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Astros clinch AL West title, Braves tie MLB season homer record


Players of the Houston Astros celebrate their 8-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona, October 1, 2023. /CFP

Players of the Houston Astros celebrate their 8-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona, October 1, 2023. /CFP

Players of the Houston Astros celebrate their 8-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona, October 1, 2023. /CFP

The Houston Astros will advance to the Major League Baseball (MLB) playoffs as the leader of the American League (AL) West thanks to their 8-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Texas Rangers’ 1-0 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Sunday.

Both the Astros and the Rangers are 90-72 after finishing the final game of the regular season, but the Astros beat the Rangers to the AL West title with tiebreaker. It’s the third division title in a row and the sixth in seven years the Astros have won.

“A lot of people wanted to know what it’s like if the Astros didn’t win the division. I guess we’ll never know,” Alex Bregman said. He hit a two-run homer for the Astros in Sunday’s game.

“At the end of the day, we kept it within striking distance and put it together at the end, which makes it very special,” the Astros’ general manager Dana Brown added.

Alex Bregman of the Hosuton Astros hits in the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona, October 1, 2023. /CFP

Alex Bregman of the Hosuton Astros hits in the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona, October 1, 2023. /CFP

Alex Bregman of the Hosuton Astros hits in the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona, October 1, 2023. /CFP

Having spent as many as 159 days in the first place in the AL West, the Rangers lost their position at the end of the season and kissed goodbye to the first-round bye in the playoffs.

“Today’s loss hurts. Definitely a game that we wanted for our home fans, but we’re gonna have to take a different route now to get to our ultimate goal,” the team’s second baseman Marcus Semien said.

“There’s always going to be disappointment because this game (vs. the Mariners) was big. It was huge. And so I’m sure there’s disappointment in there. Once we get on the plane realizing you’re in postseason, and like I said, you get your head back to where it needs to be,” the Rangers’ manager Bruce Bochy added.

Marcell Ozuna of the Atlanta Braves celebrates after hitting a three-run homer during the third inning in the game against the Washington Nationals at Truist Park in Atlanta, Georgia, October 1, 2023. /CFP

Marcell Ozuna of the Atlanta Braves celebrates after hitting a three-run homer during the third inning in the game against the Washington Nationals at Truist Park in Atlanta, Georgia, October 1, 2023. /CFP

Marcell Ozuna of the Atlanta Braves celebrates after hitting a three-run homer during the third inning in the game against the Washington Nationals at Truist Park in Atlanta, Georgia, October 1, 2023. /CFP

Also on Sunday, though the Atlanta Braves lost their season finale 10-9 against the Washington Nationals, the team matched the major league record by hitting a total of 307 home runs in one season. Marcell Ozuna contributed two of them at Truist Park.

The drive Ozuna blew off Kyle Finnegan in the ninth inning marked his 40th homer of the season. He also reached 100 runs batted in (RBIs) for the first time since 2017.

The Braves set a new MLB record of a.501 slugging percentage that beat the Astros’ .495 in 2019.

“It’s been a good year for a lot of us,” major league leader Matt Olson in home runs (57) and RBIs (137) said. “It doesn’t end now. This is when the fun starts.”

Buck Showalter, manager of the New York Mets salutes his players after the 9-1 loss against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field in New York City, October 1, 2023. /CFP

Buck Showalter, manager of the New York Mets salutes his players after the 9-1 loss against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field in New York City, October 1, 2023. /CFP

Buck Showalter, manager of the New York Mets salutes his players after the 9-1 loss against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field in New York City, October 1, 2023. /CFP

Unlike the Astros and the Braves, the New York Mets have nothing to celebrate after the disappointing season of 2023. They missed the playoffs in spite of the MLB’s biggest payroll. After losing to the Philadelphia Phillies 9-1 at home, the team announced the sacking of manager Buck Showalter.

“This is not a reflection on Buck,” Steve Cohen, owner of the Mets, said at the postgame press conference. “Buck did everything we wanted him to do. Obviously, the season was a disappointment, but it’s not Buck’s fault, OK? It’s spread across the organization.”

Showalter became the fourth manager fired by the Mets since 2017. The team won only 74 games under him this season, their worst record since 2013, except the shortened 2020 campaign.

“I understand the responsibility of those things,” Showalter said. “A lot of coaches go in and want their offensive coordinator or defensive coordinator, in football terms. I try not to dwell on stuff like that and live in it. Baseball’s been very fair to me, all things considered.”



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