HOUSTON — Gerrit Cole pitched another playoff masterpiece and the Houston Astros jumped to a quick lead, turning back the Tampa Bay Rays 6-1 Thursday night in Game 5 to set up a titanic showdown with the New York Yankees in the AL Championship Series.

After fellow aces Zack Greinke and Justin Verlander were unable to close out the scrappy Rays on the road, Cole made sure Houston moved on. Given a 4-0 cushion in the first inning, he dominated through the eighth in the decisive game of the AL Division Series.

On deck, the heavyweight matchup so many fans wanted to see: 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.

Michael Brantley and Altuve put the finishing touches on this victory, hitting back-to-back home runs in the eighth. The Astros advanced to their third straight ALCS, and are aiming for their second World Series crown in that span.

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.

Ninth inning

Osuna took care of the Rays in the ninth as the Houston Astros advance to the American League Championship Series against New York!

Eighth inning

Gerrit Cole set the Rays down in order in the top of the eighth. Michael Brantley and Jose Altuve both went deep in the bottom of the inning. 6-1 Astros. Houston is 3 outs away from moving on to the ALCS. 

Seventh inning

After a d'Arnaud walk, Gerrit Cole got Sogard to fly out and Garcia to ground into an inning-ending double play. Josh Reddick singled in the bottom half of the inning, but was left at first base.  4-1 Astros.

Sixth inning

Gerrit Cole keeps rolling, retiring Tampa Bay in order again. A parade of relievers for Tampa bay is keeping the Astros offense in check.  Still 4-1.

Fifth inning

Gerrit Cole put the Rays down in order.  Michael Brantley walked in the bottom of the inning, but was stranded.  Still 4-1.

Fourth inning

Ji-Man Choi singled off Gerrit Cole, but was stranded. Astros went down in order in the bottom half of the inning. Astros still lead, 4-1.

Third inning

Gerrit Cole put the Rays down in order.  The Astros went down in order, too.

Second inning

The Rays answered when Eric Sogard homered to put the Rays on the board. 4-1 Astros. Gerrit Cole picked two more K's giving him 4 for the game so far. In the bottom of the frame, the Astros went down in order.

First inning

Gerritt Cole picked up where he left off, striking out the first two batters he faced before giving up a walk to Ji-Man Choi.  Travis dArnaud lined out to center to end the inning.  In the bottom of the inning, George Springer, Michael Brantley and Jose Altuve hit consecutive singles to give Houston a 1-0 lead.  Then Alex Bregman doubled to drive in Brantley and Altuve to give Houston a 3-0 lead.  And Yuli Gurriel singled to make it 4-0.  

RELATED: Custom shoe artists inspired by the Houston Astros

RELATED: Five things to know ahead of Rays-Astros Game 5

RELATED: Astros fall to Rays, 4-1; deciding Game 5 on Thursday in Houston