Astros stay in Wild Card mix with 6-run 6th

Astros stay in Wild Card mix with 6-run 6th

HOUSTON -- The Astros aren't ready to turn the page on 2016 just yet.

George Springer's two-run double with the bases loaded and Marwin Gonzalez's two-run single highlighted a six-run outburst in the sixth inning against Mariners ace Felix Hernandez that continued the Astros' postseason drive in an 8-4 win Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Springer's clutch hit among biggest of career year

Outfielder delivers go-ahead double in Astros' 6-run 6th

Springer's clutch hit among biggest of career year

HOUSTON -- Any time the hits come in bunches -- and when George Springer gets hot, they certainly can come in bunches -- he talks about slowing the game down and trying to get on base at the top of the batting order for the guys hitting behind him.

Springer has been on fire lately and getting on base, but in the sixth inning of Tuesday's 8-4 win over the Mariners at Minute Maid Park, he delivered some clutch RBIs that have been missing from his game recently.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bregman's surprising return sparks big rally

Astros rookie had been out since Sept. 14 with hamstring injury

Bregman's surprising return sparks big rally

HOUSTON -- In a surprising twist to the Astros' come-from-behind, 8-4 win over the Mariners on Tuesday night, Alex Bregman returned to action in the bottom of the sixth and made an immediate impact, hitting a game-tying RBI single off Felix Hernandez in his first Major League appearance as a pinch-hitter.

"That might've been more nerve-wracking than my first at-bat here," Bregman said. "I don't know. It felt weird, but it felt good at the end."

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Tiebreaker scenarios for Wild Card berths

As the 2016 season winds down the six divisions are pretty much decided. However, the two Wild Card races are completely up in the air, and there is a good chance we end up seeing at least one tiebreaker game played on Monday, Oct. 3.

With that in mind, here is a breakdown of the likeliest tiebreaker scenarios for the American and National League Wild Cards.

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Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fister, Paxton meet in high-stakes rubber match

Fister, Paxton meet in high-stakes rubber match

With the postseason still in play for a pair of American League West rivals, the Astros and Mariners seek to take the season series finale at Minute Maid Park on Wednesday afternoon in a critical game for both teams.

After splitting the first two games of the series, Seattle sits two games back of Baltimore for the second AL Wild Card spot with five to play, while the Astros face a 2 1/2-game deficit with four games left. 

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Jordan Ray is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros, fans bid farewell to Tal's Hill after '16

Minute Maid Park to undergo renovation of center-field area

Astros, fans bid farewell to Tal's Hill after '16

HOUSTON -- Tal Smith, the long-time Astros president and general manager who inspired Tal's Hill, will be at Minute Maid Park on Wednesday for the final regular-season game of the incline in center field. The Astros are removing Tal's Hill next season as part of a $15 million renovation of the center-field area to include more fan amenities.

Smith, who helped design the Astrodome in the early years of the franchise and later served as general manager and president of baseball operations, said team president Reid Ryan invited him to the game. It will be only his third appearance at Minute Maid Park since he was let go following the 2011 season. Smith said he also wanted to attend Bill Brown's final game as the Astros' primary television play-by-play voice.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros pay respects to longtime groundskeeper Richardson

Astros pay respects to longtime groundskeeper Richardson

HOUSTON -- The Astros held a moment of silence prior to Tuesday's game with the Mariners in memory of groundskeeper Mike Richardson, who died suddenly Monday night at Minute Maid Park. Fellow groundskeepers wore a black ribbons on their shirts in honor of Richardson.

"It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Michael [Mike] Richardson -- one of our loyal and beloved groundskeepers," the team said in statement. "Mike had been a part of the Astros family for the past 15 seasons. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family members and many friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with them."

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gurriel honors Fernandez, hangs No. 16 jersey

Gurriel honors Fernandez, hangs No. 16 jersey

HOUSTON -- Astros infielder Yulieski Gurriel, a Cuban who was dealing with the sudden death of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, hung an Astros jersey with Fernandez's name and No. 16 in the dugout during Monday's game against the Mariners to honor his fellow countryman.

