Astros play Blue Jays with sights set on club record for wins

TORONTO — The Houston Astros have a club record for wins within sight as they move closer to clinching the American League West.

After taking the first two games of a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays, including a 4-1 victory Tuesday night, the 2017 World Series champions have won 100 games in a season for the second straight season and the third time in franchise history.

“That’s a lot of wins. I’m proud of this team and we’re not done yet,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “It’s hard to win in this league in general when everybody expects you to and there’s such a small margin for error where there’s a reaction every time you don’t win. So, to be at a 100 and climbing is remarkable for this team.”

The club record is 102 wins set in 1998.

The victory on Tuesday was the Astros 54th on the road this season, also a club record.

The Astros entered Tuesday with a 4 1/2-game lead over the Oakland Athletics in the division.

The Astros (100-57) will start right-hander Chris Devenski (2-2, 4.12 ERA) in the series finale Wednesday afternoon. The Blue Jays (71-87) will counter with right-hander Sean Reid-Foley (2-4, 5.40).

Reid-Foley could pitch only two or three innings — he’s already thrown 159 2/3 innings, including his minor-league season. In four starts in September, he is 2-2 with a 3.92 ERA.

He has never faced the Astros.

Devenski has made 47 relief appearances and no starts this season. In five career starts, he is 1-2 with a 4.01 ERA. In four relief appearances against Toronto he is 0-0 with a 5.14, including one scoreless inning this season.

Both teams seem prepared to empty the bullpens.

Blue Jays shortstop Lourdes Gurriel Jr. did not play Tuesday and will sit out the rest of the season because of a strained hamstring. He left the game Monday after grounding into a double play in the first inning.

His brother, Astros infielder Yuli Gurriel, was 2-for-4 to extend his hit streak to 11 games in which he is batting .444 (20-for-44). The series was the first time they had played against each other in the majors and it lasted only the one inning.

The Blue Jays also announced that right-hander Aaron Sanchez had surgery on his injured right index finger on Tuesday.

Sanchez has been limited by finger injuries the past two seasons after winning the American League ERA title in 2016. Last season, it was a blister problem and this season the finger got caught in his suitcase in June.

“Hopefully this clears it all up, because he’s important to this team,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “He was on top of the world a couple years ago and he’s been knocked down. That’s a big part of the frustration; he hasn’t been able to do much the last two years.”

The Astros were again without shortstop Carlos Correa, who is resting lingering back and oblique issues. He could return to the lineup Wednesday as designated hitter.

Correa was on the disabled list from June 26-Aug. 10 with a sore back. He is batting .174 with four extra-base hits in 121 at-bats since being activated from the DL.

He has missed the past five games.

“It’s a lot more comfortable,” Correa said Tuesday. “It felt good enough for me to go out there and play tomorrow and try to get these last two series for me to get some at-bats before going to the postseason.”

Correa said the final five games will help prepare him for the playoffs.

“It’s something that never goes away, I feel like,” Correa said. “I’m looking forward to helping the team in the postseason and getting my rest in the offseason.”

The Astros lead the season series with the Blue Jays 4-1.

The series finale will be the final home game of the season for the Blue Jays and could be the final home game for Gibbons as manager.