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Atlanta and Tampa Fail to Clinch World Series Berths

Black-and-white image of man falling through hole

On Friday, both the Atlanta baseball club and Tampa Bay Rays had a chance to advance to the World Series. The Rays had taken 3-0 lead in the American League Championship Series but dropped two in a row, with one final chance to clinch before a decisive Game 7. The Atlanta franchise held a 3-1 advantage after Thursday’s victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Astros 7, Rays 4

W: Framber Valdéz; L: Blake Snell; S: Ryan Pressly

Series tied 3-3

The Rays sent 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner Snell to anchor the pitching staff in the clincher. He only lasted 4.0 innings, allowing two runs on three hits with four walks and four strikeouts. Snell was removed by manager Kevin Cash after the first two Astros batters reached in the 5th inning. Stopper Diego Castillo replaced him but gave up two more runs on three hits and one walk in 1.0 IP. The four-run rally gave the Astros a lead that they did not relinquish. Houston starter Valdéz recorded a quality start, allowing one run on three hits with nine strikeouts over 6.0 IP.

Tampa closed the gap to 7-4 heading into the 9th inning but was unable to rally. The Astros became the second team in MLB postseason history to force a Game 7 after falling into a 3-0 deficit. The other team to accomplish this feat, the 2004 Boston Red Sox, went on to win Game 7 and the 2004 World Series. Let’s hope history doesn’t repeat this year.

Game 7 will air at 8:37 PM ET today from PetCo Park in San Diego, California. Lance McCullers Jr. (3-3, 3.93 ERA) will face former 2017 Astros championship* teammate Charlie Morton (2-2, 4.74 ERA).

Dodgers 7, Braves 3

W: Blake Treinen; L: Will Smith

The Atlanta club took an early lead in their potential clinching game but failed to hold off the Dodgers offense. Opener A.J. Minter pitched three scoreless innings for Atlanta, but the next man out, Tyler Matzek, served up a home run to Corey Seager. In the 6th inning, Atlanta pitcher Smith faced the LA catcher also named Will Smith in the matchup fans had been awaiting all week. The batter won the battle, launching a three-run home to left field to give LA a 4-2 advantage.

In the 8th inning, Seager homered again to extend the LA lead to five runs. With a four-run lead in the 9th inning, Kenley Jansen took the mound for the Dodgers, striking out the side to keep Los Angeles alive until tomorrow. Game 6 will air this afternoon at 4:38 PM ET. Probable starters remain TBD.