Astros shut out Red Sox to clinch 3rd AL pennant in 5 years

Bob Levey / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The Houston Astros are back on top of the American League.

Houston clinched its third American League pennant in the last five seasons with a 5-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox in Game 6 of the ALCS at Minute Maid Park on Friday.

It was a dominant performance from the Astros, who took control of the series in Boston and never let go. Rookie right-hander Luis Garcia took a no-hitter into the sixth inning while Yordan Alvarez locked up the ALCS MVP after going 4-for-4 with three extra-base hits and two runs scored.

Boston was out of answers for most of Game 6. After starting the series on a tear, the team's offense was invisible, scraping just two hits and four total baserunners against five Astros pitchers. One of their few scoring chances in the seventh inning was halted by Astros catcher Martin Maldonado, who caught Alex Verdugo stealing second as Travis Shaw struck out for an inning-ending double play.

The Astros outscored the Red Sox 23-3 over the final three games of the ALCS. Their 27 runs with two outs are a new single playoff series record, according to Sarah Langs of MLB.com.

The win is the latest chapter of what's become the golden era of Astros baseball. Since emerging from a painful rebuild in 2015, the franchise has made the playoffs six times and reached the LCS in each of the last five seasons, ultimately winning it all in 2017. This year, they made it back to the World Series despite losing stalwart center fielder George Springer in free agency and ace Justin Verlander to elbow surgery.

Houston will face either the Los Angeles Dodgers - in a rematch of the now-infamous 2017 World Series - or Atlanta Braves in this year's Fall Classic. Atlanta holds a 3-2 lead in the NLCS, with Game 6 taking place Saturday at Truist Park.

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Astros shut out Red Sox to clinch 3rd AL pennant in 5 years
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