Astros capture first division title since 2001

James Paxton returns to the rotation tonight for the Seattle Mariners. MANDATORY CREDIT – Joe Nicholson

Before making his first appearance since August 10, Paxton had surrendered just one earned run over 20 innings against the Astros this season.

The Houston Astros have waited a long time for this.

The Houston Astros are on the verge of closing out the AL West.

Andrew Moore scattered seven hits and gave up three runs in 4 1/3 innings. The lefty threw 50 pitches in his first start since August 10 and fell to 12-4 on the season with a 2.98 ERA.

Recently acquired starter Justin Verlander had a great home debut, throwing seven innings of one run ball while striking out ten and walking just one.

Carlos Correa and Evan Gattis had two hits apiece to help Houston beat James Paxton and the Seattle Mariners 5-2 on Friday night, dropping its magic number to two.

George Springer and Josh Reddick had two hits and two RBIs apiece for the Astros, who have won three in a row. It tied the shortest start of his career and was his first loss since June 27. The 27-year-old is 1-1 with a 2.45 ERA over his last six starts, allowing fewer than three runs five times during the stretch.

He got out of a jam in the third inning, when the Pirates had runners at second and third with no outs, and cruised from there. Not that Astros manager A.J. Hinch is anxious.

That win kept the M's 3.5 games behind Minnesota for the second wildcard spot in the American League.

Woodruff (2-2) went six innings, limiting Miami to three runs on eight hits and didn't walk a batter. Houston left no doubt as to which team would win the West with that start.

"We knew we were going to have to keep it close because we probably weren't going to get a lot off Verlander", Servais said.

The Astros have an off-day Monday before hosting the Chicago White Sox at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday.

With the tying run on base, Musgrove recorded a pair of strikeouts before getting Seattle catcher Carlos Ruiz to pop out to shortstop Carlos Correa.

Beyond a division crown, the Astros are still battling the Indians for home-field advantage through the AL playoffs, and now trail the Indians - who clinched the AL Central on Saturday - by 1 1/2 games.

Ubaldo Jimenez struck out 10 in five innings, and Tim Beckham hit a long three-run homer as Baltimore salvaged one victory in the series against NY.

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