Mandatory Credit: Photo by Chris O’Meara/AP/Shutterstock (13403685p) Houston Astros catcher Christian Vazquez, right, celebrates with manager Dusty Baker Jr. after the Astros clinched the American League West title with a win over the Tampa Bay Rays during a baseball game, in St. Petersburg, Fla Astros Rays Baseball, St. Petersburg, United States – 19 Sep 2022
The Golden Era of Astros baseball continues as the 2022 Astros dominated on the mound and at the plate to win American League West Title for the 5th time in 6 years after beating Tampa 4-0.
The Astros were on a mission once they landed in Tampa Bay and that was to win. Win and they would be crowned the American League West Champions for 2022. Jose Altuve hit a lead-off home run to get the scoring started for the Astros. That was his 32nd of his career and 11th this year, according to Astros beat writer Brian McTaggart.
It turned out to be quite a pitcher’s duel between Luis Garcia and Drew Rasmussen as both pitchers kept men nearly off the basepaths for most of the game. Tampa Bay’s Harold Ramirez was able to double off of Garcia in the fourth inning to put some pressure on the Astros pitcher with only one out, but Garcia bounced back and grounded out David Peralta to get the second out of the fourth inning. Then Luis Garcia proceeded to walk Issac Paredes to put men at the corners but then got Christian Bethancourt to ground out to end the fourth inning.
The Astros offense finally broke through in the sixth inning as reigning AL Player of the Week Yordan Alvarez, facing a 3-2 count with two men on, laced a line drive to right field scoring Jose Altuve and advancing Jeremy Pena to third. Then Alex Bregman drove in Alvarez and Pena to make it 4-0 and give the Astros some extra cushion in the sixth inning. That’s 88 RBI’s for Bregman on the year.
With the Division title in sight, Astros manager Dusty Baker relieved Luis Garcia of his pitching duties after going five scoreless innings, allowing two hits, four walks, and four strikeouts on 86 pitches. It was Garcia’s third scoreless start of the season per Danielle Lerner via Twitter. Hunter Brown took over for Garcia on the mound in the sixth. Brown did his job throwing two strikeouts and forcing a flyout.
Brown continued his dominance on the mound for the Astros with three strikeouts since he took over for Garcia in the sixth inning before handing the ball over to Hector Neris to secure the championship. Neris did just that and now it’s on to October baseball!