It took a bit longer than they would have wanted- five games- but the Houston Astros finally closed the deal and moved into the American League Championship Series on Thursday night thanks to a convincing 6-1 victory at home over the Tampa Bay Rays. There were two main components to making it as lopsided as it does appear. For one, you can’t discount the superb pitching of Gerrit Cole. After Justin Verlander was roughed up a bit in Game 4, their other ace came out and offered up eight innings of just two-hit baseball in which he gave up just a run. He struck out ten in total as well, helping preserve a lead given to him in the bottom of the first. The Astros put up four in that first frame, with Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, and Yuli Gurriel all producing hits to drive in runs. The Rays’ lone run came in the top of the second when Eric Sogard homered. A pair of homers from Altuve and Michael Brantley in the eighth put the game away for good. As a result of the win, the Astros will now take on the New York Yankees in a blockbuster ALCS. That series begins on Saturday night in Houston.
The Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Rays were not the only ones playing a deciding Game 5 on Thursday night. The WNBA Finals came to a close between the Washington Mystics and the Connecticut Sun, and in the end it was the former- the host for the decider- that ended up hoisting the trophy. Elena Delle Done, who had been a doubt to play previously in the series and was still not at 100%, had a massive game by providing 21 points on the night in the 89-78 win. However, she was slightly outdone by Finals MVP Emma Meesseman, who pipped her one more at an even 22. The title is the first one in the history of the franchise. Delle Donne scored four points during an 8-0 run that put them ahead for good with less than three minutes to go, underlining her importance.
The New England Patriots have not had the toughest of all schedules so far. Mundane or mediocre are words that come to mind to describe it. But Thursday night was not one of the easier assignments that they have, due to the quick turnaround. Even against a depleted New York Giants team, that case can be made. Nonetheless, they ended up increasing their record to 6-0 on the season with a comfortable-in-the-end 35-14 win. The Pats went up 14-0 to look downright dominant, but the Giants came back in the second quarter to tie the game. The Pats went up for good in the second quarter, as Tom Brady ran in with 36 ticks left. From there, they ran away with it, using four total turnovers to make up the difference in the end. Brady, who had an interception and two rushing TD’s, also was able to surpass Peyton Manning on the all-time passing yards list. He’s now second following a 334-yard showing.