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.

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Houston's losing streak extended to five games

With key Astros missing, Detroit completes the series sweep

An overall bad day for the Astros on Wednesday. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

On Wednesday afternoon, the Astros received a big blow to their chances in the series finale against Detroit and potentially longer. Five players: Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado, and Robel Garcia would all be moved to the IL due to health and safety protocols, leaving them scrambling to get a whole team together for the game against the Tigers.

The Astros would not be able to overcome both the loss of players and the onslaught of another strong start by Detroit in Wednesday's game which put them too far out front for Houston to come back from to avoid a series sweep.

Final Score: Tigers 6, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 6-6, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Michael Fulmer (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1)

Tigers knock out another starter early

Detroit continued their success of making Houston's starter work hard in early innings, getting after Lance McCullers Jr., and giving him an early exit. After a lengthy fist, they broke through in the second getting two hits, a walk, a hit batter, and an RBI groundout to put up three runs on 34 pitches.

He would have a quicker 1-2-3 third, but after giving up a single, a walk, and hitting another batter to load the bases and reach 87 pitches, he would be removed in favor of Joe Smith. Smith would allow all three of the inherited runners to score, adding those runs to McCullers Jr.'s final line: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 87 P.

Astros try to claw back into it

After Smith would go on to load the bases again in the inning, still with two outs, Houston made another pitching change to bring in Brandon Bielak to get the third out and stop the bleeding at 6-0. The Astros would get on the board in the fifth, getting a runner on base to set up a two-run homer by Jason Castro to cut the lead to 6-2.



Bielak remained in the game to try and eat up as many innings as possible. While he continued to hold the Tigers to their six runs through the six innings, the Astros clawed back into the game. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put their first two batters on base with a walk and single before an RBI-single by Yuli Gurriel to make it 6-3. They would threaten for more but be held there for the time being.

Astros can't cash in, Tigers complete sweep

Ryne Stanek was Houston's next reliever in the top of the seventh, getting a 1-2-3 frame to keep it a three-run game, as did Brooks Raley in the eighth. In the home part of the inning, the Astros put their first two runners on base on an error and a walk, then loaded them with a one-out single by Carlos Correa. They'd waste their chance to make something happen, though, with an inning-ending double-play.

Ryan Pressly, who had no save opportunities in recent games, entered to get some work in the top of the ninth. He worked around a leadoff double for a scoreless inning, sending the 6-3 game to the bottom of the ninth. The Astros had yet another chance to make something happen, loading the bases with no outs to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. After two outs, Yuli Gurriel would bring one run in with a walk, but that's as close as they'd come, extending their losing streak to five games and getting swept by the Tigers.

Up Next: Houston will get a much-needed day off tomorrow to try and leave this poor homestand behind them. They'll pick things up in Seattle on Friday, with first pitch of the opener of three games at 9:10 PM Central. The expected pitching matchup is Jose Urquidy (0-1, 5.23 ERA) for the Astros and Yusei Kikuchi (0-0, 3.75 ERA) for the Mariners.

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