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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Rockets get another much-needed win. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets went on a redemption tour by beating the Detroit Pistons and Dallas Mavericks. But the most pivotal win was against the Mavericks as the Rockets finally showed their true potential. John Wall finally made his return from his injury hiatus and played with a lot of energy. DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Gordon combined for 61 points. It was great to see Stephan Silas crack a smile as he was able to beat his former team.

The Rockets clearly missed Wall during his eight-game absense. This season, the Rockets are a .500 team with Wall on the court. Wall is the Rockets' floor general that leads, constructs, and also pushes his teammates to become better.

Wall only played 21 minutes in the 133-108 win over the Mavericks but still had eight assists. Even though Wall only had 7 points, his presence was still felt by finding his teammates for open looks beyond the perimeter. Wall made sure Cousins and Gordon got a plethora of touches. He called multiple actions, so they got open looks from three, which was mainly Gordon. Gordon and Cousins' struggles have been similar but with Wall on the court, they were successful against the Mavericks. According to NBA Stats, Wall posted a 111 offensive rating with the starters versus the Mavericks, which included Gordon and Cousins.

"He's the engine to this team. He gets everybody going. He makes the game easy," Cousins told a reporter after the game. "The pressure that he constantly puts on the defense is a tough thing to deal with."

Gordon has struggled all season long with three-point shooting and relied on his slashing abilities. Saturday night, Gordon made six three pointers against the Mavericks, which was 66 percent from beyond the perimeter. Gordon increased his three-point percentage from 31 percent to 34.5 percent after Saturday night's game. Gordon's 33 points came from being able to attack the entire Mavericks' defense. Willy Cauley-Stein didn't stand a chance against Gordon as he was burned multiple times. Gordon's been a lifesaver for the Rockets in the last two games, and hopefully he maintains his play.

Cousins played fantastic against the Mavericks scoring 28 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. This is Cousins' first double-double with the Rockets this season. Cousins became the vintage player from the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings. It was extremely fun watching Cousins push the ball up the court and aggressively snatch rebounds. Boogie shot 50 percent from behind the arc by making four three-pointers. He was dominant inside the paint as Cousins went 7/8 from the restricted area versus the Mavericks. This was the game Cousins needed after having a poor performance against the Pistons Friday night.

"It was really, really good. He did it all. He's a physical presence on both ends of the floor," as Silas said on Cousins' performance.

David Nwaba and Mason Jones were big factors off the Rockets' bench by having a combined total of 34 points together. Nwaba has been great in transition for the Rockets the entire season. Keep in mind that Nwaba is returning from an Achilles injury he suffered with his former team, the Brooklyn Nets. Nwaba has became a great defender, slasher, and is averaging a career-high nine points per game with the Rockets. He finished with 18 points on Saturday night versus the Mavericks.

Mason Jones has become a fan favorite of the Rockets because of his confidence. Silas is loving the usage of Jones off the bench but wants to find more minutes for him. Jones had a breakout performance versus the San Antonio Spurs with 24 points off 66 percent shooting from the field. He continues to get better with his reads from the point guard position. Jones' knowledge of running the offense has helped his efficiency on the court. He is never afraid to take clutch shots in pivotal moments of the game.

"To have a young kid who can come in and not be afraid of the moment, that's big. That's a tough position to be in as an undrafted rookie. I trust him. It's a good problem to have," Silas mentioned after the game. "He's showing me he's ready. He's a confident kid, and he should be. That's why he's good. He's not afraid of the moment, at all. He can get us organized, run plays, and score the basketball."

Hopefully, the Rockets can sustain their level of play when Victor Oladipo returns against the Washington Wizards, Tuesday. It will be interesting to watch Oladipo and Wall play in the same backcourt.

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