Gurriel, who knew Fernandez and whose younger brother, Lourdes, played with him, had the jersey hanging in his locker Monday before it was moved to the dugout for the game. Several players touched it on their way to the field.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Altuve shows never-give-up drive after injury

Astros 2B stays in game, sparks late rally to force extras

Altuve shows never-give-up drive after injury

HOUSTON -- Jose Altuve could've given up.

Down one run in the top of the sixth inning of Monday night's 4-3 loss to the Mariners, the All-Star second baseman and MVP candidate could've called it quits after his wrist bent awkwardly into the grass as he dove for a single.

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Jordan Ray is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bregman, Rodgers earn annual Minors honor

Bregman, Rodgers earn annual Minors honor

HOUSTON -- Infielder Alex Bregman and right-handed pitcher Brady Rodgers were named the Astros' Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively, on Monday. The players were set to be recognized in a pregame ceremony prior to Monday's game against Seattle.

Bregman, 22, hit .306 with 22 doubles, 20 homers, 61 RBIs and a .986 OPS in 80 games between Triple-A Fresno and Double-A Corpus Christi before making his Major League debut with the Astros in July. A Double-A Texas League Midseason and Postseason All-Star, Bregman was named MLBPipeline.com Hitter of the Year.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Correa, Altuve spark rally but Astros fall in 11th

Correa, Altuve spark rally but Astros fall in 11th

HOUSTON -- Robinson Cano continued his assault on Astros pitching, edging the Mariners closer in the American League Wild Card chase in the process while pushing Houston closer to elimination.

Cano clubbed two home runs, including a long solo shot down the right-field line off Luke Gregerson in the 11th inning, to send the Mariners to a key, 4-3 win over the Astros in the series opener Monday night at Minute Maid Park.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fernandez's death hits McCullers hard

Fernandez's death hits McCullers hard

HOUSTON -- Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. knew Jose Fernandez about as well as anyone in baseball. They were both star high school pitchers in Tampa, Fla., and quickly befriended each other shortly after Fernandez defected from Cuba, and they eventually became workout partners.

McCullers had even talked with Fernandez just a couple of weeks ago about a possible offseason fishing trip. They were two of the game's young stars on the rise. That's what made Sunday morning's news of the death of Fernandez, the Marlins' ace pitcher, in a Florida boating accident so hard to digest for McCullers, who held back emotions talking about his friend.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Giles avoids injury after being struck by liner

Giles avoids injury after being struck by liner

HOUSTON -- Astros closer Ken Giles was available to pitch Sunday, one day after being struck on the right wrist by a line drive during batting practice prior to a game against the Angels. He was diagnosed with a right wrist contusion after X-rays came back negative.

Giles said Sunday he was relieved the injury wasn't worse, especially considering how he felt in the moments following the mishap. He was on the ground for several minutes and began feeling nauseous before being helped off the field.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Musgrove, HRs carry Astros over Halos

Musgrove, HRs carry Astros over Halos

HOUSTON -- The Astros need a strong finishing kick -- as well as a lot of help -- to reach the playoffs, but they took care of business Sunday afternoon at Minute Maid Park.

Rookie starter Joe Musgrove held the Angels to one run and seven hits without walking a batter in seven innings, and the Astros got solo homers from Evan Gattis, Tony Kemp and Tyler White to snap a three-game losing streak against the Angels with a 4-1 win.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009.

Jordan Ray is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros' hopes dip despite Springer's 4-hit night

Astros' hopes dip despite Springer's 4-hit night

HOUSTON -- Coming off a successful West Coast road trip, the Astros hoped to continue their postseason charge at Minute Maid Park against the Angels, a team they had beaten 11 times in a row. The Angels instead have put a huge dent in Houston's playoff hopes.

The Angels rallied for four runs in the eighth inning against Houston's weary bullpen, tagging reliable right-hander Chris Devenski for three runs, to beat the Astros for the third night in a row, 10-4, at Minute Maid Park.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Jordan Ray is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston and covered the Angels on Saturday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bullpen shows signs of wear against Angels

Houston surrenders 9 runs in final 2 innings after solid start

Bullpen shows signs of wear against Angels

HOUSTON -- Astros manager A.J. Hinch said the game played out exactly like he hoped it would. Starter Brad Peacock gave the Astros five solid innings to get the ball to Chris Devenski, who's been about as dominant as any relief pitcher in the American League.

But for the second night in a row, a bullpen that has endured an increased workload -- with a pitching rotation that's without two of its best arms in Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers -- had a late meltdown in Saturday night's 10-4 loss to the Angels at Minute Maid Park.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Correa playing through shoulder pain

Astros shortstop aggravated injury on diving attempt

Correa playing through shoulder pain

HOUSTON -- With only eight games remaining in the regular season and the Astros left with little margin for error if they're going to reach the postseason, there was no way shortstop Carlos Correa wasn't going to be in the lineup Saturday.

Correa, who aggravated a lingering left shoulder injury in the ninth inning of Friday's loss to the Angels, was in the lineup for Saturday's game. He's been dealing with left shoulder inflammation for a few weeks and playing through pain.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Giles struck on wrist by line drive in BP

Astros' closer out with contusion after X-ray results

HOUSTON -- Astros closer Ken Giles was unavailable to pitch Saturday after being struck on the right wrist by a line drive during batting practice prior to a game against the Angels. He was diagnosed with a right wrist contusion after X-rays came up negative, the team said.

Giles was on the ground for several minutes along the right-field line before being carted off the field. Hinch said moments after Giles was struck he was already starting to bruise and was in pain. The injury comes one day after Giles blew a save against the Angels in a 10-6 loss to that damaged Houston's postseason hopes.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Q&A: Howe reflects on his 7 trips to the postseason

Q&A: Howe reflects on his 7 trips to the postseason

Art Howe came out of the University of Wyoming figuring his dreams of becoming a professional athlete weren't going to come true. He returned home to Pittsburgh, went to work and played baseball in weekend leagues for the fun of it.

Then, at the age of 24, a Pirates scout saw enough of Howe to offer him a contract, and his dream came true.

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Tracy Ringolsby is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros lose lead, game, WC ground

Astros lose lead, game, WC ground

HOUSTON -- Leading, 6-4, in the top of the ninth, Ken Giles and the Astros surrendered six runs, letting the Angels rally for a 10-6 win at Minute Maid Park in a game the Astros needed to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Los Angeles completed the rally behind a massive offensive display that included four hits -- including a two-run homer by Yunel Escobar and a three-run double by Rafael Ortega -- as well as three walks and a stolen base. The Angels have now won three straight -- all against American League West opponents -- and five of their last seven.

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Jordan Ray is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston.

Gene Duffey is a contributor to MLB.com based in Houston and covered the Angels on Friday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

After night of defensive gems, Correa exits hurt

After night of defensive gems, Correa exits hurt

HOUSTON -- Carlos Correa's glovework took center stage for much of Friday night's 10-6 loss to the Angels, but the one play he didn't make -- and the pain that followed -- ended his night early and on a bitter note.

After the Angels stormed back to take a one-run lead in the top of the ninth, Correa attempted to make a diving grab on a bloop double by Rafael Ortega with an exit velocity of 63.6 mph, according to Statcast™, but he barely missed it and instead landed on his shoulder.

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Jordan Ray is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fiers fans 9 in second straight quality start

Fiers fans 9 in second straight quality start

HOUSTON -- It was a night to forget for the postseason-hopeful Astros, who were shut out, 2-0, by the 67-86 Angels Thursday night, but Mike Fiers quietly put together another impressive outing on the mound.

After a rough first inning that saw the right-handed pitcher give up the only runs of the night, Fiers bounced back to retire his next 13 batters. He also notched a season-high nine strikeouts and put together his second consecutive quality start, allowing only four hits and those two runs in 6 1/3 innings.

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Jordan Ray is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros drop in WC race with loss to Angels

Astros drop in WC race with loss to Angels

HOUSTON -- With the Wild Card race as tight as it is, the Astros can't afford many more nights like Thursday's 2-0 loss to the Angels if they want a shot at playing meaningful baseball in October.

Though Astros starter Mike Fiers rebounded from a rough first inning in which he allowed a two-run homer by Albert Pujols that went a Statcast™-projected 358 feet from home plate, his 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball weren't enough to keep Houston from losing, as the Astros' offense couldn't come up with a big hit all night. The Astros couldn't even get a baserunner past second until the eighth inning.

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Jordan Ray is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston and covered the Astros on Thursday.

Richard Dean is a contributor to MLB.com based in Houston and covered the Angels on Thursday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McCullers making progress in injury recovery

Rookie Bregman 'anxious to test his hamstring'

McCullers making progress in injury recovery

HOUSTON -- With the Astros still firmly in the American League Wild Card race, a pair of their young contributors are working back from injuries, hoping to return during the postseason or sooner.

For the first time since exiting with a right elbow sprain during an Aug. 2 loss to the Blue Jays, pitcher Lance McCullers threw a full bullpen session with intensity off the mound Thursday.

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Jordan Ray is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Astros play-by-play man Brown announces retirement

Astros play-by-play man Brown announces retirement

HOUSTON -- It's the end of an era. Longtime Astros play-by-play announcer Bill Brown will retire at the end of the season, he announced Thursday afternoon, ending a legendary career with Houston that spanned 30 years and earned Brown, 69, a spot on the Astros' Media Wall of Honor.

Brown's final scheduled broadcast will be during the Astros' final regular-season home game on Wednesday, when Houston plays Seattle.

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Jordan Ray is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gattis' 2 jacks, wild finish fuel Astros' sweep

Gattis' 2 jacks, wild finish fuel Astros' sweep

OAKLAND -- The Astros were hoping to take advantage of a more favorable schedule down the stretch in their push for the playoffs. So far, so good.

Designated hitter Evan Gattis cranked his 29th and 30th homers of the season, and Collin McHugh won his fifth consecutive decision to send the Astros to a 6-5 win Wednesday afternoon at the Oakland Coliseum to polish off a three-game sweep of the A's.

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Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Statcast tracks Astros' quick work on final out

Gregerson's release, Castro's pop time lead to game-ending caught stealing

Statcast tracks Astros' quick work on final out

As they try to rally for a spot in the postseason, the Astros need players to rise to the occasion in big moments. As Statcast™ helps demonstrate, that's exactly what reliever Luke Gregerson and catcher Jason Castro did to finish off Wednesday's 6-5 win at Oakland, which ultimately brought Houston within one game of Baltimore for the second American League Wild Card berth.

With the Astros clinging to a one-run lead and needing one more out to seal the victory, speedy pinch-runner Arismendy Alcantara broke for second base on Gregerson's 1-1 breaking ball to Ryon Healy. To prevent the potential tying run from reaching scoring position, both Gregerson and Castro needed to be quicker than usual.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Springer speeds home on aggressive move

Dash to plate on infield grounder scores crucial insurance run

Springer speeds home on aggressive move

OAKLAND -- The two homers by Evan Gattis were nice, but outfielder George Springer's mad dash to the plate in the seventh inning of the Astros' 6-5 win over the A's on Wednesday proved to be perhaps the biggest -- and definitely gutsiest -- play of the day.

Springer doubled with one out in the seventh, moved to third on a wild pitch, prompting the A's to bring the infield in. Yulieski Gurriel hit a grounder to shortstop Marcus Semien, who glanced at Springer holding off third and threw to first for an out. Springer, though, took off and slid home safely ahead of the tag of catcher Bruce Maxwell on a play that was upheld after the A's challenged.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.