Astros magic number 1 for AL playoff spot after win at Texas

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 24: Alex Bregman #2 of the Houston Astros fist bumps Kyle Tucker #30 after a two-run home run against the Texas Rangers in the fifth inning at Globe Life Field on September 24, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 24: Alex Bregman #2 of the Houston Astros fist bumps Kyle Tucker #30 after a two-run home run against the Texas Rangers in the fifth inning at Globe Life Field on September 24, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) (2020 Getty Images)

(AP) – The Houston Astros are on the verge of clinching the American League's last playoff spot, powered by some of their mainstays in a breakout performance that certainly excited manager Dusty Baker.

“I’m just hoping that these guys are about to get hot,” Baker said.

Just in time for the postseason.

George Springer, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Josh Reddick all homered with runners on base, and each finished with three hits, as the Astros trimmed their magic number to one for clinching the American League’s last playoff spot with a 12-4 win over the Texas Rangers on Thursday night.

“I think that’s what we should be doing. We're a very good offense,” said Bregman, who had three extra-base hits. “It's repeating. We've had a few games this year I thought we swung the bat well, but we didn't really repeat it, so now it's time to repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, and keep doing that."

The Astros (29-28) have to win only one of their three remaining games against Texas to secure second place in the AL West, and a spot in baseball’s expanded playoff during the pandemic-shortened season. They also get in if the Angels (26-31) lose any in their final three-game series against the NL-best Dodgers.

Houston’s three-year reign as AL West champion has already been ended by Oakland. Seattle had the day off when the Astros won to eliminate them from the playoff chase.

Bregman, Springer, Altuve and Reddick have been part of the recent playoff runs with the Astros, including their 2017 World Series title and another AL pennant last year.