Valdez fans 10 as Astros beat Phillies 3-2 in finale

Oct 5, 2022, 4:11 AM | Updated: 5:16 pm
Houston Astros starting pitcher Framber Valdez is congratulated in the dugout after pitching the fi...

Houston Astros starting pitcher Framber Valdez is congratulated in the dugout after pitching the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

              Philadelphia Phillies' Nick Maton watches his single off his brother, Houston Astros relief pitcher Phil Maton, as catcher Christian Vazquez watches during the eighth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
            
              Houston Astros relief pitcher Phil Maton looks toward first base after giving up a single to his brother, Philadelphia Phillies Nick Maton, during the eighth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
            
              Houston Astros' Christian Vazquez (9) celebrates after hitting a home run as Philadelphia Phillies catcher Garrett Stubbs stands behind home plate during the seventh inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
            
              Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Bailey Falter throws against the Houston Astros during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
            
              Houston Astros starting pitcher Framber Valdez throws against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
            
              Houston Astros relief pitcher Ryne Stanek, right, is hugged by Trey Mancini (26) after pitching against the Philadelphia Phillies during the seventh inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
            
              Houston Astros starting pitcher Framber Valdez is congratulated in the dugout after pitching the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

HOUSTON (AP) — Another strong start by Framber Valdez allowed the Houston Astros to end the regular season with the two winningest pitchers in the American League.

Valdez struck out 10 in five shutout innings to lead the Astros to 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies in the regular-season finale Wednesday.

Christian Vazquez hit a solo homer and Chas McCormick and Yordan Alvarez drove in runs early to help Houston to its fourth victory in five games.

It was the career-best 17th win for Valdez (17-6), which ranks second in the American League behind teammate Justin Verlander’s 18.

“(Valdez) only had probably a couple of bad starts all year long,” manager Dusty Baker said. “He was consistent as almost anybody in the league. And for him to win 17 for J.V. to win 18, that’s a pretty good 1-2 punch.”

Valdez allowed just two singles and walked one as he surpassed 200 innings pitched for the first time in his five-year career.

Mauricio Dubon doubled to start Houston’s third before scoring on a one-out double by McCormick to make it 1-0. There were two outs in the inning when Alvarez lined a single to left field to send McCormick home and leave Houston up 2-0.

Vazquez homered with two outs in the seventh to extend the lead to 3-0.

Brandon Marsh hit and RBI double with one out in the seventh and the Phillies cut the lead to one on a sacrifice fly by Rhys Hoskins. However, Rafael Montero retired Darick Hall to end the inning.

Closer Ryan Pressly pitched a scoreless ninth for his 33rd save.

The Astros, who won the AL West and clinched home-field advantage through the World Series, finished 106-56 for the second-best record in franchise history after going 95-67 last season and falling to the Braves in six games in the World Series. They came one win shy of the most wins in team history, earned by the 2019 team.

Baker was asked to look ahead to the postseason.

“I’m confident,” he said. “But we’ve got some tough, tough teams and tough work and we put ourselves in a position with home-field advantage to have the best odds that you can have.”

The NL wild card Phillies end the season 87-75 — a five-win improvement from last year — and are in the playoffs for the first time in 11 years.

Valdez wrapped up a strong season with his solid start Wednesday. He had 25 straight quality starts from April 25-Sept. 18 to set the MLB record for most consecutive in a single season. His 31 starts were a career-high and his 2.82 ERA ranks second-lowest of his career and sixth in the AL.

Houston’s Ryne Stanek pitched a perfect seventh to lower his ERA to 1.16 to finish the season with the lowest by a reliever in franchise history. He eclipses Will Harris, who had a 1.50 ERA in 2019.

“This year a lot of things obviously went right,” Stanek said. “I feel like I threw the ball pretty good and and I mean obviously had a little bit of fortune on my side. So it feels pretty nice.”

Phillies starter Bailey Falter yielded two hits in one inning before he was lifted for Michael Plassmeyer (0-1). He allowed three runs and nine hits with six strikeouts in six innings.

The Astros had a crowd of 32,432 Wednesday to give them a season attendance of 2,698,998, down from the 2,857,367 fans they welcomed in the season before the pandemic in 2019.

