The Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Rays took the field last night looking for a berth in the American League Championship Series. The Rays were looking for just their 2nd trip to the ALCS ever, the other being in 2008. The Astros were looking for their 3rd straight trip, and a chance to return to the World Series.
The Astros, dominant to the tune of an MLB leading 107 wins on the season, jumped on the Rays early and didn't look back. Houston's offense led by RBIs from 2nd baseman Jose Altuve and 3rd baseman Alex Bregman gave starting pitcher Gerrit Cole a 4 run lead after the first inning.
Cole continued his torrid stretch dating back from the end of the regular season. He followed up a 15-strikeout performance in Game 2, with a dominant night of 10 strikeouts, while allowing only 2 hits on the night. Cole is now 18-0 in his last 24 starts with an ERA of 2.50 on the season, an American League-best.
Tampa Bay would only be able to muster one run on the night: a solo home run by Eric Sogard in the 2nd inning. Houston would add 2 more runs to complete a 6-1 win.
The win sets up a clash of American League titans in the ALCS between the Astros, and the 103-win New York Yankees. The series will be a rematch of the 2017 ALCS, which the Astros won in 7 games en route to their first-ever World Series Title. Game 1 of the series will be on Saturday night in Houston.