Astros finish regular season with win in Boston
Take 3 of 4 in playoff preview

Astros celebrate win #101
(c) Houston Chronicle

The Astros finished off the regular season in typical 2017 Astros fashion, posting a big inning late in the game for a comeback win. Collin McHugh was the beneficiary of a 4-run seventh that propelled the Astros past the Red Sox 4-3 Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park.

McHugh turned in a solid six inning performance, striking out eight and walking one while allowing five hits. Four of those hits were produced by the first four batters in Boston's 3-run fourth inning. But McHugh was able to quickly right the ship and finish strong, getting nine outs against the last nine batters he faced.

An Astros lineup missing many of its regulars sputtered through the first six innings but erupted for four runs just in time to get McHugh off the hook. Collin has been outstanding down the stretch once again and was able to run his record to 16-0 in his last 20 starts during the months of September and October.

Brandon Workman issued a walk to Max Stassi to lead off the seventh and J.D. Davis followed with a single past second-baseman Brock Holt. With four consecutive left-handed hitters due up for the Astros, left-hander (and former Astro) Fernando Abad took over on the mound.

Abad responded with an uninspiring performance that brought back not-so-distant memories of tougher times for Astros fans. Juan Centeno singled home the first Houston run of the day before Derek Fisher was retired on a hard-hit line drive to first-baseman Sam Travis. Colin Moran followed with another hard-hit ball to the right side that Travis deflected towards second. Davis came home with run number two, Centeno took third, and Moran was safe at first.

Tony Kemp's single scored Centeno to tie the game and advance Moran to third. That brought Yuli Gurriel to the plate looking for his third hit of the game to get his average up to the .300 mark. Gurriel didn't get his hit but did deliver the go-ahead and eventual game-winning run with a sacrifice fly.

Four Astros relievers held the Sox scoreless the rest of the way, highlighted by a Francis Martes strikeout of Chris Young to end the eighth with a runner stranded at third. Tyler Clippard pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to nail down the save and win number 101 for Houston.

The Astros return home for a 3-day break before Game 1 of a best-of-five playoff series against the same Boston Red Sox. Justin Verlander and Chris Sale are the expected starters in Thursday's series opener at Minute Maid Park.

- Greg Thurston