ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Carlos Correa and the Houston Astros are closing in on another AL West title after dominating their last-place Texas rival again.
Manager Dusty Baker just isn’t sure how much his club is paying attention to the standings.
Correa triggered a seven-run fourth inning with a three-run homer, replacement starter Luis Garcia took a shutout into the sixth, and the Astros beat the Texas Rangers 12-1 on Thursday night.
The division-leading Astros stayed seven games in front of Oakland with 16 games remaining. They took three of four in their final series with the last-place Rangers.
Houston is headed home for three against Arizona, which has the worst record in the National League. The magic number for the 2017 World Series champs to clinch a fourth division title in the past five seasons is 10.
“I haven’t heard anybody discuss that or talk about it at all,” Baker said. “We’re just going out there and playing ball. Whatever that number is, you’re just trying to win and finish strong.”
Alex Bregman had the first of his pair of two-run singles during Houston’s big fourth. Yordan Alvarez lined an RBI double over leaping right fielder DJ Peters, and Yuli Gurriel’s second single of the inning scored Bregman. Chas McCormick’s 12th homer was a two-run shot in the eighth.
Garcia (11-7) started after left-hander Framber Valdez was scratched because of a cut on the index finger of his pitching hand. The injury happened when Valdez put his hand on the outfield wall during batting practice Wednesday at the year-old home of the Rangers.
A strong contender for AL Rookie of the Year with 26 starts in his first full season, the 24-year-old Garcia allowed a run and five hits in 5 1/3 innings. The run scored on an groundout from Willie Calhoun, the first batter to face…