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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Houston went yard several times

Astros take series from Angels with a home run parade

Houston homered their way to another series win Wednesday night. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

After losing the opener then winning an exciting game Tuesday night, the Astros were seeking another series victory by winning the rubber match on Wednesday. They would blast homers all through the night, pushing them over the Angels in the finale.

Final Score: Astros 9, Angels 1

Astros' Record: 20-17, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Brandon Bielak (2-2)

Losing Pitcher: Andrew Heaney (1-3)

Astros grab an early lead, Urquidy exits with injury

Houston made early noise in Wednesday night's game, with Jose Altuve turning around the very first pitch of the bottom of the first inning for a solo homer. A two-out single later in the inning set up Yuli Gurriel for his seventh home run and 30th RBI of the season, putting the Astros out to an early 3-0 lead.

Jose Urquidy looked in control through the first three innings, allowing just two hits while maintaining the lead. However, after recording the second out of the fourth, he would be visited by training and coaching staff on the mound before being removed, later diagnosed with posterior shoulder discomfort. Brandon Bielak would quickly enter the game, picking up where Urquidy left off by keeping the Angels off the board.

Tucker stays hot as Bielak locks in out of the bullpen

Still 3-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Kyle Tucker would extend his recent hot streak by putting two more runs on the board with a blast to extend the lead to 5-0. Bielak remained in the game in the top of the seventh, having allowed just one hit while retiring all other batters since entering in the top of the fourth. He made it through that inning, putting Los Angeles down 1-2-3, and stayed on the mound in the top of the eighth.

He wouldn't be able to get any further, allowing a leadoff walk followed by a single, putting runners on the corners and prompting Dusty Baker to go to the third pitcher of the night, Andre Scrubb. The Angels would get on the board with a sac fly to make it 5-1, but Scrubb would finish the inning with no further damage.

Astros continue the home run barrage to take the series

Yordan Alvarez would get the run back with Houston's fourth dinger of the night, a solo shot to make it 6-1. They continued to pour it on, with Chaz McCormick joining the home run parade with a three-run blast later in the inning, making it 9-1. Joe Smith would take over on the mound in the top of the ninth, finishing off the lopsided win to give Houston the series victory as they turn the page to another division opponent.

Up Next: Having already faced the rest of the division in 2021 multiple times, the Astros will have their first series against the Texas Rangers starting Thursday at 7:10 PM Central at Minute Maid Park. In the opener, Cristian Javier (3-1, 2.90 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston, going up against Mike Foltynewicz (1-3, 4.50 ERA).

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