Houston's celebration continues to wait

Astros lose lopsided game to Rays as magic number stalls again

It was a rough night for the Astros against the Rays on Wednesday night. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

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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Houston now trails in the fall classic

Astros fall in World Series Game 1 as Braves come out swinging

Framber Valdez had a forgettable start in World Series Game 1 as the Braves tagged him with five runs. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After a dominant end to win the ALCS and American League pennant, the Houston Astros welcomed in the National League champion Atlanta Braves for World Series Game 1 at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday. With Houston favored to win not just this game but the entire series, the Braves shook up those expectations by finding early success at the plate to build a lead they would hold to take a 1-0 series lead.

Final Score: Braves 6, Astros 2

World Series (Best of Seven): Atlanta leads 1-0

Winning Pitcher: A.J. Minter

Losing Pitcher: Framber Valdez

Valdez unable to replicate ALCS Game 5 success as Braves mount early lead

For the optimist, not having home-field advantage in an MLB postseason series affords you a benefit: you can score first and take captive momentum first in the series. The Braves did that against Framber Valdez, as Jorge Soler became the first player in league history to hit a homer in the first plate appearance of a World Series, putting Atlanta out to an immediate 1-0 lead. They would get another in the first frame, getting a one-out infield single by Ozzie Albies, who would steal second to get in position for an RBI double by Austin Riley.

Houston had the chance to respond in their first inning against former teammate Charlie Morton, getting a single and two walks to load the bases with no outs. They'd strand all three runners, though, as Morton made it through unscathed but having used 26 pitches. Atlanta kept putting stress on Valdez, extending their lead to three runs with back-to-back singles to start the second before later getting an RBI groundout.

Valdez gave up two more in the top of the third, once again allowing a leadoff single, this one setting up a two-run homer to make it a 5-0 Braves lead and forcing Houston's starter out of the game early. Yimi Garcia entered and was able to retire the three batters he faced to end the frame.

Braves lose Morton to injury as both bullpens begin long night

After stranding the bases loaded in the bottom of the first to keep the Astros off the board, Morton followed it up with a 1-2-3 second. He started the bottom of the third by retiring his fifth batter in a row, getting a strikeout of Jose Altuve. He would immediately call trainers to get him out of the game, though, as he would later be diagnosed with a fractured fibula, presumably from a ball that ricocheted off his leg in the prior inning, ending his season in a disappointing turn of events for the Braves.

That set up a long night for both bullpens, and next up for Houston was Jake Odorizzi. He started with a scoreless fourth, working around a two-out error to keep it a five-run game. The Astros began a rally in the bottom of the fourth, getting runners on the corners with one out on a Kyle Tucker double and Yuli Gurriel single. Chas McCormick brought in the first run of the board for Houston, but that's all they would get as Atlanta's lead remained four runs.

Astros drop Game 1

Odorizzi kept going on the mound, tossing a 1-2-3 fifth, then getting one out before a one-out single in the top of the sixth would prompt Dusty Baker to move on to Phil Maton, who finished the inning. Maton returned in the top of the seventh, getting a strikeout before a double and a walk would result in the call to bring in Ryne Stanek.

A double play against his first batter allowed Stanek to finish the seventh, and then he returned in the eighth. He faced three batters that frame, getting one out before a walk and a single would put runners on the corners as Houston moved on to Brooks Raley. A sac fly by Freddie Freeman off of Raley made it a five-run lead again, but a leadoff triple by Yordan Alvarez in the bottom of the inning would set up Carlos Correa for an RBI, a groundout to make it 6-2.

Atlanta's bullpen continued to do well, though, limiting the damage to that one run in the eighth, then returning to hold on to the four-run lead in the bottom of the ninth to give the Braves the upset win to start the series. The loss extends their home losing streak in the World Series to five games (having lost all four at home in the 2019 World Series against the Nationals) and puts them down 0-1 and in need of a win in Game 2 to try and reset the series into a best-of-five.

Up Next: World Series Game 2 will be another 7:09 PM Central scheduled start time on Wednesday from Minute Maid Park. The expected pitching matchup is Max Fried, who is 1-1 with a 3.78 ERA in three postseason starts, for the Braves, and Jose Urquidy, who went just 1.2 innings while allowing six runs (five earned) in his start in the ALCS.

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