HOUSTON — The Astros defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 6-1 to end a competitive American League Division Series Thursday night in Houston.
The 2017 World Series champions were the favorite going into the ALDS, but the Rays battled back in games 3 and 4 on their home turf in St. Petersburg.
Houston took control early in Game 5, earning four of their runs in the first inning against the Rays' Tyler Glasnow. Home runs by Michael Brantley and José Altuve increased their lead in the bottom of the eighth.
Altuve actually set a new MLB record, boasting most postseason home runs by a second baseman with a total of 11.
Meanwhile, Astros righty Gerrit Cole had a dominant pitching performance, holding the Rays to a single run.
The Rays used 30 pitchers in five games, setting an all-time ALDS record. But, it wasn't enough to clinch the series. By the way, those sorts of statistics won't exist in 2020 because an MLB rule change means pitchers will have to face at least three batters or end a half-inning next season. The only exception will be if a pitcher gets hurt.
An honorable mention is warranted for Eric Sogard, who hadn't started for the Rays in weeks but homered off the first pitch he saw Thursday night -- giving the Rays that sole run. Another noteworthy mention was yet another impressive split by Rays first baseman Ji-man Choi for an out in the bottom of the third inning.
The Astros move on to face the Yankees in the American League Championship Series. The Rays will head home to St. Pete.
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