Gerrit Cole and Houston get it done at home

Astros playoff report presented by APG&E: Astros advance to the ALCS with ALDS Game 5 win over Rays

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After taking the first two games at home in Houston, then falling in back-to-back games at Tropicana Field, the Astros returned home for a winner-take-all ALDS Game 5 with a trip to the ALCS to face the Yankees on the line. After a disappointing start from Justin Verlander on short rest in Game 4, the Astros turned the ball to their other ace, Gerrit Cole, to try and seal the series.

Houston would come away victorious with a huge first inning of offense to back up an incredibly dominant start by Gerrit Cole. The 6-1 win would continue their quest to win their second World Series in three years. Here is a recap of the exciting Game 5 from Houston:

Final Score: Astros 6, Rays 1.

Series: Houston wins 3-2.

Winning Pitcher: Gerrit Cole.

Losing Pitcher: Tyler Glasnow.

Houston gets the hot start they needed

After a scoreless top of the first by Cole, the Astros blasted out the gate against Tyler Glasnow by getting four consecutive hits from the top of their order, including an RBI-single by Jose Altuve, which started the scoring followed by a two-RBI double by Alex Bregman. Yuli Gurriel would push the lead to 4-0 later in the inning with an RBI-single.

Gerrit Cole dominates again in the spotlight

Meanwhile, Gerrit Cole was doing his part on the mound as well. The Rays were able to get one run back off of him with a solo home run to lead off the top of the second, but that would be the only blemish on Gole's otherwise efficient early goings in the game.

He would allow just two baserunners through the middle innings, a leadoff single in the fourth, and a leadoff walk in the seventh. Otherwise, he was getting outs and strikeouts to hold the score at 4-1 while Tampa Bay's bullpen was being equally effective against Houston's bats.

Cole would continue late into the game, working around a leadoff walk in the top of the seventh, then getting a 1-2-3 eighth including two strikeouts to bring him to ten on the night, his eleventh-straight start with double-digit strikeouts. He would not be asked to go further, having already provided his team with eight dominant innings of work while reaching a pitch count of 107. His final line in an incredible performance in ALDS Game 5: 8.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 10K, 1 HR.

Brantley and Altuve add insurance, Osuna closes it out

After Cole completed his final inning, Houston's offense broke through to score their first runs since the first inning, getting back-to-back solo home runs from Michael Brantley and Jose Altuve to extend the lead to 6-1. Roberto Osuna would enter the game with the five-run lead in the top of the ninth to close things out, and recorded a clean 1-2-3 inning to complete the blowout win at home.

The win in the decisive Game 5 advanced Houston to the ALCS for the third-straight season, and as holders of the best record in baseball, will stay at home to host Games 1 and 2 this weekend.

Up Next: Houston will now advance to the ALCS to face the New York Yankees. Game 1 of the series will be on Saturday in Houston at Minute Maid Park, with first pitch scheduled for 7:08 PM Central. The Astros are expected to start the series with Zack Greinke, considering they had to use Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole in Games 4 and 5 of the ALDS. The Yankees have not yet announced their starter.

The Astros playoff report is presented by APG&E.

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ROCKETS FALL TO WARRIORS

Critical takeaways from Rockets' 105-103 loss to Warriors

Rockets fall short against Warriors. Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

This wasn't the typical Houston Rockets-Golden St. Warriors game when Mike D' Antoni and Steve Kerr were having an offensive battle of wits. James Harden, who plays for the Brooklyn Nets, was nowhere in sight for the Rockets Friday night. Although the Rockets are in rebuild mode, it was still an interesting game. The intensity was high throughout the entire game. Emotions between Stephen Silas and Kerr were heavy, as they were yelling and jumping up-and-down along the sidelines.

A series of runs and back-and-forth scoring gave a slight reminder of the old rivalry between the Warriors and Rockets. Steph Curry was having a tough game, but with 5.1 seconds left, he was able to create great separation from a step back and drained an incredible midrange shot over Kevin Porter Jr. It was heartbreaking because Porter played great defense on Curry throughout the entire game, with Curry only making 6 out of 22 shots. Porter had a tremendous first-half defensively on Curry and recorded an 88.9 defensive rating. Porter had a good feel for guarding Curry, he didn't allow himself to switch away from him. He anticipated passing lanes and ripped Curry a couple of times.

Besides Porter playing great defense, the Rockets played good as a whole. They finished with 10 steals. Their main technique was to switch everything on defense, and Kenyon Martin Jr. and Christian Wood did a good job. It's never easy staying in front of Curry and Jordan Poole, but if they could hold their ground for five seconds, it became possible. Porter did a great job at times by communicating on defense, so he could tell Jalen Green and Eric Gordon when to switch.

And speaking of Green--- he had a strange night offensively. He went 0-11 from the field but made two great plays in the fourth quarter. Instead of Silas keeping Green on the bench because of his cold hand, he kept him in the game for learning purposes. Green made an outstanding play on Curry at the 2:52 mark in the 4th quarter. Before that, he missed a shot from three but fought hard for the rebound, then found a cutting Wood towards the rim. Green might of struggled, but the effort was there.

This was a tough loss for the Rockets, but they are steadily improving. The Rockets are 3-5 in their last five games.

Up next: The Rockets face the Spurs on Tuesday night.

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