Rays Snap Three-Game Skid With Comeback Win Over Astros

Manny Margot’s single in the seventh inning was the decisive hit in the Rays’ 5-4 win over Houston on Sunday. (Credit: Tampa Bay Rays)

ST. PETERSBURG — One swing of the bat is what it took to revive the Rays’ offense in Sunday afternoon’s 5-4 win over the Astros at Tropicana Field.

Trailing 3-0 with two out and two on in the fifth, Austin Meadows ripped into a Cristian Javier changeup and sent the offering 422 feet and bouncing up against the back wall beyond the right field stands.

Tie game.….and the Rays’ first inning of scoring at least three runs since the opener of the just-completed 10-game homestand.

“We got down 3-0 and Meadows provided a big spark for us,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash. “It relieves some pressure. We needed a big hit and that’s what we got from Austin.”

After the Astros took a 4-3 lead in the sixth, the Rays took advantage of some Houston sloppiness to score runs in the sixth and seventh to take a 5-4 lead.

The Rays had scored two or fewer runs in each of their last four games.

“It wasn’t a ton of runs (today), but we will take anything the way it was going,” said Cash.

After Kevin Kiermaier scored on an error by Astros catcher Martin Maldonado in the sixth to knot the score at four, Manny Margot, pinch hitting for Brandon Lowe in the seventh, served an 0-2 pitch into a hole on the right side to drive home Meadows with what proved to be the decisive run.

“I had been on the bench and was told I might get a chance,” said Margot. “When the time came, I was ready and prepared.”

Sandwiched between Meadows’ and Margot’s plate appearances, was an 11 pitch at-bat by pinch hitter Yandy Diaz that resulted in an infield single that third baseman Alex Bregman threw over the head of first baseman Yordan Alvarez, enabling Meadows to take third.

“That was as big as Manny’s at-bat,” said Cash.

Andrew Kittredge retired the Astros in order in the eighth and Diego Castillo, after allowing a two-out double to pinch hitter Jason Castro, nailed down his seventh save of the season.

The victory snapped the Rays’ three-game skid and they completed the homestand 4-6.

“I think today was a stepping stone in the right direction,” said Meadows, who noted his hand is bruised, but fortunately nothing worse after getting hit by a Brooks Raley pitch in the seventh.

The Rays head west for a seven-game trip that begins Monday night in Anaheim when Tyler Glasnow opposes Shohei Ohtani.

Tom Layberger is also a contributing writer for forbes.com

Tom Layberger has been a sports writer and editor since 1990. Among the companies he has worked for are Beckett Publishing, The Topps Company and Comcast. In addition to being a contributing writer for sportstalkflorida.com, Tom also writes for forbes.com and Tampa Bay Business & Wealth Magazine. A native of the Philadelphia suburbs and a University of South Florida grad, Tom is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the National Football Foundation. He resides in Tampa.