Rays clip Astros in Game 7 to reach World Series for second time


OK, Yankees followers, right here’s the excellent news: the Astros aren’t going again to the World Sequence.

The dangerous information?

The Yankees’ latest rivals, the Rays, are headed there as an alternative — and the Yankees stay the one crew to have blown a three-game sequence lead within the playoffs.

Tampa Bay beat Houston, 4-2, in Recreation 7 of the ALCS on Saturday night time at Petco Park in San Diego to advance to the World Sequence for the second time in franchise historical past. They’ll face the winner of Sunday’s NLCS Recreation 7 between the Dodgers and Braves.

The Rays’ victory additionally prevented the Astros having an opportunity to win a title the identical 12 months they had been discovered by MLB to have used an unlawful sign-stealing scheme on their technique to the 2017 World Sequence championship.

Houston was simply the second crew to have pressured a Recreation 7 after dropping the primary three video games of a playoff sequence, becoming a member of the 2004 Crimson Sox. In contrast to Boston, although, the Astros couldn’t end the job.

Earlier than the sport, Tampa Bay’s Kevin Kiermaier stated the crew was conscious of that historical past because of an ESPN documentary — and didn’t need to be part of it.

“It was an incredible documentary,’’ Kiermaier stated. “We watched it by way of this 12 months on airplane rides. It was a heck of a documentary. However we management our personal future. We management what goes on on the market as we speak.”

Satirically, it was a key member of that crew’s pitching workers, Charlie Morton, who shut the Astros down on Saturday.

Now with the Rays, Morton blanked his former crew for five ²/₃ innings.

Tampa Bay hit a pair of homers off Houston starter Lance McCullers Jr. to offer sufficient offense. The most important blow, not surprisingly, got here from October star Randy Arozarena, who gave the Rays a 2-Zero lead within the backside of the primary.

Mike Zunino took McCullers deep with one out within the second to make it 3-0.

In the meantime, Morton was dominant.

A jubilant Ji-Man Choi celebrates with Peter Fairbanks after the Rays' 4-2 ALCS-clinching victory over the Astros in Game 7.
A jubilant Ji-Man Choi celebrates with Peter Fairbanks after the Rays’ 4-2 ALCS-clinching victory over the Astros in Recreation 7.AP
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He got here into the sport having not allowed greater than an earned run in any of his earlier 4 postseason begins — every lasting 5 innings.

On Saturday, the right-hander gave up a two-out single to Michael Brantley within the high of the primary after which retired 14 straight.

The Astros threatened within the high of the sixth, as Morton was pulled with two on and two out, having thrown simply 66 pitches.

He was changed by Nick Anderson in an identical transfer to the one made by Tampa Bay supervisor Kevin Money in Recreation 6, when he took Blake Snell out within the fifth and went to Diego Castillo. In Recreation 6, it backfired, as Castillo struggled and let the sport slip away.

This time, it labored, as Brantley, representing the tying run, grounded to second to maintain it a three-run sport.

The Rays added to their lead within the backside of the inning when Zunino’s sacrifice fly drove in Ji-Man Choi to make it 4-0.

The Astros had one other probability to chop into the lead within the seventh after consecutive one-out singles by Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker, however Yuli Gurriel’s nightmarish postseason continued when he hit into an inning-ending double play.

They broke by way of within the eighth, loading the bases with two out. Carlos Correa delivered a two-run single off Pete Fairbanks to chop Tampa Bay’s result in 4-2, however Alex Bregman struck out to finish the inning.

Fairbanks set the Astros down within the ninth to reserve it.

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