Cole, Astros beat Rays 6-1 in ALDS Game 5; Yankees next
HOUSTON — All season long, it seemed inevitable.
Yankees-astros for the American League pennant.
“It’s the matchup that we wanted,” Houston shortstop Carlos Correa said. “It’s the matchup that everybody wants to watch. It’s must-see TV right there. So everybody is going to be tuning in. It’s going to be fun.”
Houston made it happen Thursday night as Gerrit
Cole pitched another playoff masterpiece and the Astros jumped to a quick lead, turning back the Tampa Bay Rays 6-1 in the deciding Game 5 of their AL Division Series.
On deck, the heavyweight matchup so many fans were anticipating: Jose Altuve and the 107-win Astros against Aaron Judge and the 103-win Yankees. Game 1 is Saturday night in Houston — the Astros won four of seven meetings this season.
“This is two incredible powerhouse teams,” Houston ace Justin Verlander said. “We’ll find ourselves in the middle of the ring here in a couple of days and we’ll be going at it.”
After fellow aces Zack Greinke and Verlander were unable to close out the scrappy Rays on the road, Cole made sure Houston moved on. Given a 4-0 cushion in the first inning, he dominated through the eighth, striking out 10 and allowing just two hits.
“I’m just going to treat it like it’s the next game, man,” said Cole, who grew up a Yankees fan. “I mean, we know that they’re obviously very talented, and it’s going to be a dogfight.”
Michael Brantley and Altuve put the finishing touches on this victory, hitting back-to-back home runs in the eighth. The Astros advanced to their third straight ALCS, and are aiming for their second World Series crown in that span.
Houston beat the Yankees in a seven-game ALCS on the way to its first championship in 2017. The Astros also won the 2015 AL wild-card game at Yankee Stadium.
The Rays beat Oakland in the AL wild-card game, then won Games 3 and 4 against the Astros to extend their first playoff run since 2013.
But facing Cole, the Rays were in trouble — especially after Altuve, Alex Bregman and the Astros scored four times in the first against Tyler Glasnow, who said afterward it was pretty obvious he was tipping pitches.
“You get a taste of this, you want to keep going,”
Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Today we kind of got outpowered. Outpowered on the mound and obviously at the plate.”