Houston 12, Boston 2
When: 7:10 PM ET, Thursday, September 28, 2017
Where: Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts
Joe West, 1B -
Andy Fletcher, 2B -
Hunter Wendelstedt, 3B -
BOSTON -- When last-place Toronto visited Fenway Park earlier this week, Blue Jays pitcher Brett Anderson described the eliminated team's late-season goal succinctly.
Don't let the Boston Red Sox "clinch in your face."
While the Houston Astros may have a similar mindset, they certainly weren't flaunting it.
"I think everybody is just thinking about doing their part to help our team win, and we just want to be playing good baseball going into the postseason," Houston's Alex Bregman said after his team pounded out 17 hits in a 12-2 rout of the Boston Red Sox on Thursday night at Fenway Park.
Boston (92-67) would have clinched its second straight American League East division championship with a win after receiving help in the form of the New York Yankees' 9-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Red Sox, whose magic number to clinch the AL East outright is down to one, clinched at least a share of the division title thanks to the Yankees' loss.
"The Yankees did us a favor," Boston's Xander Bogaerts said. "We're looking forward to tomorrow, coming to the field ready and prepared and looking forward to (winning)."
Boston can lock up the division with either a win against the Astros on Friday or a Yankees loss to the Blue Jays.
Carlos Correa led the Houston hit parade by going 4-for-4, including a two-run home run, his 24th. He drove in three runs as Houston (99-60) won its fourth consecutive game.
Marwin Gonzalez also had three RBIs, Bregman hit his 18th home run, a two-run blast, and Brian McCann clocked a solo shot, his 17th, for the Astros.
Yuli Gurriel and Cameron Maybin drove in one run apiece for Houston.
Mitch Moreland launched his 22nd homer, a solo shot, and Xander Bogaerts drove in a run for the Red Sox, whose lead over the Yankees atop the division is three games with three games to go.
The AL West-champion Astros have outscored their opponents 49-9 during their winning streak, extending their franchise record of consecutive games with 11 or more runs to four.
"This is what we want to be doing. We want to be playing some good baseball going into the postseason, especially against a good team like the Red Sox," Bregman said.
Houston remains one game behind the Indians for the league's top record after Cleveland's 5-2 victory against the Minnesota Twins.
Astros starter Brad Peacock (13-2) turned in a solid five-inning effort, limiting the Red Sox to two runs on four hits with a walk and two strikeouts.
"It felt good to get a decent start against them in, and we did pretty well," Peacock said.
Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez (6-7) matched the shortest start of his career, lasting only 1 2/3 innings while surrendering five runs on six hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
It was a continuation of an alarming trend for the Red Sox's rotation. On Tuesday, ace Chris Sale allowed five runs against the Blue Jays. One day later, Rick Porcello gave up five runs to Toronto as well.
"We just have to keep working on it and keep working on the next games and get ready for seeing who's going to be starting in the postseason and just do the job," Rodriguez said.
McCann's solo bomb came in the sixth and Correa's two-run blast in the seventh put an already out-of-hand game even further out of reach, making it 12-2.
Houston had scored four runs in the fourth to extend its lead to 9-2.
Correa had an RBI ground-rule double, and Gurriel and Maybin slapped RBI singles before Gonzalez trotted home on a passed ball.
Bregman's homer landed in the Green Monster seats in left with two outs in the second inning to push the Astros' lead to 5-0.
Gonzalez plated the game's first three runs with a two-out double six batters into the game.
Boston trimmed the deficit to 5-2 in the second inning after Moreland wrapped a leadoff home run around the right field foul pole and Bogaerts plated a run with a two-out RBI single.
NOTES: Houston RF Josh Reddick (sore back) was not in the lineup but hopes to play Friday. ... Boston RF Mookie Betts returned after missing two games with left wrist inflammation and a right thumb bone bruise. INF/OF Eduardo Nunez (sprained right knee) missed his third straight game. ... The Red Sox teamed with the Boston Celtics, Bruins, New England Patriots and Revolution to launch the "Take The Lead" project Thursday at Fenway Park to combat racism and hate speech. The event featured a panel discussion with former Boston stars Tommy Harper, Andre Tippett, Bob Sweeney and Cedric Maxwell. ... Seventy-six years ago Thursday, Red Sox legend Ted Williams completed his 1941 season with a .406 batting average. No major-leaguer has hit .400 or better in a season since. ... Astros RHP Charlie Morton (13-7, 3.63 ERA) opposes Red Sox RHP Doug Fister (5-8, 4.87) on Friday.
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