(KMOV.com) — The Cardinals may be out of the playoffs, but there's no denying that St. Louis remains well-represented during the MLB Postseason.
While former Cardinal Randy Arozarena's fingerprints were all over the Tampa Bay Rays' win over the Astros Saturday in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series—that's right, he homered once again—it was another player with local ties who officially closed the door on Houston's season.
Rays reliever and Webster Groves alum Pete Fairbanks struck out three Astros hitters and retired former Cardinal Aledmys Diaz with a fly out to right to send the Rays to the World Series Saturday night. The Rays won the game 4-2.
For the first time since 2008, your Tampa Bay Rays are heading to the World Series! pic.twitter.com/FBCVaji2xT— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) October 18, 2020
Fairbanks attended Webster Groves High School before pitching at the University of Missouri from 2013 to 2015. After enduring multiple Tommy John surgeries in his career, Fairbanks enjoyed a rapid rise through the minors last season with the Texas Rangers, making his MLB debut in June.
He was traded to Tampa Bay at the 2019 trade deadline, and has since become a trusted weapon out of the Rays bullpen with a 100-mph fastball and a sharp breaking ball in his pitching arsenal. In 27 appearances this regular season, Fairbanks recorded a 6-3 record with a 2.70 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 26.2 innings.
After allowing a couple inherited runners to score on a base hit that beat the shift in the eighth inning Saturday, Fairbanks forced Alex Bregman to whiff on a high fastball to get out of the jam. Protecting a 4-2 lead, Fairbanks then returned to the mound for the ninth, where he scattered a hit and earned two more strikeouts before inducing the final out on the first pitch he threw to Diaz.
To the surprise of absolutely no one, Randy Arozarena was named the Most Valuable Player of the ALCS after Tampa's Game 7 win. Traded to the Rays in January alongside Jose Martinez, Arozarena went 9-for-28 with four home runs in the series to propel his new team to the Fall Classic.
Who's Randy Arozarena? ALCS MVP.— Juan Toribio (@juanctoribio) October 18, 2020
Back in the World Series for the first time since 2008, the Rays await the winner of Sunday's Game 7 of the National League Championship Series between the Dodgers and Braves.
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