Rays hoping third time’s the charm for eliminating Astros

Tanya Simon
October 17, 2020

If the Houston Astros are showing anything in their ALCS matchup with the Tampa Bay Rays, it's resiliency. "This feels good, '" the shortstop said. "I said, 'then you got it.' It was more like old school and doing the thing that I thought was right, and we came out ahead".

"I said, 'Go head on, man, ' " Baker said. "We've just got to get the bats going a little bit", Rays manager Kevin Cash said.

The Astros' offense has been struggling, with a grand total of five runs in this series, but Tuesday night was more just about the Rays' defense preventing runs. In 2019, he had a 1.78 ERA in 60.2 innings and continued to be an effective pitcher in 2020, pitching to a 4.08 ERA in 57.1 innings of work and finishing with the highest K/9 rate in the majors (min. 50 IP) at 14.28. And they had to do all that while starting a rookie pitcher who had one previous big league start.

"Boy, that will go down as one of the greatest games in history and hopefully go down as one of the greatest comebacks in history after two more games", said Baker, the first manager to take five different teams to the playoffs.

The game was dominated by solo home runs, including three by the Rays, capped by Ji-Man Choi's game-tying bomb to lead off the top of the eighth.

Rookie Randy Arozarena continued his remarkable postseason by hitting his sixth homer in 12 games, and Brandon Lowe also connected for the Rays, who need one more win to reach the Fall Classic for the second time.

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Baker said his prayer needed to be answered because if the game went extra innings he was going to have to use Framber Valdez, which would make the left-hander unavailable to start Game 6.

Springer led off the bottom of the first by sending Curtiss' first pitch onto the second balcony of the Western Metal Supply Co.

Houston right fielder Josh Reddick didn't even look as the ball left the ballpark.

That proved to be exactly what Garcia did as he got through two scoreless innings. He struck out Brosseau on a 3-2 pitch to end the threat.

Tampa Bay's John Curtiss vs. Houston's Luis Garcia. However, Springer hit a two-run homer of his own in the bottom of the fifth to give the Astros back the 4-2 lead. Austin Meadows followed with a line drive single, putting runners on first and second with one out.

After Greinke allowed consecutive singles by Manuel Margot and Austin Meadows with one out, Baker came out for a chat and chose to let the veteran right-hander continue. "Tomorrow is huge. I mean, we're one step closer to getting over that mountain, and that hurdle that seemed way off in the distance a couple days ago".

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