5 reasons the Astros defied the odds and won the AL West

The race for the AL West division championship came down to Game 162, with the Astros coming out on top. Let's look at the five reasons the Astros ran down the Rangers to win their sixth-straight division title.
Houston Astros v Arizona Diamondbacks
Houston Astros v Arizona Diamondbacks / Chris Coduto/GettyImages
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#4: Dominating the Rangers head-to-head

The Astros and Rangers finished with an identical 90-72 record. In years previous, they'd have played Game 163 for the tiebreaker. Now, the tiebreaker is awarded to the winner of the head-to-head season series.

The Astros dominated the Rangers this season, winning nine of the 13 games between the two teams. Texas took the first three-game series between the two in April, but the Astros won seven of the final nine.

The final nail in Texas' coffin came in the September 4-6 series. Houston swept the Rangers, outscoring them 39-10.

Had the season series been even one game closer, Texas takes the division. But the Astros handled business against their little brother, ensuring they controlled their own destiny.