The Houston Astros completed a quarter of their season Wednesday owning a pair of key distinctions.
Best team in baseball. Best team in franchise history.
Wednesday afternoon, both of those trends continued as they won for the ninth time in 10 games, defeating the Miami Marlins 3-0 to complete a three-game sweep at Marlins Park.
The Astros improved to 29-12, the best 41-game start in club history and three games ahead of the 2015 team's pace. Their .707 winning percentage is the best in the major leagues, well ahead of the Washington Nationals' .658 mark.
And the victory nudged their run differential to +61, also best in the major leagues.
Wednesday's conquest featured their standard formula of excellent pitching and timely hitting from the stars atop their lineup.
Lance McCullers (4-1) extended his scoreless streak to 17 consecutive innings as he gave up three hits and struck out three in six scoreless innings, lowering his earned-run average to 2.65. Meanwhile, Jose Altuve had a pair of triples and a double, and George Springer drove in a pair of runs with a sixth-inning single. His 24 RBI are tops among leadoff batters in the American League.
Relievers Chris Devenski, Will Harris and Ken Giles preserved the shutout as the Astros lowered their team ERA to 3.41 - best in the AL and equaling the Los Angeles Dodgers for best in the major leagues.
The Astros now hold an 8 1/2-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers in the AL West. Their 6-1 road trip complete, they are off Thursday before beginning a 10-game homestand on Friday that will see the Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers and Baltimore Orioles visit Minute Maid Park.
"It's hard not to like this trip," manager A.J. Hinch told reporters. "It was an incredible display on how to win games."
© 2017 USATODAY.COM