Astros clinch AL West behind bat of George Springer

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Houston Astros’ George Springer, center celebrates the team’s clinching of the AL West crown with Michael Brantley, left, and Josh Reddick after a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

HOUSTON (KXAN/AP) — The Houston Astros are officially American League West Champions.

Houston defeated the Los Angeles Angels 13-5 Sunday behind the supreme efforts of George Springer to clinch the division ahead of the Oakland Athletics.

This is the third straight AL West pennant for Houston.

With six games left in the regular season, the Astros hold a slim lead over the Yankees for homefield advantage in the American League with a one game lead in the loss column.

Springer hit a career-high three homers for the Houston Astros, all of them in the first four innings against the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.

The MLB record of four home runs in a game has been done 18 times. J.D. Martinez did it most recently for Arizona on Sept. 4, 2017.

In his first chance at tying the mark, Springer popped up with the bases loaded in the fifth. He then grounded out in the seventh.

Springer got to work immediately, sending Jose Rodriguez’s first pitch into left-center field for his franchise-record 12th leadoff homer this season. That left the 2017 World Series MVP one shy of the MLB record for leadoff homers in a season set by Alfonso Soriano with the Yankees in 2003.

The game was tied in the second when Springer connected off Rodriguez again, this time for a two-run shot that put the Astros up 3-1.

There were two outs in the fourth when Springer sent a fastball from José Suárez into the seats in left field to make it 4-2.

It is the 14th time in a regular season game in franchise history that an Astros player has hit three homers and the second time this season after rookie Yordan Alvarez also did it.

The Astros end the regular season on a six-game road trip going to Seattle for two games and to Los Angeles for four games.

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