Houston comes a game short of the sweep

Astros drop finale to Rays with Yankees on deck

Yordan Alvarez's good day at the plate wasn't enough for Houston against the Rays on Sunday. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Already having the series locked up by taking the first two games, the Astros entered the finale against the Rays on Sunday looking for the three-game sweep. The Rays would avoid it, getting some timely runs late to hand Houston the loss.

Final Score: Rays 5, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 15-13, tied for second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jeffrey Springs (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Brooks Raley (0-1)

Houston scores first, again

After three scoreless innings, with the Rays wasting a prime opportunity to score first in the bottom of the second, Houston would get on the board first with a Yordan Alvarez 424-foot solo home run in the top of the fourth. They would get runners on second and third with no outs in the top of the fifth, bringing both of them home on a sac fly by Jose Altuve and RBI single by Michael Brantley, extending the lead to 3-0.

Tampa Bay responds as teams trade runs

It looked like Cristian Javier would follow the same game plan as the last two starters in this series; take advantage of a lead by going deep into the game without allowing any runs. After four scoreless, Javier would put himself into trouble in the bottom of the fifth, issuing a walk and hitting a batter, putting two on base to set up a three-run game-tying homer. He would finish that inning before the Astros moved to their bullpen the rest of the way. Javier's final line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 81 P.

Houston regained the lead in the top of the sixth, with Yordan Alvarez leading the inning off with a double, then scoring on an RBI single by Myles Straw. Tampa Bay answered back immediately in the home half of the same inning against Byan Abreu, with a one-out double eventually turning into a run after a wild pitch and error.

Rays jump in front late and avoid the sweep

Still tied 4-4 in the bottom of the seventh, Brooks Raley took over on the mound but would only manage one out against his three batters, leaving a runner on first and third for Ryne Stanek. Stanek couldn't erase the inherited runners, giving up an RBI single to put Tampa Bay back in front 5-4 before the inning was over.

After the Astros went down in order in the top of the eighth, Kent Emanuel took over out of the bullpen to try and keep it a one-run game. He did his job, getting a 1-2-3 frame with two strikeouts, but the Astros would not mount a rally in the top of the ninth, ending this series with a loss.

Up Next: The Astros will have a day off tomorrow as they travel to New York in advance of a highly-anticipated three-game series with the Yankees. The opener will get started at 6:05 PM Central on Tuesday, with Zack Greinke (2-1, 3.44 ERA) on the mound for Houston and Domingo German (2-2, 4.05 ERA) for New York.

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