By DICK SCANLON
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Houston Astros clinched their fifth AL West title in six years, getting a leadoff home run from Jose Altuve in a 4-0 victory over the Tampa Bays on Monday night.
Headed to the postseason for the sixth straight season, Houston won for the eighth time in nine games and improved the AL’s best record to 97-51.
Luis Garcia (13-8) won his fifth straight decision, giving up two hits and four walks in five innings while striking out four. Hunter Brown pitched three innings and Héctor Neris finished the five-hitter, the Astros 16th shutout this season.
Tampa Bay (82-65) is in position for the second of three AL wild card berths, one game behind Toronto (83-64) and a half-game ahead of Seattle (81-65).
After the three-game series that ends Wednesday, the Rays host the Blue Jays in a four-game series.
José Ramírez had three of the Rays’ five hits.
Drew Rasmussen (10-6) gave up four runs and six hits in six innings. He has allowed four runs in consecutive starts and giving up three runs or fewer during 11 in a row.
Altuve’ hit his 25th homer on the fifth pitch of the game, his 11th leadoff homer this season and 32nd of his career.
Altuve singled leading off the sixth, Jeremy Peña walked and Yordan Alvarez hit an RBI single. Alex Bregman followed with a broken-bat, two-run double.
Rays: RHP Tyler Glasnow (Tommy John surgery) is to make his fourth rehab start Friday for Triple-A Durham. He retired all six batters he faced Sunday night and struck out four.
All-Star LHP Shane McClanahan (12-5, 2.13) will pitch for the Rays on Tuesday night against RHP Cristian Javier (9-9, 2.87), who has won three straight starts.
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