Six Relievers Support Keuchel
Magic Number Shrinks Again

Yuli smiles with brother
(c) The Canadian Press via AP
The Texas Gulf Coast may be encountering unseasonably cool fall-like weather for late September but there's nothing like being North of the Border in the 68-degree chill of the Rogres Centre (aka "The Raj") on a Monday night as the Road Warriors take that last regular-season voyage in search of a second consecutive A.L. West title.

Behind back-to-back solo blasts from Brian McCann and Josh Reddick, the Astros built a 4-0 lead for Dallas Keuchel then held on for a 5-3 victory over the Blue Jays to drop the magic number for the division crown to two. Oakland is currently leading Seattle as this is being typed.

Win number 99 started with an RBI single by Yuli Gurriel, driving home George Springer. Then the Champs lit up Marco Estrada with a pair of solo shot's in the second. McCann's (his sixth) flew into the back of the second deck in right field. Reddick's (his 16th) was a liner that ducked over the right field fence just inside the foul pole. Alex Bregman doubled home Jose Altuve in the third for a 4-0 lead. So far, so good.

But the Jaybirds responded. Kevin Pillar spanked a two-run shot in the fourth off Keuchel then an RBI single in the fifth by Yangervis Solarte gut the lead to one. Keuchel had to strike out Pillar with the bases full to keep the lead.

That would turn out to be DK's last trick of the night. The lefty pitched around seven hits and three walks to last five innings. Next came a parade of six relievers to get the final 12 outs, concluding with ex-Jay Roberto Osuna who collected save number 19. Meanwhile, an RBI single by Altuve gave the closer an insurance run to work with.

Carlos Correa was held out again and is said to be out for Tuesday as well. Charlie Morton is staying in Houston to have his right shoulder evaluated and help his wife deliver a baby. Meanwhile, righthander Lance McCullers was activated from the Disabled List and lefthander "Everybody Loves" Reymin Guduan was called up from AAA.

Impressive Josh James (1-0) will get the start Tuesday night for Houston in a 6:07 p.m. Central time affair against righthander Sam Gaviglio (3-8). Keep those goggles ready, boys, the champagne is chilled and I expect there'll be a celebration in Hockeytown soon.

- Bob Hulsey