Astros are in the World Series for second time in three years

Astros playoff report presented by APG&E: Houston headed to World Series after ALCS Game 6 win

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The Houston Astros are headed to their second World Series in three years. After losing with Justin Verlander on the mound in ALCS Game 5 in New York, the Astros returned home and did what it took to put the formidable Yankees away and finish the series, winning Game 6 by a score of 6-4 with a walk-off home run by Jose Altuve.

In what would be a battle of the bullpens, a huge three-run home run by Yuli Gurriel in the first inning was one of the difference-makers in the game, as was a game-tying shot by the Yankees off Roberto Osuna in the top of the ninth. Ultimately, it was Jose Altuve who played the hero. Here is a recap of the game that has Houston headed to the fall classic:

Final Score: Astros 6, Yankees 4.

Series: Astros win 4-2.

Winning Pitcher: Roberto Osuna.

Losing Pitcher: Aroldis Chapman.

Gurriel breaks his slump to give Astros an early lead

The Astros started ALCS Game 6 by handing the ball to Brad Peacock, who, after an eight-pitch eighth inning in Game 5, looked impressive enough to be trusted to start the bullpen day. He did his job in the top of the first, retiring the top of the Yankees order 1-2-3 on seven pitches.

In the bottom of the inning, the Astros finally got a momentous hit from Yuli Gurriel. Jose Altuve was the first baserunner of the night with a one-out double, then Alex Bregman followed with a two-out walk. That set up Gurriel, who turned an inside fastball around and snuck it into the Crawford Boxes to give Houston an early 3-0 lead.

Houston holds the lead through the middle innings with collection of relievers

Peacock remained in the game for the top of the second, but after two outs would struggle to put the Yankees away, allowing a two-out double then RBI-single to trim Houston's lead to 3-1. He would face one more batter and issue a walk before A.J. Hinch would pop out of the dugout to move on to Josh James, who would get a strikeout to end the threat.

James would continue into the third, getting two outs but eventually loading the bases, prompting another move, this time to Ryan Pressly. Pressly would get a groundout on one pitch, but after fielding it himself would look to re-injure his knee, a bad sight for Houston. Next up was Jose Urquidy who took over on the mound in the top of the fourth, but allowed a solo home run en route to completing the frame.

Urquidy would return for a 1-2-3 fifth and remain in the game for the top of the sixth. He would put two on base with one out after a walk and single, then benefited from a terrific diving catch by Reddick to get the second out and possibly save a run. That would be it for Urquidy, as the Astros would bring in Will Harris, who was able to induce a groundout on one pitch to end the threat.

Astros take the lead to the ninth

The Astros then went to work at the plate in the bottom of the sixth. Jose Altuve led the inning off with a walk, then moved to third on a single by Michael Brantley. Alex Bregman would score Altuve on an RBI-groundout, pushing Houston's lead to 4-2. Houston would get runners on second and third with two outs later in the inning, but Yordan Alvarez's struggles would continue as he struck out to end the inning and Houston's chances to add more to their lead. Harris would go back to the mound in the top of the seventh and would be able to erase a leadoff single by Aaron Judge after an incredible diving catch by Michael Brantley that would turn into a double play.

That left six more outs for Houston's bullpen to cover to finish off the game. In the top of the eighth, Joe Smith took over as the sixth pitcher for Houston and worked around a one-out single to send the game to the ninth after a double play by his defense ended the inning. Houston would load the bases in the bottom of the eighth with two outs but come out empty-handed after a groundout by Aledmys Diaz, who was pinch-hitting for the struggling Yordan Alvarez.

Yankees tie, but Jose Altuve sends Houston to the World Series

In the top of the ninth, closer Roberto Osuna came on in arguably the highest-pressure situation of his career. He allowed a leadoff single to bring the tying run to the plate, and after one out DJ LeMaheiu would tie the game with a two-run home run to right field. Osuna would get the next two batters, sending the tie game to the bottom of the ninth. In the bottom of the ninth, Aroldis Chapman came in for the Yankees to try and keep it a tie game for New York. Instead, Jose Altuve would launch the winning home run to send the Astros to the World Series.

Up Next: World Series Game 1 will be Tuesday at 7:08 PM Central from Minute Maid Park in Houston. The Astros will likely give the ball to Gerrit Cole, who would have been used for Game 7, while the Nationals will be expected to start Max Scherzer, setting up a fierce pitching battle.

The Astros playoff report is presented by APG&E.

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This week the NASCAR cup series heads to the world center of racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, for the inaugural fourth of July version of the Brickyard 400. This is unprecedented for NASCAR considering over the course of 50 years they are usually in Daytona around this time. While this move was met with a lot of criticism from fans, there is a positive to come from this move though, as the sport will hold their first doubleheader with Indycar. This has been talked about for many years and now it has finally come to fruition. Another new facet of this weekend will be the Xfinity Series running on the road course configuration. This could very well lead to the cup series transitioning from the oval to the road course next season should everything go well when the Xfinity series does it. It will definitely be an interesting weekend.

Last week, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin dominated the first-ever doubleheader at Pocono. The two drivers finished first and second in both races with Harvick taking race one and Hamlin winning race two. Both of these races came down to pit-road strategy as Harvick was able to eke out a victory by taking two tires and fuel while his teammate Aric Almirola took four. The next day Denny Hamlin pretty much had the whole field covered as he went on to claim his fourth victory of the season. Overall, the idea of two races in a weekend went over well but for the racing itself, it was hard to watch. One of the main issues I had was how the drivers didn't have to shift this week. In my opinion, that was what made this track so unique. It was an oval that had road course characteristics and it usually produced some pretty good finishes. Hopefully this will be addressed when the new car makes its debut in 2022.

One of the big stories going into this week is the announcement a couple of weeks ago that NASCAR will be moving their all-star event to Bristol Motor Speedway. Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a whirlwind of news from the Bubba Wallace story at Talladega, to the doubleheader races last week. A lot of this has put this announcement on the back burner but this is a huge story. The race will be held on Wednesday, July 15th as NASCAR continues with midweek races. This is the first time since 1986 that the race will not be run at NASCAR's home track in Charlotte back when it took place at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The format will be pretty much the same as all the winners from 2019 and 2020 will all have an automatic birth into the race while the rest of the field will run in the open event the day before. The main event will feature four stages including a 15 lap closer around one of NASCAR's most popular race tracks. I think this move was long overdue and I hope that they continue with it in the future. Don't get me wrong, there isn't anything wrong with the race at Charlotte but I think a change of pace would be welcomed. I look forward to seeing how this turns out.

As we move on to Indy this weekend, the driver I have winning is Kurt Busch. This weekend will be the 2004 Cup Series champion's 700th career start, and he's won just about every race that there is to be won except this one here at the Brickyard. This week, that is going to change. It hasn't been the most consistent season for the Vegas native, but he still sits tenth in points and right in the thick of the playoff battle. This track isn't his best as he currently has a 19.42 average finish, including a dismal 30th place finish last year. But this week, I think he gets back on track with a victory as he starts second. The veteran has flown under the radar this year, but he has definitely shown spurts where we think he is going to break-out. He also has runs where it seems like him and his team are mid-pack, but there aren't many drivers out there that have the experience he has. And a talented driver like him always finds a way to bounce back. Look for Kurt Busch to take the #1 Monster Energy Camaro to victory lane.

All stats and information used in this article are brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com, the best websites for all NASCAR stats.

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