HOUSTON – – The Houston Astros are on to end a savage ninth-inning rally against the Tampa Bay Rays, moving closer to securing a playoff berth.
The party will have to wait at least one more day, with the Seattle Mariners stubbornly sticking around.
Rays reliever JT Chargois propelled two Houston hitters with bases loaded in the ninth inning, propelling the Astros to a 4-3 victory that ended a four-game skid.
Houston turned its attention to Seattle, who finished a 4-2 victory over Oakland hours later, leaving the Astros’ magical number at one to win a fourth AL West title in five years. They can come off Wednesday with a win over Tampa Bay or a loss to the Mariners.
Manager Dusty Baker said the team continue to look to the future and have not been affected by the recent crisis.
âThese guys, they believe we can win and we should win,â Baker said.
Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve hit solo homers for the Astros as they rallied for the win.
âWe needed this one,â Altuve said. “We had to build momentumâ¦ to put these games in the past and start winning.”
The Rays took a 3-2 lead when Randy Arozarena hit a solo homerun against Phil Maton (5-0) with a ninth putout.
Yordan Alvarez hit a single against Josh Fleming (10-7) to start Houston’s ninth and was replaced by pinch runner Jose Siri. Carlos Correa then released a single on hard-touched ground to second baseman Brandon Lowe. He was initially called up, but the Astros contested the game and he was called off.
Kyle Tucker failed before the Rays intentionally marched Aledmys DÃaz to charge the bases. Chargois took over and pushed Chas McCormick on his 10th pitch to equalize. He then walked pinch hitter Jason Castro on eight pitches to give the Astros the unconventional starting victory.
âI threw some quality shotsâ¦ it didn’t work out and I gave it my all,â said Chargois. “These guys did an amazing job.”
Castro said he knew a bit more about Chargois because he caught it years ago when the two were playing for the Twins.
âIt was a series of really big hitters that set up the way it ended,â said Castro. “It was great to see this display of very good continuous strikes and approaches.”
It was the first time in franchise history that the Astros had shot back-to-back goals with bases loaded to win a game. The last time this happened in the majors was July 2, 2019, when the Los Angeles Dodgers did so in a win over Arizona.
Yandy DÃaz hit a two-run homer in the first inning to give the Rays an early lead.
The Astros didn’t get a hit until Bregman’s shot reduced the lead to 1 with two strikeouts in the sixth.
There was one in the eighth when Altuve clinched David Robertson on his 31st homerun this season to tie him at 2.
The loss ends a four-game winning streak for the AL East champions Rays and leaves them a timid Astros win or loss to clinch the American League’s best record.
Houston couldn’t do anything early as Michael Wacha started the game and didn’t allow a hit in five innings.
Wacha, who threw out of the box his last time, was lifted after 61 pitches. He pushed Yuli Gurriel with two strikeouts in the first and Correa to start the second before pulling out his last 12 batters.
Andrew Kittredge, who was activated from the pre-game injured list, took over for the sixth and sat down the first two hitters he faced before Bregman sent the first throw from the wall to the center left to reduce the feed to 1.
Houston starter JosÃ© Urquidy allowed four hits and two runs while striking out six strikes in five innings.
Spokes: DÃaz was replaced at the end of the seventh inning with a discomfort in the ribs. Manager Kevin Cash said they would have more information on his condition on Wednesday. … Kittredge was activated after missing the last 10 days with neck strain. … Cash said LHP Adam Conley tested positive for COVID-19 and was placed on the COVID-19 injured list. Cash has said he has no symptoms, but will have to be away from the team for 10 days, so he will not be able to return for the start of ALDS.
Astros: Baker has said RHP Zack Greinke (neck pain) may go to rehab with Triple-A Sugar Land this week. … third base coach Gary Pettis joined the squad on Tuesday after being out since testing positive for COVID-19 on September 17. … RHP Kendall Graveman was placed on the paternity list on Tuesday and RHP Josh James was recalled from Sugar Land to take his place on the list.
THEY SAID IT
Wacha on being shot without allowing a shot: âI didn’t really file a complaint. I’ve never really been that type of guy. “
Houston’s Luis Garcia (11-7, 3.23 ERA) takes on Drew Rasmussen (3-0, 2.67) as the streak continues Wednesday night.