McHugh reaches 19 wins

McHugh reaches 19 wins

PHOENIX -- One day after Dallas Keuchel became the only 20-game winner in the American League, Astros teammate Collin McHugh nestled up behind him on the leaderboard by notching his 19th victory.

McHugh (19-7) held the D-backs to one run and six hits in seven innings in a 6-2 win to improve to 10-2 with a 3.11 ERA in his final 14 starts of the season. McHugh and Keuchel are the first Astros duo to win at least 19 games each since 1999, when Mike Hampton went 22-4 and Jose Lima 21-10.

Astros have West title, Wild Card both in play

"For us, you really have to fight and scratch and grind all the way through as many innings as we can get," McHugh said. "I didn't have great stuff tonight. I didn't have great command tonight, but [catcher] Jason [Castro] did a really good job behind the plate, guiding me through some tough areas when I needed to. I made big pitches when I needed to make 'em."

Astros manager A.J. Hinch said he thought McHugh got a little fatigued at the end, but he battled through as always.

"He was Collin McHugh tonight," Hinch said. "Nineteen wins is not easy. We talked about Keuchel and 20 wins, and Collin's just sitting right behind him, winning games for us."

Explaining possible tiebreakers for postseason

The Astros enter Sunday one game behind the American League West-leading Rangers and one game ahead of the Angels in the race for the AL's last available Wild Card spot. They can still force a tiebreaker for the division title or clinch a spot in the AL Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser, but they cannot be eliminated on Sunday. The worst-case scenario would be a tiebreaker with the Angels on Monday for a Wild Card spot.

If the Rangers win on Sunday, they win the division, regardless of what the Astros do. But if the Astros win and the Rangers lose, they would then play a one-game tiebreaker to decide the AL West champ on Monday in Arlington, based on the Rangers winning the season series between the clubs (13-6). The loser of that game would face the Yankees in the AL Wild Card Game, with the venue depending on whether New York wins on Sunday.

If the Astros lose and the Angels win on Sunday, they would be tied for the final Wild Card spot and play a one-game tiebreaker on Monday at Minute Maid Park, based on the Astros winning the season series between the teams (10-9). The winner of that game would travel to face the Yankees in the Wild Card Game.

The Astros are also only a game behind the Yankees. If Houston wins a Wild Card spot and finishes tied with New York, the AL Wild Card Game would be at Minute Maid Park, as the Astros won the season series, 4-3.

"If you start trying to figure out what can happen here and what can happen there and the ifs and the buts, it's going to get in your head," he said. "For us, we know we have a job ahead of us tomorrow. That's to play nine innings of good, quality Astro baseball, play a complete game, win a game and see what happens. Let the chips fall where they may."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.