Astros: Yuli Gurriel becomes second Cuban-born player to win batting title

Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

While out of the starting nine on Sunday, Yuli Gurriel still walked away with the American League Batting Title and a walk-off hit.

Houston Astros‘ Manager Dusty Baker made the decision to sit first baseman Yuli Gurriel for the final game of the season with a batting title up for grabs. The right-hander opened Sunday with a .318 batting average, which led all of the American League.

Gurriel did have one at-bat, after replacing Correa in the lineup late into the ballgame. The right-hander walked-off the Oakland A’s to end the season, bumping his average to .319.

Entering action, Michael Brantley (.313) and Vlad Guerrero Jr. (.311) lurked behind Gurriel. For Brantley, the left-hander would have needed a 4-for-4 day to push his average ahead of Gurriel, while Guerrero would’ve needed a 6-for-6 game.

Gurriel, 37-years-old, is now the second oldest batting champion in either the American League or National League in baseball history, behind Barry Bonds (38) who won in 2002. Gurriel is also the second Cuban-born player to ever achieve the feat.

Tony Oliva was the first, as he led the AL in batting average three times. Brantley finished his regular season with a .311 batting average, after going 0-for-2. The left-hander was replaced by Yordan Alvarez in the sixth inning, after testing his legs in the field.

Guerrero ended his day going for 1-for-3, leaving his BA at .311. The Toronto Blue Jays‘ win on Sunday could possibly push their season to a Game 163 with a tie in the Wild Card standings, as statistics recorded in this game count to regular season numbers.

Next. Carlos Correa talks have already heated up around the league. dark

The Astros end their 2021 regular season with a 95-67 record, as they open the ALDS at home on Thursday, Oct 7. Zack Greinke was activated for the final game of the season on Sunday, while Brandon Bielak was optioned to Triple-A as a corresponding move.

The right-hander has been eyed as a bullpen arm for the postseason and made a relief appearance on Sunday; his first since Sept. 26, 2007. Greinke worked 2.1 innings on 28 pitches, as he punched out three. The first strikeout moved Greinke into 23rd all-time (2,809), passing Cy Young.