Astros Crush Diamondbacks, Capture AL West Crown

The Houston Astros celebrate their third consecutive AL West title after defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks, 8–1.
(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

Astros 8, Diamondbacks 1

PHOENIX, Oct. 1 — A four-run first inning gave the Houston Astros a lead they never relinquished as they defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks, 8–1, Sunday afternoon. Combined with the 1–0 Seattle Mariners victory over the Texas Rangers, the result gave the Astros their third consecutive AL West title and sixth in seven seasons, dating back to 2017.

Astros Score Early and Often on Diamondbacks Relievers

It took two pitches for the Astros to take the lead off left-handed Diamondbacks reliever Kyle Nelson. Second baseman Jose Altuve laced the first pitch of the ballgame into left for a single. Third baseman Alex Bregman clobbered the next pitch into the left-field seats for a two-run home run.

But that wasn’t the end of the first-inning scoring for the defending champions. Nelson struck out right fielder Kyle Tucker before getting the hook, as planned. In came rookie Bryce Jarvis, whom the Astros feasted upon. Designated hitter Yordan Alvarez drew a walk and advanced to second on a single to center by first baseman Jose Abreu.

Astros Capitalize on Miscues

Sloppy defense reared its head when left fielder Michael Brantley, up next, hit a grounder to first. Emmanuel Rivera — playing in place of Christian Walker, who was off Sunday — sailed an errant throw into center field. Instead of a definite force out and possible double play, the Astros had runners on the corners with one out and another run in. After center fielder Chas McCormick struck out, shortstop Jeremy Pena drove in Abreu with a single to right. Up came Martin Maldonado, the ninth Astro to bat in the inning. His fly to left stopped the bleeding, but the Astros held a 4–0 lead.

Astros Put Game Away

Another run came in the top of the second, when Bregman tripled off the wall in center. That set up Tucker for a sacrifice fly to right. The 5–0 lead became 6–0 in the top of the fifth on another play by Tucker. He hit a deep drive to right that Jake McCarthy, charging in hard, overran. It inched over his head and bounced all the way to the fence. McCarthy threw the ball in to cutoff man Jordan Lawlar. Instead of throwing to the cutoff man in the infield, Lawlar started to run the ball in. Tucker ran a few feet past third and forced Lawlar to make a throwing decision. When the rookie shortstop lobbed it in, Tucker ran home for the easy run. It went down as a triple and fielder’s choice, not an inside-the-park home run.

Diamondbacks Avoid Shutout as Astros Clinch Division

It became an 8–0 game in the top of the seventh after a leadoff book-rule double by Tucker and one-out two-run homer from Abreu, who drove in runs in each game of the weekend series.

The Diamondbacks scored a consolation run in the bottom of the eighth. McCarthy lined a two-out single to left-center. After he advanced to second on defensive indifference, left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. plated him with a double to the left-field corner.

Looking Ahead

Cristian Javier (10–5) earned the win after scattering three hits across six scoreless innings, walking two and striking out four. Kyle Nelson (7–4) took the loss.

The Astros (90–72) will have the Wild Card round off and will host the winner of the Minnesota Twins/Toronto Blue Jays series Saturday. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks (84–78) travel to face the NL Central champion Milwaukee Brewers (92–70) on the road in the Wild Card series. The teams begin the best-of-three series Tuesday. Game time is still TBA, as is the starting pitcher for each team.

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Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan is the owner and sole contributor of Thompson Talks, a website discussing the Big Four North American Pro Sports as well as soccer. He also is a credentialed member of the Colorado Rockies press corps. His first and biggest love is baseball.

Evan lives in Gilbert, Arizona and loves history, especially of sports. He is the treasurer for the Hemond Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and also is a USSF and AIA soccer referee. He released his first book, Volume I of A Complete History of the Major League Baseball Playoffs, in October of 2021.

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