Rangers top Yankees in Game 6, advance to first ever World Series

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The Rangers just defeated the Yankees 6-1 in Game 6 of the ALCS, advancing to the World Series for the first time in franchise history.

Colby Lewis pitched the proverbial “game of his life,” allowing just three hits over eight innings of one-run ball. The only run scored on a blown wild pitch call by home plate umpire Brian Gorman in the top of the fifth inning. Otherwise, the Yankees couldn’t touch him. Lewis struck out seven in the clincher, including the final three batters he faced in the top of the eighth inning.

And to think, just one year ago, Lewis was pitching in Japan. Now he’ll forever be known as a franchise hero.

Lewis was dominant on his own, but the Rangers got a little help from Joe Girardi. Admittedly, the Rangers’ lineup was “pick your poison” during this series, but the Yankees paid dearly after walking Josh Hamilton intentionally in the bottom of the fifth inning. Vladimir Guerrero jumped on a breaking ball from Phil Hughes and sent it deep into the gap in left-center field to bring home Mitch Moreland and Hamilton for a go-ahead two-run double. The Rangers never looked back.

Hamilton was named the ALCS MVP for batting .350 (7-for-20) with four home runs and seven RBI during the series. He was intentionally walked a grand total of five times, tying an ALCS record.

Neftali Feliz came on to record the final three outs in the top of the ninth inning, striking out Alex Rodriguez, of all people, to end it. Ginger ale showers for everyone!

The Rangers now await the winner of the Giants-Phillies series. Game 1 of the World Series is set for next Wednesday. And, because the Rangers didn’t need a Game 7 to get there, they have their ace Cliff Lee perfectly lined up for the series.

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).