This is going to dent the ol’ run differential. The Astros entered the night having allowed 51 more runs than they have scored, among the worst in baseball along with the Blue Jays and Marlins. The Astros are comfortably in first place in that department after getting pummeled by the Detroit Tigers 17-2 tonight, bumping that run differential to -66.
The Tigers banged out 21 hits, including three home runs (two by Miguel Cabrera), and walked five times, scoring in eight of nine innings. Five of those eight innings were multi-run innings. Astros starter Lucas Harrell was on the hook for eight runs in 4.1 innings, reliever Jose Cisnero allowed six runs in 2.2 innings, and Paul Clemens allowed three runs (two earned) in two innings.
Meanwhile, the Astros were only able to push across one run on a Carlos Corporan solo home run in the seventh. Tigers starter Max Scherzer was otherwise on point all night, allowing three hits in total while striking out eight and walking two in eight innings of work. Al Alburquerque surrendered a run in garbage time in the ninth inning.
Surprisingly, tonight wasn’t even the Astros’ worst game of the season, pitching-wise. They surrendered 19 runs to the Indians on April 19 in a 19-6 loss.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.