Houston is one step closer to the ultimate comeback

Astros stay hot, force winner-take-all Game 7 by winning ALCS Game 6

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Not going down without a fight, the once 0-3 record for the Astros in the ALCS improved to 2-3 after a big walk-off home run by Carlos Correa to end Game 5 and force Game 6. One more win and they'd force a decisive Game 7, where they could join the 2004 Boston Red Sox as the only two teams to erase a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series.

They would do just that, with their offense coming alive in the middle innings to take over the game to back up another impressive start by Framber Valdez. It sets up a winner-take-all Game 7 on Saturday. Here's how Game 6 unfolded:

Final Score: Astros 7, Rays 4.

Series: tied 3-3.

Winning Pitcher: Framber Valdez.

Losing Pitcher: Blake Snell.

Rays score first, Astros answer back with four in the fifth

After a scoreless first inning on both sides, it was Tampa Bay who started the scoring in the bottom of the second. Despite Valdez starting hot and striking out three of the first four batters, he allowed a one-out single that would come around and score on a two-out RBI-double to put the Rays up 1-0.

That score held until the top of the fifth, when a leadoff walk by Yuli Gurriel followed by a single by Aledmyz Diaz would spell the end for Blake Snell, whose manager would take him out to try and get his trusted bullpen into the game. Instead, Houston would move the runners on a sac bunt by Martin Maldonado then bring both in to take a 2-1 lead on a two-RBI single by George Springer. That opened the floodgates, with Jose Altuve driving in another on the next pitch, an RBI-double to the left-field wall, followed later by an RBI-single by Carlos Correa, making it a four-run inning and a 4-1 Astros lead.

Valdez impresses again and leaves in line for the win

Kyle Tucker would make it a four-run lead in the top of the sixth, leading the inning off with a solo home run to make it 5-1. Framber Valdez continued his impressive night in the bottom of the inning, getting his fifth scoreless inning and wrapping up a one-run gem, leaving in line for the win. His final line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 9 K, 0 HR, 101 P.

Houston's offense kept rolling into the top of the seventh, when Jose Altuve would start it off with a single, moved to second on a passed ball, then scored on an RBI-single by Michael Brantley. Tucker would later bring in his second run in as many innings, getting a sac fly to make it a six-run game at 7-1.

Houston forces Game 7

With Valdez's night done, Andre Scrubb would come in for the top of the seventh with the big lead. He was met with a solo homer by Manuel Margot to cut it to 7-2, then was only able to get two outs while putting two more on base before Dusty Baker would bring in Blake Taylor to finish the inning. Despite loading the bases on three straight walks to start the top of the eighth, the Astros would follow it with three strikeouts in a row to stand all three runners, keeping it a 7-2 game.

Cristian Javier would take over on the mound in the bottom of the inning, but after two strikeouts, he would issue a two-out walk to set up another home run to Margot, his second in as many innings, to trim the lead to 7-4. After a scoreless top of the ninth, the Astros would be forced to use closer Ryan Pressly in the three-run situation, his third appearance in as many days. He would come through with the save, finishing off the win as Houston evened the series to move one step closer to one of the ultimate comebacks in the sports world.

Up Next: It all comes down to this. The end of the road for one of these two teams comes after ALCS Game 7, which will start on Saturday at 7:37 PM Central, though that time could change if the Braves finish the NLCS Friday night. Though not announced, the expected pitching matchup mirrors Game 2, which was Lance McCullers Jr. for Houston and Charlie Morton for the Rays.

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Martin Truex Jr. won his 2nd race of the season last week. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

NASCAR returns to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. This is the first of two races here at this track as they will race on Sunday afternoon. This will be different from the normal night race they usually have here as this will definitely affect the racing surface considering how much the sun could make the track slick. It should be a fun race come Sunday.

Last week, Martin Truex Jr. passed Denny Hamlin to capture his second win of the season after rain moved the race to Sunday. He became the first driver to win multiple races after a fierce battle with his teammate Denny Hamlin. The race was filled with tons of wrecks including a fifteen car pileup including Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. It was one of the better races of the season as there was lots of beating and banging.

The race was not without controversy but not the kind you would expect. Early in the race Rick Ware Racing teammates Cody Ware and James Davison were involved in an altercation. The two were battling towards the back of the pack when Ware decided to drive through his teammate in turn four. The race got much worse for Cody Ware as he was involved in three more cautions all throughout the race. Many people around the sport were quite perturbed by his antics including broadcaster Mike Joy as he was audibly annoyed after Ware spun out later in the race. Many have questioned if the fifth-year driver should even be in the car and overall I can understand why some of those people think that. In his five years of driving, he has finished on the lead lap one time. I hope that he is able to figure it out and find success in the future, but this was not a good look.

The slump continues for two-time champion Kyle Busch

Throughout the race, Busch was running okay for the most part but towards the closing laps of the race he and Chris Buescher got together triggering a fifteen car pileup. Despite all this, he was able to rebound to a respectable tenth place finish. This has been more than likely the toughest stretch of his career since his championship in 2019. Many would say that the omission of Practice and Qualifying has really affected his performance. Whatever the issue is, this team really needs to find some speed, or he could be in danger of missing the playoffs. I look for this team to bounce back considering how talented he is.

Prediction

The driver that I have winning this week is Kyle Larson. This has been an incredible rebound season for Larson as he currently sits fourth in points. He is also second in laps led only to Denny Hamlin. Richmond has been a great track for him as it fits his driving style perfectly as he can run the outside line and find grip where others can't. This track is also rather sentimental to him considering he won his first pole award here during his rookie season in 2014. While he may not have the results he would want he has always been extremely fast here and even won back in 2017. I look for him to capture his second victory of 2021 come Sunday.

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