Welcome to the roundup of must-see sports news from Tuesday, highlighted by the Tampa Bay Rays pushing the 107-win Houston Astros to the brink with a stunning Game 4 win and the Connecticut Sun forcing a WNBA championship-deciding Game 5 with the Washington Mystics.
All this and more as we get you up to speed with the sports world on this Wednesday!
HOUSTON, YOU’VE GOT A PROBLEM: Rays Jump on Verlander, Astros to Send Series to Surprising Game 5
The Tampa Bay Rays are now just one win away from shocking the world after they stunned the Houston Astros for the second straight day to force a do-or-die Game 5.
Facing elimination for the second time in as many days, the Rays attacked the Astros’ Justin Verlander right out the gate, scoring three first-inning runs.
Tommy Pham got the scoring started with a solo home run that sent Tropicana Field into a frenzy. Travis d’Arnaud and Joey Wendle added RBI base hits to give the Rays a 3-0 lead.
Willy Adames made the score 4-0 with a solo blast in the fourth inning and it wasn’t long after that Verlander was removed from the game after going just 3 2/3 innings. Verlander was on short rest, having had pitched seven shutout innings in Game 1, and the Rays finally broke through, ending a 19 1/3 innings scoreless streak against the All-Star right-hander.
The Rays used a full array of arms on Tuesday to shut down the high-powered Astros, as they began the game with an opener, Diego Castillo, and proceeded to use five additional pitchers out of the bullpen.
The play of the night came in the fourth inning when the Astros were threatening to get on the scoreboard. Yordan Alvarez hit a line-drive double off the wall in right-center field and it looked like Jose Altuvé was going to score for the Astros, but the Rays executed a textbook perfect relay when center fielder Kevin Kiermaier hit the cut-off man Adames who then threw an absolute strike home to catcher d’Arnaud to nab Altuvé just in time for the out.
With the series now tied at two games apiece, the Astros and Rays will play a win-or-go-home Game 5 on Thursday back at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
Not too many people would have picked the team with the lowest payroll in baseball to push the 107-win Astros to the brink – especially after having had dropped the first two games of the series.
But, this is October baseball. Anything can happen. We can’t wait until Thursday!
Sun Save Season, Beat Mystics to Force a WNBA Championship-Deciding Game 5
The Connecticut Sun withstood a furious second-half comeback by the Washington Mystics on Tuesday night, beating them 90-86 to send the WNBA Finals to a decisive Game 5.
With their backs to the wall and facing elimination, the Sun jumped out to a 16-point halftime lead but saw the Mystics rally to tie the game in the third quarter and take a five-point lead in the fourth.
The two teams who are vying for their first title traded three-point baskets in a wild stretch with under four minutes to play. The Sun then stepped up their defensive pressure and held the Mystics scoreless in the final 2:10, ultimately holding on for the four-point win.
Alyssa Thomas was just short of recording the first triple-double in Finals history, as she had 17 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds for the Sun.
Jonquel Jones led the way for the Sun with 18 points and 13 rebounds.
The Mystics and Sun now head back to D.C. where they will play one game for the WNBA Championship on Thursday night.
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WHAT’S ON TAP IN THE SPORTS WORLD ON WEDNESDAY
NL DIVISION SERIES GAME 5: St. Louis Cardinals at Atlanta Braves
The Cardinals and the Braves meet in the first of two series-deciding Game 5’s in the National League Division Series on Wednesday. The Cardinals will send their ace Jack Flaherty (11-8, 2.75 ERA) to the mound against the Braves’ Mike Foltynewicz (8-6, 4.54 ERA).
WHEN: Tonight, 5:02 p.m. ET
SERIES: Series tied 2-2
NL DIVISION SERIES GAME 5: Washington Nationals at Los Angeles Dodgers
The top seed in the NL, the Dodgers, will face a do-or-die Game 5 at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday against the Nationals. A classic pitching matchup between Stephen Strasburg (18-6, 3.32 ERA) and Walker Buehler (14-4, 3.26 ERA) will go a long way in deciding who punches their ticket to the NLCS.
WHEN: Tonight, 8:37 p.m. ET
SERIES: Series tied 2-2
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