Rays avoid elimination and force a Game 4 with the Astros

Astros playoff report presented by APG&E: Astros drop ALDS Game 3 with 10-3 loss to Rays

Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Houston looked in control after the first inning of Monday's ALDS Game 3, having forced Charlie Morton to throw over thirty pitches while allowing a solo home run to Jose Altuve. In the bottom of the inning, Zack Greinke had a sharp 1-2-3 frame. Things would deteriorate quickly, though, as Greinke would be hit around en route to a disappointing day, allowing the Rays to win Game 3 by a score of 10-3 and force a Game 4 on Tuesday.

Final Score: Rays 10, Astros 3.

Series: HOU leads 2-1.

Winning Pitcher: Charlie Morton.

Losing Pitcher: Zack Greinke.

Altuve gives Houston an early spark

With an ALDS series sweep in reach, Jose Altuve provided the first highlight of the day by hammering a pitch from Charlie Morton to center field for a solo home run to put the Astros ahead 1-0 in the top of the first. After the Rays would get a big three-run go-ahead home run in the bottom of the second, Altuve tried to shift the momentum back Houston's way with a leadoff double in the top of the third but would get left stranded.

Greinke doesn't meet expectations 

Zack Greinke looked like he may be in for a very successful day after his nine-pitch first inning with two strikeouts. That changed, however, in the bottom of the second as Greinke would allow a one-out single then hit a batter with two outs, putting two on base for a huge home run by Kevin Kiermaier to give the Rays a 3-1 lead.

After back-to-back strikeouts to start the bottom of the third to get back on track, Greinke would make another mistake to Ji-Man Choi, who would extend the lead to 4-1 with a solo home run. Brandon Lowe would join in on the home run barrage, leading off the bottom of the fourth with another to push the lead to four runs at 5-1. Greinke would get two outs into the fourth before allowing a walk to prompt A.J. Hinch out of the dugout to make a call to the bullpen for Hector Rondon. Greinke's final line: 3.2 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 3 HR.

Rays continue to pour it on and force a Game 4

Rondon would only face one batter, and that would result in a single to put runners on first and second with two outs. The Astros would make another call to the bullpen, this time for Wade Miley. Miley did not look any better in this appearance than his starts in a disappointing September, allowing a two-RBI double then RBI-single to his first two batters, blowing the game open to 8-1 before he could get out of the inning.

With a chance to hit against Tampa Bay's bullpen in the top of the sixth after Charlie Morton's day was complete, the Astros took advantage by getting two runners on base for a two-RBI single by Yuli Gurriel to trim the lead to 8-3. The Rays would get one of those back immediately against Miley in the bottom of the inning, hitting a leadoff solo home run to push the lead back to 9-3.

Miley would continue on the mound and get into the bottom of the seventh inning before an error and single put two runners on with one out, resulting in another call to the bullpen to bring in Joe Smith. He would allow a sacrifice fly for the second out, extending Tampa Bay's lead to 10-3 before finishing the frame.

That score would go final as the Rays bullpen would hold the Astros to their three runs, avoiding elimination and forcing a Game 4 at Tropicana Field on Tuesday.

Up Next: Game 4 of the ALDS will be on Tuesday. The start time of the game will depend on the outcome of the Twins and Yankees ALDS Game 3 on Monday night. If the Yankees sweep, the Astros and Rays would be the lone game of the day and start at 6:07 PM Central. If the Twins force a Game 4, then the Houston/Tampa Bay Game 4 would get underway at 3:15 PM Central. The Astros are expected to trust the ball with Jose Urquidy to start Game 4, while the Rays have not yet announced who they will send to the mound.

** UPDATE: The Astros have announced Justin Verlander as the starter for Tuesday's Game 4. He will pitch on three-days rest after a 100-pitch outing in Game 1 this past Friday.

The Astros playoff report is presented by APG&E.

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

In what was expected to be a fierce pitcher's duel, Game 1 of the 2019 World Series saw some big offensive moments in the early innings as the Nationals erased an early 2-0 deficit with five unanswered runs to take a 5-2 lead against Gerrit Cole. They would hold on to that lead and take Game 1 against the Astros, 5-4. Washington's star of the night was Juan Soto, who went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, including a solo home run to fuel the Nationals to a 1-0 series lead. Here is a recap of the game:

Final Score: Nationals 5, Astros 4.

