MLB

Astros sweep Yankees in ALCS to clinch fourth World Series berth in six years

By Sports Desk October 23, 2022

The Houston Astros advanced to their fourth World Series in six years after completing an ALCS sweep of the New York Yankees with a 6-5 victory at Yankee Stadium on Sunday.

Alex Bregman delivered the go-ahead RBI in the seventh inning before Ryan Pressly closed it out for the Astros, who improved to 7-0 this postseason having already swept the Seattle Mariners.

Houston are only the third team to have swept both the Divisional and Championship Series in MLB history, following the Colorado Rockies (2007) and Kansas City Royals (2014) whom both lost in the World Series. The Astros will face the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series, after they completed a 4-1 NLCS triumph earlier on Sunday.

The Astros rallied from a 3-0 deficit after two innings, with Jeremy Pena's three-run blast over left field leading their four-run third-inning rally.

The Yankees regained their lead with Harrison Bader's two-out solo homer in the sixth inning - his fifth blast of the postseason - only for Houston to rally again with a two-run seventh from Yordan Alvarez's RBI single followed by Bregman's go-ahead RBI, with a shot into right-center field to drive in Pena.

It marked the fourth time the Yankees, who had a 99-win regular season, have been swept in a best-of-seven series in franchise history.

The Astros' pitching staff were pivotal again, as they have been all postseason, with starter Lance McCullers Jr having six strikeouts across five innings, while the bullpen was stingy.

Second baseman Jose Altuve, who had not had a postseason hit until Game 3, re-discovered some touch with two hits and a walk, scoring two runs.

Astros manager Dusty Baker has the chance to end his record of most games managed without winning the World Series.

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    Victor Wembanyama wants victories, not individual feats, after he joined Michael Jordan in the NBA record books.

    Wembanyama became just the second NBA rookie, after Jamaal Tinsley in 2001, to post at least five points, five rebounds, five assists, five steals and five blocks in a single game. He is just the second player to have five blocks and as many steals in successive games, after the great Jordan.

    However, his efforts proved fruitless for the San Antonio Spurs, who lost 113-108 to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.

    Wembanyama finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, five steals and five blocks. He is just the 15th player in the NBA to record a 5x5.

    But for the overall number one draft pick, wins are the priority.

    "To me, it's secondary," Wembanyama said. "Hopefully in the future, and think this is a good performance, but as of today, I can't be satisfied with a loss."

    LeBron James returned from injury to score 30 points for the Lakers, while Anthony Davis had 28 points and 13 rebounds.

    "Of course it was challenging [going against] one of the best duos in the league," Wembanyama said of facing two of the NBA's star players.

    "But still, I think it's a lot of teams we beat if we play this way.

    "But I think it came down to maturity at the end because each and every one of us was making a mistake each of the times.

    "Little mistakes, missing a layup, turning the ball over. We went down, we went back to down four, down seven multiple times and that's when we did mistakes. So yeah, it's maturity."

    Even though the Spurs have lost 10 of their last 11 games, James believes the sky truly is the limit for Wembanyama.

    "He doesn't have a ceiling," James said.

    "He can do whatever he wants to do with his career. It seems like he enjoys the game. It seems like he puts in the work. Just from the outside looking in, I'm not with him on a day-to-day basis, but I said a long time ago how special he was, and it's literally that simple.

    "There are guys in our league that you have to account for any time you get around the rim or around the perimeter in our league history, and he sits right at the top of it, [if not] around the top, with all the greats.

    "He's one of them to have like a stellar rookie season. Guys that have come in and [dominated]. But, it's, can you sustain it? We've had guys that have come in and [have] just been really damn [good]."

    The Lakers returned to winning ways following their loss to the Golden State Warriors, but coach Darvin Ham was not entirely satisfied with the performance.

    "You want your team to constantly look within and try to make plays and force the other team to put you in uncomfortable positions," Ham said.

    "Not you put yourself in those uncomfortable positions, whether it's not sprinting back in transition or allowing teams to get two or three offensive rebounds. Or, you know, fouling because we're not in position because we're not doing our work early. And then going down the other end and not trusting the execution.

    "We've got a bunch of weapons, but they're useless if we don't do the little things, sprinting hard when we get the ball in transition, not turning it over, maintaining spacing, making sure we get hits on screens to create an advantage and making the simple, easy play."

  • Atletico Madrid 5-0 Las Palmas: Llorente and Correa get hosts back on track Atletico Madrid 5-0 Las Palmas: Llorente and Correa get hosts back on track

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    Llorente's double was his first since scoring twice in a match against Eibar in April 2021, while Correa – who also registered an assist – had not scored in more than two months prior to this fixture. Atleti were worthy winners, accumulating 2.29 xG to Las Palmas' 0.59.

  • Teams need to get to grips with Wembanyama, says Raptors coach Rajakovic Teams need to get to grips with Wembanyama, says Raptors coach Rajakovic

    Toronto Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic said teams must learn how to get to grips with Victor Wembanyama after the number one draft pick excelled in a win for the San Antonio Spurs.

    The Spurs ran out 122-99 winners over the Raptors on Monday.

    Wembanyama starred with a triple-double, entering the NBA record books in the process.

    With a triple-double of 27 points, 14 rebounds, 10 blocks and five assists.

    The 20-year-old became just the fifth player to record a triple-double that includes 25 points, 10 rebounds, 10 blocks and five assists since 1973-74, when blocks became an official statistic.

    Wembanyama joined Hakeem Olajuwon, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, David Robinson and Ralph Sampson on that exclusive list, and Raptors boss Rajakovic believes teams will have to adapt to the rookie's stature in skill in the years to come.

    "Wembanyama is the player who's going to play in this league for the next 15 years. We need to figure out how to attack and how to play against him," Rajakovic said.

    "Definitely a player who's unique with his size and shot-blocking ability. We've got to do a much better job of figuring out how to play against that."

    "I felt great today," Wembanyama said after becoming the fourth San Antonio player to record 10 blocks in a game. 

    "Great rhythm, started the game strong. I guess it's just the NBA, you know. We've got ups and downs in terms of shape, and today was an up day."

    "He did a little bit of everything," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of Wembanyama, who leads the league in blocked shots, and is now the first rookie with 150 blocks, 150 assists and 50 steals in a season since Tim Duncan in 1997-98.

    "Obviously he's an all-around, talented player. He's got a great feel for the game and it shows in a variety of ways, whether it's passing or making decisions, blocking shots."

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