MLB news: Gerrit Cole dominates Rays in Game 5 to propel Astros to ALCS
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Gerrit Cole dominates Rays in Game 5 to propel Astros to ALCS

Gerrit Cole, Astros

Houston Astros ace Gerrit Cole followed up his electric Game 2 start in the American League Division Series with yet another gem in Game 5, pitching the Astros to a 6-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays and setting up a showdown against the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series.

Cole was nearly untouchable over eight dominant innings of work, allowing just two hits and one run while striking out 10:

The right-hander struck out 25 Rays over his two starts in the series:

The Astros staked Cole to a 4-0 start after one inning. The first four Astros recorded base hits off Rays starter Tyler Glasnow, with Alex Bregman’s two-run double the major blow.

Eric Sogard got one run back in the top of the second with a solo home run, but Tampa Bay couldn’t get anything else going against Cole the rest of the night. Cole probably could have gone for the complete game since he was only at 107 pitches after eight innings, but back-to-back home runs by Michael Brantley and Jose Altuve in the bottom of the eighth inning helped put the game out of reach and made it less necessary for the starter to push it. Closer Roberto Osuna slammed the door with a 1-2-3 ninth.

The Astros have now reached the ALCS in three consecutive seasons. Houston won the World Series in 2017 and lost to the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS last season. The Yankees will be a formidable opponent with their fearsome lineup, but the Astros were the best team all regular season and will have the home-field advantage.

The ALCS begins on Saturday in Houston.