The Tampa Bay Rays clinched the American League pennant with a triumph over the Houston Astros in Game 7 of the ALCS on Saturday night (TB 4, HOU 2).
Tampa led the series 3-0, but the Astros forced Game 7 with wins in Games 4, 5, and 6. The 2004 Red Sox can pop the champagne. They are still the only team in MLB history to come back from a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series.
Charlie Morton shut down his former team in Game 7, holding the Astros scoreless through 5 2/3 innings before giving way to the bullpen. Home runs from Randy Arozarena and Mike Zunino gave Tampa an early cushion they were able to nurse the rest of the way. The Astros brought the go-ahead run to the plate in the eighth inning, but eventually it was too little, too late.
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The Astros have now seen their campaign end in heartbreaking fashion in Game 7 in back-to-back years.
Last season the Nationals mounted a late-inning comeback to win Game 7 of the World Series. This season Houston’s attempted comeback from a 3-0 series deficit fell short.
Randy Arozarena is Atlas.¬†His teammates are giving him little help offensively, so he just keeps socking huge dingers. Arozarena opened the scoring in Game 7 with a two-run home run in the first inning. It was his seventh home run in 14 games this postseason.
For the second time in franchise history. They went to the World Series in 2008 but lost to the Phillies, so they are still searching for their first championship.
Game 1 of the World Series is planned for Tuesday night at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. The Rays have not yet announced their pitching plans, though Tyler Glasnow lines up to pitch Game 1 with an extra day of rest. He will presumably get the ball Tuesday.
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