Rays Defeat Astros 3-1, Look For Series Win Sunday
It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t without its moments. The Tampa Rays were holding a 2-1 lead over the Houston Astros in the bottom of the eighth inning but the lead was in peril.
Adam Kolarek entered the game with 2-out and a man on first and the left handed hitting Michael Brantley due up. Brantley delivered a soft single to left to keep the inning alive and then Yuli Gurriel turned the temperature up even higher drawing a walk to load the bases. Josh Reddick followed with a line drive toward right fielder Avisail Garcia who got a good jump and came rushing in to make an inning ending catch.
Tampa Bay extended their lead with a run in the bottom of the inning en route to a 3-1 victory over the Astros.
“Any win can be really energizing but you always want to start the season off hot and keep the ball rolling as far as the momentum through the season.” Kolarek said. “We created a ton of momentum in August and September last year. We knew coming into spring training that if we can create that same momentum early then we’d be in a much better position come August and September this season.”
Collin McHugh (0-1, 3.60 ERA) takes the loss for the Astros who fall to 1-2 on the year.
Glasnow’s Solid Outing:
Tyler Glasnow worked five innings allowing one run on six hits while striking out four while walking one. He threw 77 pitches with 51 for strikes. He was inefficient the first two inning throwing 22 and 21 pitches respectively but only need 34 to get through the final three frames (11, 11, 12).
Last season, baserunners were successful on 21-of-27 stolen base attempts with Glasnow on the mound. It’s an area of the game that he and pitching coach Kyle Snyder have been working on. In the first inning, Jose Altuve, who has 248 career stolen bases, was thrown out attempting to steal. It was the only stolen base attempt by the Astros against Glasnow.
During spring training he experimented with an alteration in his delivery to try and get into the strike zone too often. He decided to scrap the pause in his delivery, a decision he made before the game. “It was in the bullpen and just felt better to not do it.” Glasnow explained. “I said ‘forget it. Let’s just go out there and compete.’ In spring, it was a little bit of half-half. I was doing the hesitation and I wasn’t sometimes when guys were on I was going normal.”
Alex Bregman celebrated his 25th birthday by connecting for a solo homer off Glasnow in the first. The home run came after Altuve was caught attempting to steal second.
Rays Offense and Pen Continue To Perform:
Tampa Bay scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to take the lead. Tampa Bay picked up their first hit of the game as Yandy Diaz led off the bottom of the fifth with a double. Diaz was unable to advance on Joey Wendle‘s grounder to short. After Avisail Garcia struck out it was up to Kevin Kiermaier. Kiermaier delivered a RBI double off the right field wall and came in to score on an RBI single by Michael Perez that gave Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead.
Tampa Bay added to their lead in the bottom of the eight inning. Michael Perez led off the inning with a double and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from Guillermo Heredia who had entered the game as a defensive replacement in the top of the inning. Tommy Pham extended his on-base streak to 35 games with an RBI single to push the Rays lead to 3-1.
For the second straight game Manager Kevin Cash needed 12 outs from his bullpen. Ryne Stanek worked two scoreless frames, Chaz Roe retired two in the eighth, and Adam Kolarek got one out in the eighth. Jose Alvarado came in to work the ninth and picked up his second save of the season and second in as many nights.
“They’ve been outstanding. They’ve gotten big outs. The way the matchups have gone, we’ve been pretty fortunate with where the lineup is and turnover to this point.” Cash remarked on his bullpen. “We aren’t always going to have those ideal matchups, but so far when we’ve called on them, they’ve done a nice job.”
Colin McHugh worked five innings for Houston allowing two runs on three hits while striking out nine and walking one. He threw 81 pitches with 56 for strikes and 55 of the 81 pitches were off-speed pitches.
Up Next For Rays:
The Rays and Astros complete their four game series on Sunday afternoon at 1:10. Tampa Bay will go with Yonny Chirinos in the traditional starting role. The Astros will counter with Wade Miley who will be making his Astros debut.