BROTHERLY LOVE

Houston reliever Phil Maton faced his younger brother Nick Maton for the first time in the eighth inning. The brothers smiled at one another as Nick entered the box before getting down to business.

Both teams were very engaged in the family showdown with most the players hanging on the railing in the dugouts to watch.

“I kind of just wanted to treat it as another at-bat,” Nick said. “Once I got up there, it definitely wasn’t like that. It felt like we were in the backyard. Just seeing him out there was pretty fun.”

The little brother won matchup, hitting a single to right field on a 2-2 count. Phil shook his head after seeing the ball sail by and Nick smiled sheepishly as he reached first base.

“It was kind of hard to keep it together,” Phil said. “But it’s a really cool experience. And he won this one.”

Players in Philadelphia’s dugout raised their arms and cheered as Nick made contact and some Astros hung their heads after seeing the hit drop in the outfield.

Sadly, their mother Ellen Maton wasn’t there to see the long-awaited moment. She attended the game but had to leave early to catch a flight.

LIGHTS OUT

The lights in Minute Maid Park went out briefly in the second inning. Players and the umpires looked around darkened stadium wondering what was going on for a minute or so before they flickered back on, and play resumed.

UP NEXT

Phillies: Open their wild-card series at St. Louis Friday in their first playoff game since Oct. 7, 2011.

Astros: Will face the winner of the Toronto-Seattle wild-card series starting Tuesday in Houston.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Troy Stecher, left, taunts Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras after Zebr...
Associated Press

Zegras scores in OT, Ducks beat Coyotes for 3rd win a row

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Trevor Zegras scored at 3:34 of overtime and the Anaheim Ducks beat the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 on Saturday night for their first three-game winning streak of the season. John Klingberg stole the puck from Matias Maccelli in the offensive zone and found Zegras in the slot for a wrist shot for […]
1 day ago
Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid (97) and Cody Ceci (5) celebrate a goal against the Chicago Blackha...
Associated Press

Oilers head into All-Star break with win over Blackhawks

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Tyson Barrie scored twice, Connor McDavid had his NHL-best 41st goal and the Edmonton Oilers headed into their All-Star break with a 7-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night. McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Zach Hyman each had a goal and two assists, and Evander Kane and Ryan McLeod also […]
1 day ago
Seattle Kraken center Ryan Donato, rear, watches as the puck rests behind Columbus Blue Jackets goa...
Associated Press

Wennberg scores against former team, Kraken top Blue Jackets

SEATTLE (AP) — Alex Wennberg scored midway through the second period against his former team to help the Seattle Kraken beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1 on Saturday night. Wennberg, who was drafted by the Blue Jackets in the first round in 2013, had his 10th goal of the season in his 600th career game. […]
1 day ago
Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam drives to the basket past Portland Trail Blazers forward Jera...
Associated Press

Achiuwa leads Raptors to 123-105 win over Trail Blazers

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Precious Achiuwa scored 27 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in place of the injured OG Anunoby to lead the Toronto Raptors to a 123-105 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night. Pascal Siakam scored 24 points and Gary Trent Jr. added 19 against his former team for the Raptors, […]
1 day ago
Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (1) watches as the puck gets past him on a goal as M...
Associated Press

Gaudreau secures shootout win as Wild beat Buffalo 3-2

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Mats Zuccarello, Kirill Kaprizov and Freddy Gaudreau scored in the shootout, lifting the Minnesota Wild past the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 on Saturday night. Joel Eriksson Ek and Jared Spurgeon had goals in regulation for Minnesota, which headed into its All-Star break with two wins in a row. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped […]
1 day ago
Boston Celtics' Jaylen Brown (7) fouls Los Angeles Lakers' Thomas Bryant (31) during the first half...
Associated Press

Brown forces OT, Celtics snap skid by beating LA 125-121

BOSTON (AP) — Lakers guard Patrick Beverly grabbed a courtside camera in an effort to show referee Eric Lewis what everyone who’d watched the replay already knew: LeBron James was fouled on his missed layup at the end of regulation. Instead of getting the call, Beverly drew a technical foul that gave Boston the lead […]
1 day ago
Valdez fans 10 as Astros beat Phillies 3-2 in finale