We entered the bottom of the ninth with the American League poised to win this thing. Edwin Diaz of the Mariners was on the hill, three outs away from a save. He didn’t save it.
After striking out Trevor Story Diaz walked J.T. Realmuto and then gave up a homer to Scooter Gennett of the Reds. This one went out to right field for a change. The home run broke a record: it was the seventh in the All-Star Game, breaking the record set back in 1971. Diaz retired Euenio Suarez and Jesus Aguilar after that, and on we go to extra innings.
Jean Segura has to be mad at his teammate for taking away his All-Star Game MVP, right? Everyone else has to be mad that they’re playing extra innings in an exhibition game. But this is the life they have chosen, so on we go into the night.
For the third consecutive season, the Astros are AL West champions. The ‘stros clinched the division on Sunday afternoon with a convincing 13-5 win over the Angels. They were backed by three homers from leadoff man George Springer and individual homers from Alex Bregman and Aledmys Díaz.
Springer has the 22nd three-homer game in baseball this season. He’s the first Astro to hit three homers in a game since Yordan Álvarez last month, on August 10.
Justin Verlander lasted five innings in Sunday’s start, yielding two runs on six hits and a pair of walks with five strikeouts. The right-hander is arguably the frontrunner for the AL Cy Young Award, now 20-6 with a 2.53 ERA and a 288/42 K/BB ratio in 217 innings on the year. Verlander is 12 strikeouts shy of the 300-strikeout milestone and six strikeouts short of 3,000 for his career. If the Astros stay on schedule, Verlander would pitch the second-to-last game of the regular season against the Angels.
Sunday’s win marked No. 102 on the season for the Astros. The franchise record is 103 wins set last year. With six games remaining, it seems likely the Astros will set a new record.
The Astros and Yankees both won on Sunday, meaning the Astros remain a half-game ahead in the race for home field advantage. The No. 1 seed will also have the privilege of playing the Wild Card winner, which is down to the Athletics, Rays, and Indians.