Houston lives to see another day

Astros avoid elimination with ALCS Game 4 win

Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

With the Astros having lost the first three games, an uphill battle presented itself to not only win the game to force another game but needed four straight to advance to the World Series. With the Rays carrying all the momentum into ALCS Game 4, Houston needed to get something going quick to shift things their way.

They would get another early spark from Jose Altuve, along with a strong start from Zack Greinke, to get into the win column in the ALCS. They make it a 3-1 series lead for the Rays, forcing a Game 5. Here is a quick recap of Game 4:

Final Score: Astros 4, Rays 3.

Series: TB leads 3-1.

Winning Pitcher: Zack Greinke.

Losing Pitcher: Tyler Glasnow.

Altuve brings in some early runs as Greinke has a solid start

For the third time this series, Jose Altuve would put the Astros ahead 1-0 in the first inning with a solo home run. This one was possibly the sweetest, changing the narrative off of his fielding miscues and back to his success at the plate. That success continued in his next at-bat in the bottom of the third, when he would get a rare (in this series) RBI with a runner in scoring position, a double to bring in Martin Maldonado, who worked a one-out walk earlier in the frame.

That put the Astros ahead 2-0, but the Rays would quickly respond in the top of the fourth against Zack Greinke, getting a two-run home run off the bat of Randy Arozarena to tie it up 2-2. Greinke would otherwise do well, pitching into the sixth when he would face some traffic with back-to-back one-out singles. Dusty Baker would come out to have a conversation with him, ultimately leaving him in, which proved to be the right call as he would make it through the inning. His final line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 1 HR, 93 P.

Astros force Game 5

Greinke would leave in line for the win, with that jam-escaping sixth inning taking place with a 4-2 lead. The two runs that had the Astros ahead came courtesy of George Springer, who would capitalize on a one-out single by Martin Maldonado by crushing a two-run go-ahead homer.

Cristian Javier would take over on the mound in the top of the seventh and erased a two-out single for a scoreless inning. He kept going in the top of the eighth, a perfect inning with two strikeouts. He would go back to the mound in the top of the ninth to try and finish it off, but after a leadoff walk, Dusty Baker would bring in Ryan Pressly. Despite allowing a two-out RBI-double, he would get the save to wrap up the win for Houston. The Astros avoid elimination with the victory and force another game in the ALCS as they try to become the second team to come back from down 3-0 in a best-of-seven series.

Up Next: ALCS Game 5 will start a bit earlier on Thursday, with first pitch at 4:07 PM Central. Neither team has announced who will start on the mound as the Astros try to keep the series going.

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The Astros have now lost five straight games and the starting pitching and bullpen have let them down over that stretch. Cristian Javier was recently demoted to help him build up his stamina so that he can pitch deeper in games as the team's 5th starter when the schedule demands a 5-man starting rotation. But in the meantime, the Astros could desperately use his help out of the bullpen, and he's likely headed for relief duty when Framber Valdez returns from injury anyway. So this begs the question, is a role as the team's fifth starter the best way to maximize Javier's abilities? Check out the video to find out.

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