Astros Clinch AL West Title with 7-1 Win vs. Mariners

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2017

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 17:  Marwin Gonzalez #9 of the Houston Astros receives congratulations from George Springer #4 after hitting a home run in the fifth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park on September 17, 2017 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Houston Astros clinched the first American League West title in franchise history Sunday, per MLB, defeating the Seattle Mariners 7-1.

Justin Verlander was brilliant for the Astros, giving up just one run on three hits while striking out 10 in seven innings. Carlos Correa, Marwin Gonzalez and Derek Fisher added a pair of RBI each to lead the offense.

Barring a meltdown, the Astros should also earn home-field advantage in the divisional round of the postseason. They are battling the Cleveland Indians for the top overall seed in the American League and trailed them by 1.5 games after Sunday's action.

Cleveland joined Houston in clinching its division Sunday, wrapping up the AL Central with a 3-2 win over the Kansas City Royals, per the Associated Press. No team in baseball is hotter than the Indians, who are an incredible 33-5 since Aug. 11.

Houston and Cleveland will justifiably be considered the favorites for the AL pennant and arguably the World Series, though teams like the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees are legitimate contenders as well—not to mention the Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals and defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs of the National League.

It will be the second postseason in the past three years for the Astros, a club that lost 100-plus games each season from 2011 to 2013. But Correa, Gonzalez, Jose Altuve, George Springer and Dallas Keuchel helped form one of the best cores in all of baseball, and Houston will take aim at its first World Series title when the postseason gets underway next month.