HOUSTON (AP) — All season long, it seemed inevitable. Yankees-Astros for the American League pennant.

“It’s the matchup that we wanted,” Houston shortstop Carlos Correa said. “It’s the matchup that everybody wants to watch. It’s a must-see. So everybody is going to be tuning in. It’s going to be fun.”

Houston made it happen Thursday night as Gerrit Cole pitched another playoff masterpiece and the Astros jumped to a quick lead, turning back the Tampa Bay Rays 6-1 in the deciding Game 5 of their AL Division Series.

On deck, the heavyweight matchup so many fans were anticipating: Jose Altuve and the 107-win Astros against Aaron Judge and the 103-win Yankees. Game 1 is Saturday night in Houston — the Astros won four of seven meetings this season.

After fellow aces Zack Greinke and Verlander were unable to close out the scrappy Rays on the road, Cole made sure Houston moved on.

Houston beat the Yankees in a seven-game ALCS on the way to its first championship in 2017. The Astros also won the 2015 AL wild-card game at Yankee Stadium.

Greinke, who took the loss in Game 3, is likely to start for Houston in Game 1 of the ALCS.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Enter your email to receive our latest sports news, contests and more directly to your inbox!