Gerrit Cole dominant as Astros defeat Nationals 7-1 in World Series Game 5

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After emerging victorious over the Nationals 7-1 in Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday night, the Astros are one win away from their second championship in three years. Gerrit Cole dominated on the mound while Yordan Álvarez, Carlos Correa, and George Springer each contributed a two-run homer in the winning effort.

Joe Ross got the start for the Nationals, filling in for the injured Max Scherzer. He was better than his final line indicated. The Astros got on the board against him in the second inning when Yuli Gurriel reached on an infield single with one out and Álvarez slugged a two-run home run to center field. All things considered, it wasn’t a bad pitch. Ross hit his target with a 95 MPH sinker, but Álvarez just put a good swing on it.

Álvarez, who didn’t start in Games 3 or 4 due to the absence of the DH rule, continued to swing a hot bat in the fourth inning, keeping the inning alive with a two-out single. Carlos Correa promptly brought him home with a two-run homer of his own to make it 4-0. All told, Ross threw 78 pitches across five innings, allowing the four runs on five hits and a pair of walks with one strikeout.

The Nationals had Cole’s number in Game 1 of the World Series, but not so much in Game 5. Cole held the opposition scoreless through six innings. Juan Soto finally put the Nationals on the board with a solo homer to center field with one out in the seventh. Cole was able to make it out of the seventh inning without any further damage, though he did have a bit of help from home plate umpire Lance Barksdale. That was Cole’s final inning of work, ending the night on the hook for one run on three hits and two walks with nine strikeouts on 110 pitches.

Joe Smith took over for Cole in the eighth. He worked around a leadoff Yan Gomes single with a strikeout, a line out, and a foul pop out to send the game to the ninth inning.

Just for good measure, George Springer hit the Astros’ third two-run homer of the night, ripping a no-doubt shot to left field off of Daniel Hudson, upping the score to 7-1. Closer Roberto Osuna had been warming up, but the added insurance turned the dial to Ryan Pressly for the bottom of the ninth. Pressly made quick work of the middle of the Nats’ lineup to put the game in the books, getting Anthony Rendon to line out to right field, Soto to strike out, and Howie Kendrick to ground out.

The World Series heads back to Houston for Game 6 — and Game 7, if necessary. The two clubs will take Monday off to travel before resuming play on Tuesday. Stephen Strasburg will oppose Justin Verlander.

Rays’ Erik Neander named Executive of the Year

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At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.

Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.

The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.

At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).