Welcome to the roundup of must-see sports news from Friday, highlighted by the Nationals and the Braves bouncing back with series-tying wins and the Astros and Yankees rolling to opening victories in the Division Series.
We’ll also take a look at unranked Cincinnati stunning No. 18 UCF in college football.
All this and more as we get you up to speed with the sports world on this Saturday!
NLDS ROUNDUP: Nationals Come up Aces to Knock-Off Dodgers; Braves Bounce Back to Even Series
The Washington Nationals pulled out all the stops to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2 on the road on Friday night, drawing even in the NLDS.
Stephen Strasburg was stellar for the Nationals, throwing 6 innings on only two days of rest, striking out ten batters while allowing only a run on three hits to the potent Dodgers’ offense.
Max Scherzer, who has been tabbed to start Sunday’s Game 3, was called upon in relief to pitch the 8th inning and was electric, striking out the side.
The Nationals had to hold on for dear life in the bottom of the 9th, as the Dodgers loaded the bases with two outs, down two runs.
But Daniel Hudson saved the day for the Nats, striking out Corey Seager to end the game and tie the series at one with the Dodgers.
The NL East-winning Nationals will host Games 3 and 4 back in Washington, as they try and pull off the huge upset over the Dodgers, who won 106 games in the regular season.
Braves’ Unsung Heroes Step Up to Draw Even in Series
The Atlanta Braves received huge performances from two players that spent a chunk of the season in Triple-A this year, which led them to a series-tying win over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 2 of the NLDS on Friday.
Facing a must-win game after dropping the first game at home on Thursday, the Braves were carried by Mike Foltynewicz who outdueled the Cardinals’ ace Jack Flaherty, pitching seven shutout innings with seven strikeouts and only three hits allowed.
Adam Duvall, who had initially failed to make the team earlier during the year, pinch-hit for Foltynewicz, who was working on a gem, in the bottom of the 7th to the dismay of the Atlanta crowd. But the boos quickly turned to an explosion of cheers as Duvall took Flaherty deep for a two-run bomb to center field, to give the Cardinals a 3-0 lead, which would end up being the final score.
Duvall’s homer was a stunning moment, considering where he had come from this season and that it was off of Flaherty who was all but unhittable in the second half this year, posting an insane 0.91 ERA.
This best-of-5 series has the feeling of one that will go the distance. With the series knotted at one game apiece, pivotal Game 3 will be held in St. Louis on Sunday at 4:10 p.m. ET and can be seen on TBS.
ALDS ROUNDUP: Astros Liftoff With 6-2 Win Over Rays; Yankees Continue Winning Ways Against Twins in Playoffs
The Houston Astros kick-started their 2019 postseason on Friday afternoon, beating the Tampa Bay Rays 6-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS.
The Astros showed off during their postseason opener why they were MLB’s most dominant team this year, as they were backed by a dominant pitching performance and timely offensive production.
Justin Verlander pitched a stellar game, as he threw seven shutout innings, struck out eight and only allowed one hit.
The 36-year-old continues to re-write the postseason record books. Friday’s win was Verlander’s 14th career postseason victory, which ties him with Hall of Famer Tom Glavine for third all-time, according to MLB.com.
Verlander’s eight K’s bumped his career playoff total up to 175, which moves him into sole possession of third place on the all-time postseason strikeout list. He is now in reach of the all-time lead, as he trails only Andy Pettitte (183 strikeouts) and John Smoltz (199).
The Astros broke open a scoreless pitchers’ duel between Verlander and the Rays’ Tyler Glasnow in the bottom of the 5th on Friday, when José Altuve hit a two-run home run and two more runs scored on a critical dropped popup by second baseman Brandon Lowe with two outs in the inning.
Houston, who won 107 games in the regular season, will send Gerrit Cole to the mound tonight in Game 2. Cole won 20 games this season and is 16-0 with a 1.78 ERA in his last 22 starts. Tampa Bay will counter with the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, Blake Snell. Tonight’s game is scheduled for 9:07 p.m. ET and can be seen on FS1.
Yankees Put Up Ten-Spot on Twins in Opener to Draw First Blood
In a matchup of the top two home run-hitting teams in the league, the New York Yankees hit two long balls and got clutch hitting up and down their deep lineup to take the first game in their ALDS series with the Minnesota Twins, 10-4.
DJ LeMahieu led the offensive barrage for the Yankees, driving in four runs with a solo home run in the 6th inning and a three-run, bases loaded-clearing double in the 7th to break open the game.
The AL Central champion Twins jumped out to a 2-0 lead on Friday, but the Yankees quickly responded in the bottom of the 3rd when they put up three runs.
With the game tied at 3 in the bottom of the 5th, Gleyber Torres got the biggest hit of the night when he lined a two-run double down the line with the bases loaded.
The Twins have now lost a major league-record 14 straight playoff games, with 11 of them coming at the hands of the Yankees since 2004.
Minnesota will look to snap the decade-and-a-half worth of torment on Monday when they head back home for Game 3.
DON’T MISS THESE STORIES: Rounding Up the Top Headlines
- Unranked Cincinnati upsets No. 18 UCF 27-24
- Sam Darnold, Saquon Barkley and Jalen Ramsey all ruled out for Sunday
- Redskins to start Colt Mccoy vs. Patriots, over Dwayne Haskins, Case Keenum
- Conor McGregor charged with assault for Dublin bar punch
- USWNT coach Jill Ellis gets record win in 2-0 victory over South Korea
- College receives D-I invite after being booted from D-III for being too dominant
- HEAVY.COM: Fantasy Football Week 5 Sleepers
WHAT’S ON TAP IN THE SPORTS WORLD ON SATURDAY
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: No. 7 Auburn (5-0) at No. 10 Florida (5-0)
Huge postseason implications are riding on this week’s marquee matchup featuring two top ten undefeated teams – Auburn and Florida. The old SEC rivals will meet for the first time in eight years today in the Swamp.
WHEN: Today, 3:30 p.m. ET
AL DIVISION SERIES GAME 2: Minnesota Twins at New York Yankees
The Yankees look to keep rolling against the Twins in the postseason after winning Game 1, 10-4.
WHEN: Tonight, 5:07 p.m. ET
SERIES: Yankees lead 1-0
AL DIVISION SERIES GAME 2: Tampa Bay Rays at Houston Astros
The top seed in the AL, the Astros, will look to take the first two games at home when they send 20-game winner Gerrit Cole to the hill. The AL Wild Card-winning Rays will have the reigning AL Cy Young winner, Blake Snell, on the mound trying to even the best-of-five series at one.
WHEN: Tonight, 9:07 p.m. ET
SERIES: Astros lead 1-0
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: No. 25 Michigan State (4-1) at No. 4 Ohio State (5-0)
Undefeated Ohio State hosts No. 25 Michigan State tonight in a battle of Big Ten rivals at Ohio Stadium.
WHEN: Tonight, 7:30 p.m. ET
Missed Yesterday’s Roundup? Click here for it.