, and this is probably one of the bigger moments for me in my life." -- Calhoun, on what he planned to do with his home run ball

WHAT'S NEXT

Astros: Right-hander Brad Peacock (12-2, 2.98 ERA) gets the ball in the opener of a four-game series against the Red Sox at 6:10 p.m. CT Thursday at Fenway Park. After beginning the season in the bullpen, Peacock has flourished as a starter, going 9-2 with a 3.21 ERA with 133 strikeouts in 106 2/3 innings.

Rangers: Right-hander (8-12, 4.62 ERA) opens the Rangers' final series of the season Thursday against the A's at 7:05 p.m. CT at Globe Life Park. In four starts since joining the team, he's 1-2 with a 7.16 ERA, but he threw six innings of one-run ball against the A's on Saturday in Oakland.

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