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It’s all on the line for Rays, Astros

AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith Houston Astros starting pitcher Gerrit Cole delivers to a Tampa Bay Rays batter during the first inning during Game 2 of a baseball American League Division Series in Houston. The Astros and their heavyweight rotation have only one chance left to knock out the pesky Rays. It's up to Gerrit Cole in Game 5 on Oct. 10.

HOUSTON (AP) – Houston Astros ace Gerrit Cole has won a franchise-record 17 straight decisions heading into the deciding Game 5 of their AL Division Series against visiting Tampa Bay. The winner meets the New York Yankees in the AL Championship Series starting Saturday.

Cole is 17-0 in 23 starts since a May 22 loss to the Chicago White Sox. He has allowed 92 hits over 154 1/3 innings during that span, striking out 241 and walking 32. That includes an outstanding outing in a 3-1 Game 2 win over the Rays, when he struck out 15, didn’t walk a batter until his final one, and allowed four hits over 7 2/3 scoreless innings.

Tyler Glasnow starts for the Rays after taking a 6-2 loss in the opener, when he gave up two runs and four hits in 4 1/3 innings, including Jose Altuve’s go-ahead, two-run homer in the fifth.

Both starters came up with the Pirates organization and were teammates in Pittsburgh from 2016-17.

The Yankees could be getting back a pair of injured players for the ALCS.

CC Sabathia threw a bullpen Wednesday and manager Aaron Boone said the 39-year-old left-hander is feeling “considerably better.” Sabathia was replaced by left-hander Tyler Lyons on the Division Series roster, and Lyons pitched a perfect inning in the second game of the three-game sweep against Minnesota.

Center fielder Aaron Hicks, who last played on Aug. 3, has recovered from a right elbow flexor strain and returned to New York from the team’s complex in Tampa, Florida.

Rosters are due at 10 a.m. local time the day of the opener.

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