Top stories of 2019 (#6): Astros fall in seven games, Cole leaves but Verlander wins Cy Young

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HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 19: Alex Bregman #2 of the Houston Astros hits an RBI and reachers first base on a fielders choice against the New York Yankees during the sixth inning in game six of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 19, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

HOUSTONEditor’s note: Through the end of the year, is looking back at the biggest stories of the year, based on what was most popular on our website this year.

#7: Tropical Storm Imelda slips in, causes major flooding and kills at least 5 people

The Houston Astros had a headline-making year in 2019 despite not winning the World Series.

The team finished with a 107-55 record in the regular season, which was the best record in Major League Baseball.

Here are some highlights:

Astros fall in seven games to the Nationals

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Academy Award-winning Actor and Astros fan Matthew McConaughey is on the field to announce “Play Ball!” before the first pitch in Game Seven of the 2019 World Series between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2019 in Houston.

With just three innings to go in Game 7, it looked like the Astros were ready to win their second World Series in three years.

But Howie Kendrick and Anthony Rendon homered in the seventh inning as the Nationals overcame a two-run deficit, beating the Astros to win the first title in franchise history.

Stephen Strasburg, lefty Patrick Corbin and the Nats brought the first World Series championship to the nation’s capital since ol’ Walter Johnson delivered the crown for the Senators in 1924.

For the 43,326 revved-up fans at Minute Maid Park for Game 7, it was a combination of shock and disappointment. So close to seeing José Altuve, Alex Bregman, George Springer and their Astros add to the title they won at Dodger Stadium two years ago, they watched this chance suddenly vanish.

“I’ve got a group of heartbroken men in there that did everything they could to try to bring a World Series championship to this city. And we fell one win shy,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said.

The Astros breezed to the AL West title, edged Tampa Bay in a five-game ALDS and topped the Yankees in the ALCS.

Astros ace Justin Verlander wins AL Cy Young Award

Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander was awarded his second AL Cy Young Award in the 2019 season.

Verlander beat out former teammate Gerrit Cole in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Verlander got 17 first-place votes compared to 13 for Cole.

The 36-year-old Verlander won his first Cy Young in 2011, when he was also named MVP and has since been a three-time runner-up.

Gerrit Cole has amazing year but leaves for the Yankees

Former Houston Astros pitcher Gerrit Cole signed an agreement with the New York Yankees after the postseason wrapped up. He got a nine-year deal worth $324 million.

Cole was drafted by the Yankees in the first round out of high school but chose to go to UCLA. He was then drafted by Pittsburgh. Traded after the 2017 season, he transformed his career in two seasons with the Astros.

He went 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA last season as the Astros reached the World Series, finishing second to teammate Justin Verlander in AL Cy Young Award balloting.

Brandon Taubman is seen at a Houston Astros news conference in this undated file image.

Astros assistant GM fired after inappropriate comments made to female reporters

The Houston Astros fired their assistant general manager Brandon Taubman after controversy flared from inappropriate comments he made to female reporters during celebrations following the American League Championship Series.

The story, first published by Sports Illustrated, claimed that during celebrations, Taubman had an “offensive and frightening” outburst during which the magazine said he “turned to a group of three female reporters, including one wearing a purple domestic-violence awareness bracelet, and yelled, half a dozen times, 'Thank God we got (Roberto) Osuna! I’m so f------ glad we got Osuna.” Taubman apologized for the comments that he claimed were misinterpreted.

The Sports Illustrated article claimed that the Astros were glossing over past allegations of domestic violence against Osuna when he was a pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays. After an investigation by Major League Baseball and the Houston Astros, the decision was made to fire Taubman right in the middle of the World Series. The team publicly apologized to the Sports Illustrated reporter who first reported the story.

Astros make headlines off the field

From new babies to weddings, the Astros made headlines off the field in 2019. Here are a few of them:

New Astros baby on board! Jose Altuve, wife expecting new baby

Carlos Correa, Daniella Rodriguez marry in Texas

Carlos Correa, fiancee address massage incident that led to injury

The Associated Press contributed to this report.