Big Sixth Inning Has Rays One Win Away From World Series

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Rays 5, Astros 2

The Tampa Bay Rays came into Tuesday’s Game Three with a 2-0 series lead over the Houston Astros. With that being said, the Astros know they have played well enough to still be in the series. Win Game Three and they are right back in it, lose and the climb back gets even steeper.

Jose Altuve got the Astros on the board in the first inning when he tomahawked a homer to left. The 1-0 lead held up until the top of the sixth inning when the Rays scored five runs, sending 11 men to the plate. Michael Brantley was able to knock Rays starter Ryan Yarbrough from the game when he led off the home half of the six with an opposite field home run.

The Rays bullpen closed the door yet again, giving the Rays a 3-0 strangle hold on the series.

Messy Sixth

The sixth inning was the climax of the game. Jose Urquidy was rolling through the Rays for the first five innings but got himself in a jam in the sixth. After a lead-off single by Randy Arozarena, Brandon Lowe hit a ground ball to Jose Altuve at second. Altuve tried to get the lead runner but committed his third throwing error of the series.

With the bases loaded, Joey Wendle slapped an opposite field single to score two runs and give the Rays a 2-1 lead.  One out later, Enoli Paredes hit back to back batters to force in another run. The big blow came when Hunter Renfroe used his strength to muscle a bloop double down the right field line, scoring two more. Austin Meadows and Brandon Lowe stranded the bases loaded, keeping the game in reach for the Astros.

Flashing the Leather

No matter where the Astros hit the ball, a Ray was surely there. If the baseball stayed in the yard, it probably resulted in an out.

Kevin Kiermaier, one of the game’s best center fielders, showed why he has a platinum glove.  He made not one, but two great catches early in the game. His second one was the most crucial as he came in to rob Carlos Correa of what could have been at least a two-run double.

Not to be outdone, Hunter Renfroe, who came in to play right in the sixth inning, made two superstar catches as well. The left side of the infield didn’t let any ball get by them too. Wendle has been especially solid at the hot corner.

Same Struggling Bats

It’s crazy to think the Rays are up 3-0 in the series with two of their best bats hitting a combined 1-22 in the series. That’s exactly what they have with their two high profile lefties at the top. Meadows hit two home runs in the previous series against the Yankees but has been pretty bad at the top of the lineup. As bad as Meadows has been, Brandon Lowe has been even worse. That continued Tuesday with an 0-5 night. Kevin Cash continues to turn to his all-star at the top of the order and is hoping he’s close to snapping out of it. Good hitters don’t stay in slumps very long, but this is concerning of the young star.

Alex Bregman and George Springer are a combined 4 for 26 with no extra-base hits.  The Astros as a team, only have one double behind their four solo home runs in the three ALCS games.

Up Next

The Rays will have the opportunity to sweep the series on Wednesday at 8:40 ET.  They have to be ecstatic to have their 2020 ace Tyler Glasnow (2-0, 4.05) getting the ball. Having him on normal rest is huge for the Rays.

The Astros will lean on an ace of their own in Zack Greinke (0-0, 5.19). There is nobody else they would rather hand the ball off to in a win or go home scenario. Despite Tampa Bay having a 3-0 lead, this Rays Astros series has been closer than you think. The Astros have had the tying and go-ahead runners on base in the ninth inning of all three games. But could not get the runs home.

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