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 Elsa/Getty Images

After a tightly-contested game early, the Washington Nationals exploded against Justin Verlander and Ryan Pressly in the seventh inning of the World Series, breaking a 2-2 tie that had been in place since the first inning. The six-run inning would avalanche to a barrage of runs, fueling them to the victory and 2-0 series lead, beating the Houston Astros 12-3 in World Series Game 2. Here is a recap of the game:

Final Score: Nationals 12, Astros 3.

Series: Nationals lead 2-0.

Winning Pitcher: Stephen Strasburg.

Losing Pitcher: Justin Verlander.

Nationals tag Verlander early, but Bregman answers for Houston

World Series Game 2 got out to a bleak start for Houston as Justin Verlander, much like in ALCS Game 5 against the Yankees, would get tagged with a disappointing first inning. Before he could record an out, he would allow a four-pitch walk, a single, then a two-RBI double to give Washington an immediate 2-0 lead to shock Verlander and the Minute Maid Park crowd. Verlander would at least stop the bleeding there, retiring the next three batters, including two strikeouts to finish the frame.

In the bottom of the inning, Jose Altuve tried to get Houston's offense going with a one-out double. He would attempt an aggressive steal of third with Michael Brantley at the plate next and get thrown out by a great throw by Kurt Suzuki of the Nationals. That would prove costly as Brantley would hit a single, which likely would have scored Altuve from second, but instead had just a runner on first base. Alex Bregman had other plans, though, ending his recent funk with a game-tying home run off of Stephen Strasburg, making it 2-2 and a new ballgame after one inning.

Both starters settle in before Nationals get a huge seventh inning

After the first inning where both clubs scored two runs, both Strasburg and Verlander would settle in over the next stretch of innings. The Astros had a chance in the bottom of the sixth, getting two on with one out, but Strasburg, over 100 pitches, would get the final two outs to keep the game tied, though that would be it for him in the game.

Verlander, meanwhile, was able to settle in after his first-inning troubles and manage his pitch count to get him into the seventh inning. The second pitch of that seventh inning would end up over the fence, though, on a solo home run by Kurt Suzuki to put the Nationals back in front 3-2. After a walk to the next batter, Verlander's night would come to a close without recording an out in the inning.

Pressly would come in to try and finish the seventh, but not before the Nationals loaded the bases before scoring on a bobbled groundball by Alex Bregman that would go down as a hit in the scorebook. That would give Verlander a fourth earned run on the night. His final line in Game 2: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 1 HR.

With the bases still loaded against Pressly, Asdrubal Cabrera would tack on two more runs to the lead with a two-RBI single, making it a 6-2 game. Pressly would continue to falter, advancing both runners a base on a wild pitch, then allowed both to score on a two-RBI single by Ryan Zimmerman, blowing the game open at 8-2. Josh James would come in for the final out of the inning.

Nationals take both games in Houston

Now in a six-run hole, the Astros would try to chip away against Washington's bullpen. Fernando Rodney would take over for Strasburg in the bottom of the seventh and worked around a leadoff walk for a scoreless inning. Meanwhile, the Nationals added two more runs against Josh James in the top of the eighth on a two-run homer by Adam Eaton, making it 10-2. Later in the same inning, after James could not finish it, Hector Rondon would allow an RBI-single to Cabrera to make it 11-2 before getting the third out.

After coming away empty in the bottom of the eighth, Chris Devenski would make his postseason debut to pitch the top of the ninth. He, too, fell victim to the Nationals after giving up a solo home run to Michael Taylor, who had taken over in center field in the previous inning, making it a ten-run lead for Washington at 12-2. In the bottom of the ninth, Martin Maldonado would get a solo home run to cut the lead back to nine runs, but Houston would come no closer.

Up Next: The World Series will now shift to Washington, D.C. for Games 3 and 4, and 5 if the Astros can avoid a sweep. Game 3 will be on Friday at 7:07 PM Central, and the expected pitching matchup is Zack Greinke for Houston going against Anibal Sanchez for Washington. The Astros will be in must-win mode to try and steal games on the road to get back into the series.

The Astros playoff report is presented by APG&E.

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