Astros Win 100th, Clinch Playoff Birth

Yuli Gurriel got his career high 30th home run Wednesday night.
Yuli Gurriel got his career high 30th home run Wednesday night. Photo by Jack Gorman
In 2013, the Astros finished their third straight season with 100 losses. Only one other team had done that in MLB history. On Wednesday night, they won their 100th game of the season for the third straight year, something only seven other teams have ever accomplished. What a difference a few years can make.

Completing their two-game sweep of the Rangers, their record at Minute Maid Park is 58-20, the best home record in baseball. And speaking of home field advantage, with the Yankees' loss to the Angels, the Astros take a full one-game lead for the best record in baseball. That is, in effect, a two-game cushion because the Astros own the tiebreaker.

As if team records weren't enough, starer Gerrit Cole set quite a few records of his own, continuing to make his case for the AL Cy Young. After Justin Verlander picked up his 19th win on Tuesday, Cole followed with eight innings, two runs and 10 strikeouts. He now has 300 strikeouts for the season — the first player since 1999 to do that and only 11 shy of the club record — in 200 innings. That's 18 wins (still two starts remaining) and 19 games with double-digit strikeouts as well.

And then there's Roberto Osuna, who picked up his 35th save of the season one night after becoming the youngest player in MLB history to record his 150th save. And Yuli Gurriel hit his 30th home run of the season. He had 31 total over the last two seasons.

With only nine games remaining — seven against the Angels and two against the Mariners — they are likely to break the team record for wins in a season, 103, set last season.

Records are falling all over the place for this team.

Most importantly, the win leaves them with a magic number of two to clinch another AL West title. Given the remaining schedule, they should get that fairly quickly. And with guys like Carlos Correa, Brad Peacock and Ryan Pressly either back or on the way, this is a team that is clearly locked and loaded for the postseason.

It feels like a lifetime ago when they lost 100 games three straight years. At least now it feels worth it.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke