Springer, Valdéz help Astros top Rays 7-4, force ALCS Game 7
George Springer and José Altuve delivered big hits, Framber Valdéz pitched six brilliant innings and the Astros beat the Tampa Bay Rays for the third straight time, 7-4 Friday to force a deciding Game 7 of the AL Championship Series. Despite blowing a 3-0 series lead, they remain one win from the second World Series in franchise history — and one loss from joining the 2004 Yankees in ignominy. Game 7 on Saturday night will feature the pitchers who started and finished Houston’s Game 7 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2017 World Series. He has yet to win a World Series as a manager. As a player, he helped the Los Angeles Dodgers win four straight World Series games in 1981 after falling behind the New York Yankees 0-2.
Rays beat Mets 8-5, clinch 1st AL East title in 10 years
Tampa Bay Rays' Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, right, of Japan, celebrates with teammates after a baseball game against the New York Mets Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, in New York. The Tampa Bay Rays, long accustomed to doing more with less, figured out a way to maximize the division-clinching celebration they were allowed to enjoy during a 2020 season shortened by the coronavirus. Randy Arozarena homered twice and the Rays clinched their first AL East title in 10 years Wednesday night with an 8-5 victory over the New York Mets. Tampa Bay will be home at quirky Tropicana Field for a best-of-three first-round playoff series beginning next Tuesday. Tampa Bay, which began play in 1998, also won the AL East, home of two big-spending powers in the Yankees and Red Sox, in 2008 and 2010.