Astros 4, Rays 3
In a game where the long ball is king, Carlos Correa finds himself on the throne after his Game Five walk-off homer. His one-out, solo homer to center sends this series out to a much anticipated Game Six.
The Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays both entered Thursday’s game with an inning by inning approach. Neither team named a starter until the early afternoon, and both would act as an opener. Many may have envisioned a high scoring affair but runs were again, hard to come by.
George Springer wasted no time in giving the Astros the lead when he jumped on a first-pitch fastball for a lead-off homer. Michael Brantley came up clutch in a lefty on lefty matchup when he singled home two in the bottom of the third. They would be held in check until the magic in the ninth.
The Rays would tie it up two separate times but never find themselves out in front. Ji-Man Choi knotted the game up in the eighth inning with his first homer of the series. That set the stage for Correa’s dramatic walk-off homer to send this series to a big Game Six.
Five of the seven runs in the game came via the solo home run. With runs at a premium, it’s been the long ball or nothing for both teams in this series. 19 of the 30 runs scored in the series have come from home runs. In Thursday’s Game Five, The Astros went big fly with their first and last hitters of the night, while the Rays scored all three of their runs with solo blasts. In fact, the Astros made history as the first team to hit the first pitch and last pitch seen for home runs.
Game Six may come down to who can finally hit the big three-run homer. That has only happened once in the series when Manuel Margot did it back in Game two.
Left On Base
With low run production, comes men left on base. Not too shocking, the team who has left more men on base, has walked off the field that game with a loss. Baseball can be as simple as that, come up clutch, and win ball games. The Astros through the first three games left a whopping 31 men on base. The last two games, only seven. The Rays however in game five left nine men on base, the most they have left all series.
The superb defense on both sides can be attributed to the men left on base for both sides. Both teams have been catching everything in the outfield and turning double plays with ease. Take away Jose Altuve’s three throwing errors, both teams are committing a combined two errors through five games.
All Hands On Deck
When John Curtiss and Luis Garcia were named the starters this afternoon, no one imagined they would pitch a second time through the lineup. That was indeed the case as the Astros used seven different arms, the Rays four. Garcia, the opener, pitch the longest of any Houston pitchers, which was only two full innings of work. The Rays went with the opener and bulk route as Josh Fleming gave them three solid innings after Curtiss.
With Game Six and a possible Game Seven on Saturday, both teams would love nothing more than to see their Friday night starters go deep into the game.
Game Six is scheduled for 6:07 Eastern on Friday night. The Rays will be leaning on 2018 Cy Young winner Blake Snell (1-1 3.38). Snell went five innings in Game One where he only surrendered a first-inning homer to Altuve.
The Astros will make is a Game One rematch as they will lean on left-hander Framber Valdez (2-0 1.50). He took the tough loss as he only gave up two runs through six innings of work.
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