ARLINGTON -- Justin Verlander's next start for Houston will be in the playoffs. Major league batting leader Jose Altuve has a few more games to add to another 200-hit season.
Verlander struck out 11 to win his fifth straight start since getting traded to Houston, Altuve reached 200 hits for the fourth season in a row, and the AL West champion Astros completed a dominating three-game sweep by routing the Rangers 12-2 on Wednesday.
"This is an important stretch for us. We know that we're heading into the playoffs," said George Springer, who hit a grand slam.
Carlos Correa homered twice as Houston (98-60), trying to catch Cleveland for the best record in the American League, outscored the Rangers 37-7 in the series and outhit them 46-23.
Correa went deep in consecutive innings for the Astros, hitting a solo homer in the fifth and a two-run shot soon after Springer's slam in a seven-run sixth. Correa had four hits and drove in four runs.
The Rangers (76-82), who had won the AL West the past two seasons, lost their season-high sixth straight game and ensured themselves a losing record for only the second time in nine seasons. They were eliminated from the wild card race Tuesday.
"The last three days have been extremely challenging," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "We haven't swung the bats very well, we haven't scored. We haven't strung hits together."
Verlander (15-8) matched his season high for strikeouts while allowing two runs without a walk in six innings. The right-hander, 5-0 with a 1.06 ERA in his five starts since being traded from Detroit on Aug. 31, makes his next start in an AL division series next week.
Altuve, who is hitting .347, got his 200th hit on a single in the first off Nick Martinez (3-8), who gave up six runs and 10 hits pitching into the sixth.
The Astros second baseman is only the fourth right-handed hitter in history with four consecutive 200-hit seasons. The last was Michael Young, with five in a row for Texas from 2003-07. Altuve has a chance to be the first player to lead the AL or NL in hits outright four consecutive seasons.
Willie Calhoun and Drew Robinson hit solo homers off Verlander. It was the first career homer for Calhoun, the young outfielder who was the main piece the Rangers got when they traded Yu Darvish to the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 31.
"It was pretty cool," said Calhoun, who had two hits off Verlander. "He's one of the better pitchers."
Calhoun got the home run ball after giving an autographed hat and bat to the fan who caught it.
Adrian Beltre, Carlos Gomez and Robinson Chirinos were out of the Rangers lineup. They are likely done for the season. Beltre played 13 games with a strained left hamstring.