Series: Nationals lead 1-0.

Winning Pitcher: Max Scherzer.

Losing Pitcher: Gerrit Cole.

Astros take an early lead

Although the Nationals would record the first hit of the night on a leadoff single in the top of the inning, it would be the Astros who would get the first runs of the night in the bottom of the first inning. George Springer worked a leadoff walk to start the frame, followed by Jose Altuve, who drilled a single to put two on base. Both would advance a base after a wild pitch to move Springer to third, followed by a steal by Altuve, then Yuli Gurriel drove them in on a two-RBI double off the left-center field wall to give Houston the quick 2-0 lead.

The Nationals immediately cut the lead in half in the top of the second, getting a solo home run by Ryan Zimmerman off of Gerrit Cole to straightaway center-field to make it a 2-1 game. The Astros threatened to extend their lead in the bottom of the third after getting runners on second and third with two outs on a bloop single that fell in by Gurriel, but a strikeout by Carlos Correa would end the inning.

Nationals roar back with five unanswered runs

The Nationals were able to fully erase the 2-0 deficit in the top of the fourth. It came on the second solo home run allowed by Gerrit Cole on the night, this one a leadoff homer to Juan Soto to tie the game. Yordan Alvarez recorded a much-needed hit considering his playoff slump to lead off the bottom of the fourth and should have moved to second after a missed catcher's interference against Josh Reddick instead resulted in Reddick recording the second out of the inning.

George Springer worked a walk next as Houston continued to work Max Scherzer into lengthy at-bats, but both runners would be left stranded as Scherzer got out of another jam. Cole encountered jam of his own in the top of the fifth, issuing his first walk to start the inning followed by a single to put two runners on. After getting an out, Cole would allow an RBI-single as Washington took their first lead at 3-2. With two outs in the inning, Juan Soto would strike again, this time a two-RBI double to extend the Nationals' lead to 5-2 before the inning was over.

Washington goes to their bullpen in the sixth while Cole finishes seven

After a scoreless top of the sixth by Cole, the Nationals moved to another pitcher, bringing in Patrick Corbin to try and hold on to Washington's lead. Corbin was as a potential Game 3 starter, but with the Nationals bullpen having notable struggles, they opted instead to go to his strong arm to try and hold on to get a Game 1 road win, potentially keeping him available for a Game 4 start. He would record a scoreless frame, erasing a one-out single by Yordan Alvarez to keep it a 5-2 deficit for Houston heading to the seventh.

Gerrit Cole would throw one more inning before he was done for the night, getting a 1-2-3 top of the seventh. His final line was not what many expected would it would be, recording his worst start of the postseason: 7.0 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 2 HR.

Nationals hold on for Game 1 win

Tanner Rainey was the next reliever for the Nationals, but George Springer welcomed him with a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the seventh to trim the lead to 5-3. Rainey would then allow back-to-back one-out walks, prompting the move to another reliever for Washington. It would be Daniel Hudson who would come in and get the second out before an infield single loaded the bases for Yordan Alvarez, who would strikeout to end the threat.

First out of Houston's bullpen was Will Harris in the top of the eighth, and he would erase a one-out single by Soto to keep it a two-run game. Kyle Tucker led off the bottom of the eighth with a pinch-hit single against Hudson, who remained in the game for Washington. Tucker would move to second by tagging on a long flyout, then score on an RBI-double by Springer that was mere feet from being a game-tying home run, but instead left the tying run on second base with one out and the score now 5-4. After a flyout by Altuve, the Nationals moved to Sean Doolittle to face Michael Brantley, and Doolittle would win that battle to keep it a one-run game.

Joe Smith would come in for the top of the ninth to try and keep it a one-run game and give Houston a chance to tie or walk it off in the bottom half of the inning. Smith did his job, keeping the Nationals off the board. Doolittle would face the middle of Houston's order in the bottom of the ninth and retired the Astros in order to finish off Houston's Game 1 loss.

Up Next: Game 2 of the 2019 World Series will start at 7:07 PM Central on Wednesday from Minute Maid Park in Houston. It offers another terrific pitching matchup on paper with Justin Verlander for the Astros going up against Stephen Strasburg for the Nationals.

The Astros playoff report is presented by APG&E.

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