Houston's celebration continues to wait
Astros lose lopsided game to Rays as magic number stalls again
With a walk-off win in the ninth in the series opener to put them a win or Mariners loss away from clinching the AL West, Houston sought to get the magic number to 0 on their terms with a win to secure the series Tuesday night. That plan fell apart early, though, as Tampa Bay would jump out to an early lead and hold it to even the series.
Final Score: Rays 7, Astros 0.
Astros' Record: 92-66, first in the AL West
Winning Pitcher: Drew Rasmussen (4-1)
Losing Pitcher: Luis Garcia (11-8)
Forgettable outing for Garcia
After a scoreless top of the first where he erased a double and a walk, Luis Garcia dealt with a costly error in the top of the second. With two outs, a fly ball to center field went sideways for Jose Siri, who dropped the ball, allowing the Rays to keep the inning alive with a runner on third. They followed that with an RBI single to start the scoring, then a two-run homer to put Tampa Bay in front 3-0.
After those three unearned runs, Garcia rebounded with a solid third and fourth inning, but things went from bad to worse in the fifth. A one-out double and two-out walk set up a three-run homer, doubling the lead to 6-0. Garcia would get the final out of that frame, but that would be it for him: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 2 HR, 84 P.
Astros shutout as magic number stays stuck at one
Meanwhile, Houston's offense had nothing for Tampa Bay's pitching, getting held hitless until a Yuli Gurriel single in the bottom of the fifth, though he would get left stranded. Peter Solomon came in to eat some innings after Garcia, and in the sixth and seventh, he did so without allowing any runs. That changed in the top of the eighth, where a leadoff double would come around to score on a two-out RBI triple to make it a seven-run game.
Solomon would finish the piggyback in the top of the ninth, saving Houston's bullpen from having to use any more arms. The Astros offense went quiet at the plate again in the bottom of the ninth, making the 7-0 score final and leaving them awaiting another Oakland vs. Seattle outcome to see if they will enter Thursday as division champions or still waiting. Tampa Bay's win gives secures them the number one seed in the American League.
Up Next: This series's third and final game will start an hour earlier on Thursday, getting underway at 6:10 PM Central. The Rays have not yet named who will start for them on the mound, but it will be Lance McCullers Jr. (12-5, 3.17 ERA) for Houston.
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