MLB

Rays vanquish Astros to reach MLB World Series, Dodgers force Game 7 in NLCS

The Tampa Bay Rays are World Series-bound for just the second time in their history after defeating the Houston Astros 4-2 on Saturday.

Rays vanquish Astros to reach MLB World Series, Dodgers force Game 7 in NLCS

The Tampa Bay Rays are World Series-bound for just the second time in their history after defeating the Houston Astros 4-2 in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series (ALCS). A series decider was needed in the ALCS after the Astros won 7-4 on Friday – becoming the second team in MLB history to fall 3-0 behind in a best-of-seven matchup and force a Game 7. But that is as good as it got for the Astros as the Rayschasing their first championship – advanced to their first World Series since 2008 on Saturday.

Moreton and Arozarena make history

Charlie Morton pitched 5.2 scoreless innings to set the tone for the Rays, allowing just two hits against his former team. Morton is the only pitcher in MLB history with four winner-take-all wins after Tampa Bay's success.

ALCS MVP Randy Arozarena hit a two-run homer in the first inning to give the Rays a 2-0 lead – a record-setting seventh home run by a rookie in a single postseason, per Stats Perform. Arozarena also became the first rookie with a go-ahead home run in a Game 7 since Miguel Cabrera's homer in Game 7 of the 2003 National League Championship Series.

Mike Zunino also homered for the Rays, while Pete Fairbanks became the first rookie to save a Game 7 since David Price in the 2008 ALCS – both sent Tampa Bay to the World Series.

Rays' possible rivals

The Rays will face either the Los Angeles Dodgers or Atlanta Braves in the World Series. The Dodgers forced a Game 7 in the National League Championship Series (NLCS) following Saturday's 3-1 triumph. Los Angeles used a three-run opening inning to top AtlantaJustin Turner and Corey Seager both homering for the Dodgers. Dodgers starter Walker Buehler pitched six scoreless innings, allowing seven hits and striking out six.