Welcome to the roundup of must-see sports news from Thursday, highlighted by the Astros beating the Rays in Game 5 to advance to the ALCS, the Patriots turning it on late to get by the Giants and the Mystics winning their first WNBA title.
All this and more as we get you up to speed with the sports world on this Friday!
Gerrit Cole’s Dominance Leads Astros to Finish Off Rays; Houston Advances to Third Straight ALCS
The Houston Astros were led by another dominant start by Gerrit Cole as they finally finished off the scrappy Tampa Bay Rays, beating them 6-1 in the decisive ALDS Game 5.
Cole, who had struck out 15 batters in 7 2/3 shutout innings in Game 2, took the ball again on Thursday night, but this time with the season on the line for the team who won a MLB-best 107 games in the regular season.
The 29-year old was not phased by the moment, as he dominated the Rays over eight innings, striking out 10 and allowing only a run on two hits. Cole is on a run that transcends dominance, going 18-0 in his last 24 starts and striking out 10 or more batters in his last 11 games.
More mind-blowing statistics from this series – Cole faced 54 batters, struck out 25, allowed only six hits and produced 52 swings and misses.
As if Cole needed much run support, the Astros jumped on Rays starter Tyler Glasnow on Thursday, scoring four runs in the bottom of the first inning. The first four batters got base hits and came around to score.
The Rays, who stole Games 3 and 4 to surprisingly send this series the distance, hung in after the first inning, with their collection of pitchers holding the Astros scoreless from the second inning through the seventh.
Michael Brantley and José Altuve put the bow on the clincher in the bottom of the eighth, when they struck back-to-back homers that electrified Minute Maid Park.
The Astros advance to their third consecutive American League Championship Series, where they will meet the New York Yankees in a highly-anticipated matchup that pits the top two American League teams vying for a berth to the World Series.
The Astros will have home-field and host the first two games in Houston on Saturday and Sunday, before the series shifts to the Bronx on Tuesday.
Patriots Get by Giants to Remain Unbeaten; Defense Carries New England in Ugly Affair
The New England Patriots improved to 6-0 on the season with an ugly win over the New York Giants on Thursday Night Football.
The combination of Tom Brady and the Patriots’ offense struggling and the Giants defense coming up with big plays made the majority of the contest a lot closer than experts had predicted.
Special teams and defense accounted for 14 points on the night for the Patriots, as Chase Winovich returned a blocked punt for a six-yard touchdown in the first quarter and Kyle Van Noy scooped up a Giants fumble in the fourth quarter and returned it for a 22-yard TD.
The Patriots defense was a stern test for Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones. The reigning champions picked him off three times on the night and held him for 15-for-31 threw the air for only 161 yards. Jones, who was without his three main offensive weapons – Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard – threw for a TD and the three interceptions.
Brady completed 31-of-41 passes for 334 yards but was also picked off and lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown in the second quarter by the Giants’ Markus Golden.
The 42-year-old Brady did rush for two one-yard scores and moved past Peyton Manning into second place on the NFL’s all-time passing yards list.
Next up for the undefeated Patriots will be a matchup with the winless Jets on the road on Monday, Oct. 21.
Mystics Outlast Sun in Championship-Deciding Game 5, Hoist First WNBA Title
The Washington Mystics finished off their season of redemption by winning their first WNBA championship on Thursday night, beating the Connecticut Sun 89-78 in the winner-take-all Game 5.
The Mystics, who were swept in last season’s WNBA Finals by the Seattle Storm, trailed by nine points half-way through the third quarter but rallied to take the lead in the fourth.
League MVP Elena Delle Donne, who was playing with three herniated disks in her back, scored four of her 21 points during a huge 8-0 run in the fourth quarter that gave the Mystics the lead 80-72 with under three minutes to play.
Emma Meesseman led the way for the Mystics with 22 points and was named the WNBA Finals MVP.
DON’T MISS THESE STORIES: Rounding Up the Top Headlines
- Boxing’s welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. injured in serious one-car accident
- Warriors’ Steph Curry scores 40 points in 25 minutes in preseason game
- Phillies fire manager Gabe Kapler after two seasons
- Padres pitcher arrested after allegedly trying to break into home through dog door
- HEAVY.COM: Week 6 Fantasy Sleepers
WHAT’S ON TAP IN THE SPORTS WORLD ON FRIDAY
NLCS GAME 1: Washington Nationals at St. Louis Cardinals
Fresh off beating the two top seeds in the NL, the Cardinals and Nationals face-off in the NLCS. The Cardinals will throw Aníbal Sánchez in Game 1, while the Nationals will counter with Miles Mikolas.
WHEN: Tonight, 8:08 p.m. ET
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