Tigers acquire closer Joakim Soria from the Rangers

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Kyle Bogenschutz of Scout.com and Detroit’s 97.1 The Ticket reports that the Tigers have acquired reliever Joakim Soria from the Rangers in exchange for pitching prospects Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel. FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi says the deal is only pending the three physical exams.

Soria has been solid as the Texas closer this season, boasting a 2.70 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, and 42/4 K/BB ratio in 33 1/3 innings. He could eventually — or immediately — take over the ninth-inning job in Detroit, where veteran Joe Nathan has been unreliable.

Soria didn’t come cheap for the Tigers, who lead the AL Central but are gearing up for October. Thompson was a second-round pick in 2012 out of a Texas high school and owns a promising 2.96 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 203/69 K/BB ratio in 200 2/3 career innings between rookie ball and Double-A Erie. He’s only 20 years old. Knebel was a first-round pick in 2013 (39th overall) and has registered a dominant 1.26 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, and 84/27 K/BB ratio in 64 1/3 minor league innings. The 22-year-old out of the University of Texas had also made eight relief appearances for the big-league Tigers this season, though the results were not spectacular.

Soria is making $5.5 million this season and carries a $7 million club option for the 2015 campaign.

Astros claim AL pennant with walk-off win against the Yankees

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Following a rollercoaster performance on Saturday, the Astros clinched the American League Championship Series with a decisive 6-4 walk-off win against the Yankees, claiming their second AL pennant and earning a well-deserved entrance to the World Series.

Both clubs decided to preserve possible Game 7 starters Luis Severino and Gerrit Cole, electing to have a “bullpen day” for a pivotal Game 6. Chad Green took the mound for the Yankees, tossing one inning before handing the ball off to a long line of relievers, while Brad Peacock‘s rare playoff start was capped at 1 2/3 innings. According to ESPN Stats & Info, that made it the first postseason game since 1999 in which neither starting pitcher lasted two innings or longer.

All told, the two clubs utilized a total of 13 pitchers to make it through nine innings. The Astros lost Ryan Pressly to a worrisome knee injury in the third, but were able to lean on José Urquidy for 2 2/3 innings of one-run, five-strikeout ball. Although Yankees’ bullpen fought back in every inning, they had considerable difficulty recovering from Yuli Gurriel‘s three-run homer off of Green in the bottom of the first:

Still, New York managed to get in a couple of knocks as well: first, with Gary Sanchez‘s RBI single in the second inning, then with Gio Urshela‘s 395-foot blast in the fourth inning — the second of his postseason career to date. That wasn’t enough to close the gap, however, and Alex Bregman‘s productive groundout in the sixth helped cushion the Astros’ lead as they headed toward the final few innings of the series.

That lead started to look a little shaky in the ninth. Only three outs away from a ticket to the World Series, Houston closer Roberto Osuna gave up a leadoff single to Urshela, which was quickly followed by a jaw-dropping, full-count, game-tying two-run shot from DJ LeMahieu that barely cleared the right field fence.

With the threat of extra innings and a potential loss looming, the Astros engineered a last-minute rally to regain the lead and stake their claim for the pennant. With two outs and no runners on, George Springer took a five-pitch walk from Aroldis Chapman. In the next at-bat, Houston pinned their hopes on José Altuve — and he didn’t disappoint, lifting a 2-1 slider out to left field for a 406-foot, two-RBI homer that confirmed the Astros’ series win.

The 2019 World Series will mark the third Fall Classic appearance for the Astros and the first for the Nationals. It all begins on Tuesday night.