Daily Camera (Boulder)
Torres, Voit help Yankees force Game 5
Braves, Astros punch their tickets to LCS
SAN DIEGO — Luke Voit and Gleyber Torres hit impressive home runs, Jordan Montgomery and three relievers combined on a three-hitter and the New York Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-1 Thursday night to force a deciding fifth game in their AL Division Series.
The Yankees bounced back from two straight losses against their AL East rivals to set up an expected showdown between aces Gerrit Cole of New York and Tyler Glasnow of Tampa Bay tonight.
Cole, backed by four home runs, beat Snell 9-3 in the series opener Monday and will be pitching on short rest for the first time in his big league career. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said the decision was made when he passed his ace Thursday and made eye contact.
“Hey, give me the ball,” he remembered Cole saying.
Cole said he took inspiration from watching CC Sabathia, Justin Verlander and other past aces carry teams on short rest.
“When the lights turn on, it doesn’t matter if it’s three, four, five, six, seven days,” Cole said. “Ït’s a special opportunity.
Glasnow will be pitching on two days’ rest after throwing 93 pitches.
The Game 5 winner will remain in San Diego to face the Houston Astros in the AL Championship Series starting Sunday night.
The Yankees are trying to reach the ALCS for the third time in four seasons following eliminations by the Astros at that stage in 2017 and last season. The Rays are trying to advance to the ALCS for the first time since 2008, when they made it to their only World Series.
Wearing their home pinstripes for a second straight night at neutral site Petco Park, the Yankees lived up to their Bronx Bombers nickname.
Voit, who led the majors with 22 homers in the pandemic-shortened season, led off the second by driving a 1-0 pitch from Rays opener Ryan Thompson into the second deck in left field for his first career postseason shot.
Astros 11, Athletics 6
LOS ANGELES — Carlos Correa hit a go-ahead, three-run homer after Michael Brantley’s two-run shot in the fourth inning, helping Houston beat Oakland to clinch its home-run heavy AL Division Series in four games.
Correa drove in five as the Astros — October villains to many a year after their signstealing scandal was revealed — advanced to the AL Championship Series for the fourth consecutive season.
It will be their first ALCS under Dusty Baker, their 71-year-old manager. Baker earned his first closeout win since the 2003 NL Division Series and improved to 4-13 in closeouts.
Houston will play either the New York Yankees or Tampa Bay Rays in the bestof-seven ALCS in San Diego.
The Astros and A’s combined for 24 homers — 12 each — the most in a postseason series of five games or less.
Braves 7, Marlins 0
HOUSTON — Not since the days of John Smoltz, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine had the Atlanta Braves pitched like this in the playoffs.
And even those future Hall of Famers didn’t throw the way these Braves have this postseason.
“What those guys did on the mound is almost mindblowing,” manager Brian Snitker said.
Rookie Kyle Wright dazzled for six innings in his postseason debut, and the Braves rode their superb pitching to beat Miami for a three-game sweep and their first trip to the NL Championship Series since 2001.
Wright (1-0) was sharp despite not pitching since Sept. 25, allowing three hits and walking two with a career-high seven strikeouts.
Atlanta became the second team in history to throw four shutouts in the first five playoff games, joining the 1905 New York Giants behind Hall of Famers Christy Mathewson and Joe Mcginnity.