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Yankees advance, NLDS matchups headed to Game 5s

A busy Monday saw the Yankees clinch a berth in the ALCS, while the Nationals and Cardinals each won to force a Game 5 in their respective LDS matchups. We break down the full day of action.

The New York Yankees celebrate their victory in the locker room after defeating the Minnesota Twins in game three of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Target Field. Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

We have our first league championship series participant following a wild day of MLB playoffs action. The New York Yankees advanced to the ALCS, while the Houston Astros are left to clinch another day. In the National League, both home teams won Game 4 to fend off elimination and force a pair of deciding Game 5s on Wednesday.

Rays 10, Astros 3

The Astros entered the ALDS as a heavy fasvorite for the series and the odds-on favorite for the World Series. The Rays were not prepared to go home just quite yet, however. After Houston took a 1-0 lead in the first, Tampa pounded Zack Greinke for eight runs in the second, third and fourth innings to take a commanding lead they never relinquished. Four homers provided Charlie Morton with all the help he needed. The Rays ace went five innings, giving up one run on three hits and striking out nine.

The Rays host Game 4 on Tuesday, with first pitch set for 7:07 p.m. Tampa sends out Diego Castillo to face Justin Verlander in quite the David and Goliath matchup.

Cardinals 5, Braves 4

We got our wildest game of the divisional round as the Cardinals beat the Braves on a walk-off sacrifice fly in the tenth inning. St. Louis led 3-1 heading into the fifth, but a Matt Carpenter error opened the door for Atlanta to take a 4-3 lead. Dansby Swanson hit a one-out double in the fifth and advanced to third on a passed ball. Matt Carpenter committed an error that allowed Swanson to score and Adam Duvall to get safely to first. Ronald Acuna Jr.’s subsequent out would have ended the inning, but instead Ozzie Albies cranked a two-run homer to give the Braves the lead.

Yadier Molina tied it back up in the bottom of the eighth with a clutch two-out single to play Paul Goldschmidt, and he sent the fans home happy in the tenth with sacrifice fly to score Kolten Wong. The two teams square off Wednesday at 5:02 p.m. in Atlanta. Jack Flaherty will start for the Cardinals and Mike Foltynewicz starts for the Braves.

Nationals 6, Dodgers 1

Nationals starter Max Scherzer has had his bumps in the road when the playoffs arrive, but he put together a huge seven inning outing in Game 4. Scherzer gave up a first inning homer to Justin Turner, and then settled down to get through seven innings amidst threats of a rain delay. He struck out seven and gave up four hits on 109 pitches.

The Nationals tied the game in the third inning on an Anthony Rendon sacrifice fly, and then took a 2-1 lead in the fifth on a Rendon single. They broke the game open three batters later when franchise legend Ryan Zimmerman hit a three-run homer.

The two teams meet Wednesday at 8:37 p.m. in Los Angeles. Stephen Strasburg will start for the Nationals, while Walker Buehler will start for the Dodgers.

Yankees 5, Twins 1

The Yankees continue to torment the Twins in October. New York completed the sweep and have now won 13 straight playoff games against the Twins. Gleyber Torres was the start of the game for the Bronx Bombers, going 3-for-4 with a home run and two doubles. Luis Severino went four innings giving up four hits and no runs, and the bullpen handled the rest of the game.

The Yankees advance to the ALCS and will face the winner of the Astros-Rays series. Game 1 of the ALCS is set for Saturday, October 12th.