Carlos Pena sets Rays' franchise homer record

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Last night Carlos Pena hit his 13th homer of the year, setting the Tampa Bay franchise record with 129 homers as a member of the Rays. Here’s the rest of the top 10:

CARLOS PENA       129
Aubrey Huff       128
Fred McGriff       99
Carl Crawford      90
Evan Longoria      71
Jonny Gomes        66
Greg Vaughn        60
B.J. Upton         55
Rocco Baldelli     52
Ben Zobrist        47



You know a team hasn’t been around very long when only four players in franchise history have more homers than the MLB single-season record. Slightly more impressive than topping Aubrey Huff for the Rays’ record is Pena’s homer rank among all players over the past four seasons:

Ryan Howard       150
Prince Fielder    139
Adam Dunn         131
Albert Pujols     130
CARLOS PENA       129
Alex Rodriguez    127
Miguel Cabrera    123
Adrian Gonzalez   119
Ryan Braun        111
Mark Teixeira     111



Particularly impressive once you consider that Pena missed the final 25 games of last season when a CC Sabathia fastball to the left hand broke two fingers. Despite that injury he still has more homers than anyone else in the AL since 2007. Of course, Pena is also hitting just .186 with a league-high 66 strikeouts so far this season, so it’ll be interesting to see what kind of market there is for the 32-year-old impending free agent this winter. My guess is he won’t be back in Tampa Bay.

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

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There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).