SEATTLE — The Houston Astros have knocked off Arizona for the second straight night, clinching a spot in the postseason. It's the seventh straight year Houston will play beyond the regular season.
Justin Verlander threw five scoreless innings and the bullpen did the rest as Houston is in the playoffs in the wild-card spot. The Astros could still win the American League West if Texas loses to Seattle Sunday and Houston completes the sweep of Arizona.
José Abreu drove in the only run of the game for Houston, doubling in Kyle Tucker in the fourth inning. Abreu has driven in all three runs for the Astros in the series with the Diamondbacks.
Houston now gets a chance to defend its World Series title after fighting through a tight American League wild-card race for the past several weeks.
The Astros had plenty of clutch moments in the final innings.
Hector Neris got a pair of crucial outs in the seventh. He entered with the bases loaded and one out but struck out Ketel Marte on three pitches and coaxed a weak groundout from Tommy Pham. Shortstop Jeremy Peña made a slick defensive play in the eighth, turning a double play on a tough hop on a hard-hit ball by Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
The Astros got two more solid defensive plays in the ninth when catcher Martin Maldonado threw Jake McCarthy out on an attempted steal. Third baseman Alex Bregman got the second out after charging a slow roller and making a strong throw to first.
Bryan Abreu then walked Geraldo Perdomo and struck out Corbin Carroll. It was Bryan Abreu's fifth save of the season.
José Abreu brought home the game's lone run with a double off the center-field wall, making it 1-0 in the fourth. Abreu was also the offensive hero on Friday night after hitting a two-run double to nearly the same spot in 2-1 win.
Verlander (13-8) helped the Astros to World Series wins in 2017 and 2022 but signed as a free agent with the New York Mets during the offseason. After a disappointing few months, the Mets traded the three-time Cy Young Award winner back to the Astros at the trade deadline.
He provided another good outing Saturday, giving up two hits and three walks while striking out five.
Arizona's Merrill Kelly (12-8) went seven innings, giving up five hits and two walks while striking out five.
VERLANDER TIES NIEKRO
The 40-year-old Verlander tied Phil Niekro for 12th on the career strikeouts list, catching Carroll looking in the fifth.
Verlander and Niekro both have 3,342 strikeouts, though Verlander needed roughly 2,000 less innings to reach that mark.
Houston's Kyle Tucker is one homer from joining the 30-30 club this season after stealing his 30th base of the season in the fourth. He also has 29 homers and 111 RBIs.
Astros: RHP J.P. France was back at the ballpark one day after he was scratched from Friday's start because of a family emergency. France told reporters that he was available out of the bullpen.