ALCS Game 2 Recap: Margot’s Stardom Propels Rays Over Astros

ALCS Game 2 Recap: Margot’s Stardom Propels Rays Over Astros

by October 13, 2020 0 comments

For the second straight night, the Houston Astros’ pitching staff limited the Tampa Bay Rays’ batters to a low hit total. However, the Rays overcame this quiet night at the plate and earned another victory, holding Houston to two runs.

The Rays entered Game 2 with a 1-0 series lead over Houston after the Rays’ bullpen threw an impressive four innings of relief baseball on Sunday. Framber Valdez had an equally successful outing but couldn’t get enough run support from his offense.

Lance McCullers Jr. took the mound for the Astros in Game 3. Opposite him for Tampa Bay was Charlie Morton.

Recap

The Astros opened the game on offense and threatened to score with singles from George Springer and Michael Brantley. However, the duo of outfielders was unable to cross the plate. McCullers opened the bottom of the first with two quick outs before Randy Arozarena reached on a single and Ji-Man Choi took first base on a crucial throwing error by Jose Altuve. Manuel Margot proceeded to hit a go-ahead three-run home run. Margot’s name came up again in the Astros’ half of the second inning as he made an incredible catch in right field, putting an end to a potentially harmful run-scoring situation. The two sides continued to battle back-and-forth for quite some time. McCullers started to look shaky again in the bottom of the third after allowing two base-runners to start the inning, but he regained his composure and recorded three quick outs.

Morton was pulled in the top of the sixth inning in favor of Pete Fairbanks, whose third pitch was clobbered to center field by Carlos Correa for a home run. Houston cut their deficit to 3-1. Fairbanks bounced back in the top of the seventh by striking out all three batters he faced and requiring just 11 pitches to do so. Tampa Bay added an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh as Mike Zunino homered off of McCullers.

Aaron Loup replaced Fairbanks in the top of the eighth and recorded two quick outs before Kyle Tucker singled. Ryan Thompson entered the game and recorded the final out of the frame. Andre Scrubb replaced McCullers in the bottom of the eighth and recorded two strikeouts, preserving the three-run deficit. Nick Anderson took over for the Rays in the top of the ninth and allowed three quick singles to load the bases with no outs. However, George Springer grounded into a double play on the first pitch of his at-bat, trading two outs for one run. Altuve and Brantley walked, loading the bases again with the lead run at the plate in Alex Bregman. Anderson got the Astros’ third baseman to fly out to center field.

The Rays persevered to win, 4-2, despite a nail-biting top of the ninth. Morton got his second win of the postseason while McCullers fell to 0-1. Anderson recorded the save.

Statistics

The Astros recorded 10 hits, outlasting the Rays (four) in that category. Altuve and Brantley both went one-four-four with a walk and an RBI, while Yuli Gurriel was the lone player to record multiple hits. Meanwhile, Bregman was the only Astros batter to go hitless on Monday.

McCullers’s outing was solid, but he was hurt by the three unearned runs in the first inning, which can be blamed on Altuve. McCullers finished with four runs (one earned) on four hits through seven innings. He struck out 11 batters and walked just two in the process.

Arozarena continued to impress for the Rays, adding two hits in the win. However, it was Margot who stole the show as he capitalized on the scoring opportunity in the first inning by clubbing a three-run home run that proved to be the difference-maker. His fantastic catch in the top of the second also allowed the team to escape a scoring threat as the Astros had runners on second and third at the time of the play.

Morton threw five scoreless innings, allowing five hits and one walk while striking out three. Fairbanks had a solid relief outing. He made up for his one earned run by going two innings, striking out a pair in the process.

What’s Next?

Only two outcomes are better than a 2-0 start to the series: a 3-0 lead and a 4-0 sweep. The Rays will look to achieve that commanding 3-0 lead on Tuesday night as Ryan Yarbrough makes his first start of the postseason. He’ll oppose Jose Urquidy, who had a solid Wild Card series outing against the Minnesota Twins but surrendered four home runs in 4.1 innings against the Oakland Athletics last week.

Date: Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 8:40 p.m. EST
TV: TBS
Stadium: Petco Park
Location: San Diego, Calif.
Astros’ Pitcher: Jose Urquidy | 0-0, 5.19 ERA
Rays’ Pitcher: Ryan Yarbrough | 0-0, 3.60 ERA


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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

Andersen is a teenage sportswriter and reporter whose articles have appeared across the Prime Time Sports Talk, Sports Illustrated Kids, FantasyPros, and SB Nation platforms. He has also received credit from RotoWorld, CBS Sports, ESPN, Bleacher Report, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, The Athletic, SB Nation, NBC Sports, NY Post, and dozens of other sports sites for his reporting work.

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