It took a bit longer than they would have wanted- five games- but the Houston Astros finally closed the deal and moved into the American League Championship Series on Thursday night thanks to a convincing 6-1 victory at home over the Tampa Bay Rays.
There were two main components to making it as lopsided as it does appear. For one, you can’t discount the superb pitching of Gerrit Cole. After Justin Verlander was roughed up a bit in Game 4, their other ace came out and offered up eight innings of just two-hit baseball in which he gave up just a run. He struck out ten in total as well, helping preserve a lead given to him in the bottom of the first. The Astros put up four in that first frame, with Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, and Yuli Gurriel all producing hits to drive in runs. The Rays’ lone run came in the top of the second when Eric Sogard homered. A pair of homers from Altuve and Michael Brantley in the eighth put the game away for good. As a result of the win, the Astros will now take on the New York Yankees in a blockbuster ALCS. That series begins on Saturday night in Houston.