Houston 4, Boston 3
When: 3:05 PM ET, Sunday, October 1, 2017
Where: Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts
Alan Porter, 1B -
Joe West, 2B -
Andy Fletcher, 3B -
BOSTON -- With little at stake for either team in the season finale, the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox rested most of their regulars in a 4-3 Astros' win Sunday at Fenway Park.
Boston wrapped up the American League East Division title on Saturday and, because of the tiebreaker, Houston had no shot at the best record in the AL.
The two teams will face each other in the AL Division Series starting Thursday in Houston.
"It was an incredible regular season for us," said Houston manager A.J. Hinch. "Obviously, we switch gears to the postseason now, but there will be a reflection back on a spectacular regular season. Even with the lull we had in August, to come out of it with 101 wins, a division championship for the city of Houston and our fan base, it was a great run in the regular season."
Red Sox manager John Farrell indicated that there was a little bit less pressure than normal on Sunday.
"As you can tell by the lineup, we had planned to give a number of guys a day off after we did clinch," Farrell said. "But you're still looking to evaluate all the way through the final out that's recorded. And some of that goes into how we'll construct this bullpen, how we'll construct our pitching staff. But while it might have been a little bit more relaxing, still you're going out to compete and look to win a ballgame."
The Red Sox weren't able to do that Sunday, but now their focus is on their next games.
"I don't think I'm thinking too much on it and I don't want to have any extra pressure," said right fielder Mookie Betts of moving on to the postseason. "Just want to go out and have fun the same way we did during the year.
"Any time you can get an opportunity to play in the postseason, you got to take advantage of it. Some people play years and years and never make it. So to be able to make it once and now twice, it's pretty special."
Houston started second baseman Jose Altuve, first baseman Yuli Gurriel, designated hitter Carlos Beltran and shortstop Marwin Gonzalez. Boston started third baseman Rafael Devers, center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., and catcher Sandy Leon, while catcher Christian Vazquez served as the DH for just the second time this season.
The Red Sox scored three runs on four hits, a walk and a passed ball off Houston starter Collin McHugh in the fourth inning. But that was all the offense they could muster.
The Astros came back with four runs off three Red Sox pitchers in the seventh inning. Fernando Abad took the loss, falling to 2-1 with a 3.30 ERA this season.
"This is the first time I won a batting title and the team is going to the playoffs," said Altuve, who hit .346 to win his third batting title in the last four seasons. "I'm just trying to do everything I can to help this team and right now, starting from tomorrow, everybody is going to go to zero wins, zero losses, your average is zero. I'm going to do the same thing to help my team win."
McHugh earned the win, improving his record to 5-2 with a 3.55 ERA. He has not lost in September or October since 2013. McHugh is 16-0 in September and October since 2014.
Tyler Clippard got the save, his fifth of the season and second with Houston.
NOTES: Houston Astros RF Josh Reddick did not play in the four-game series. He had returned to Houston to have his ailing back examined. He is expected to work out with the team on Tuesday and be available for the AL Division Series against the Boston Red Sox. ... Houston 2B Jose Altuve ended the regular season batting a career- and major league-best .346. He is just the third right-handed hitter in AL history (since 1900) to win three or more batting titles. The AL record for right-handed hitters is four titles, shared by Harry Heilman (1921, 1923, 1925, 1927) and Miguel Cabrera (2011-13, 2015). ... Astros RHP Justin Verlander went 5-0 with a 1.06 ERA since being acquired on Aug. 31. He recorded 43 strikeouts in 34 innings pitched, allowing just 17 hits for a .149 opponents' average. ... Boston Red Sox INF Eduardo Nunez has been sidelined by a right knee injury but manager John Farrell expects him to be available for the ALDS starting Thursday. ... Boston LHP David Price has not allowed a run in five appearances, all out of the bullpen, since returning from the disabled list on Sept. 14. He has pitched 8 2/3 innings in that span, giving up three hits, with two walks and 13 strikeouts for an opponents' average of .100. ... Red Sox SS Xander Bogaerts hit .324 with a .442 on-base percentage and 19 runs scored in his last 18 games of the season. He ended the season with a nine-game hitting streak.
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