The Houston Astros stormed back from a 3-0 series deficit to force Game 7 in the 2020 ALCS. Led by great pitching in the deciding game, the Tampa Bay Rays held off the Astros, 4-2, to clinch the American League pennant on Saturday night. Here’s how it all went down.
The Rays wasted no time getting on the board early, as none other than the ALCS MVP Randy Arozarena hit a first-inning two-run home run off of Lance McCullers Jr. Arozarena is the first rookie position player in history to win a postseason series MVP. Mike Zunino added to the scoring in the second with a homer of his own, this one of the solo variety.
Charlie Morton gave up a first-inning single to Michael Brantley, before setting down the next 14 Astros. Six of the 14 were via the strikeout. He walked Martin Maldonado in the sixth inning and gave up a single to Jose Altuve before getting pulled with two outs. Nick Anderson came in and induced a Michael Brantley groundout for the final out of the inning.
The Rays added to their lead in the bottom of the sixth as Zunino tacked on another RBI with a sacrifice fly which scored Ji-Man Choi. Anderson got into some trouble in the eighth inning, letting two runners reach base. With two outs, Kevin Cash called on Pete Fairbanks to try and get out of the jam. He threw a wild pitch which moved Altuve to second. Brantley was then walked before Carlos Correa singled through the right side to score two runs. The two runs were charged to Anderson and then Fairbanks struck out Alex Bregman to end the frame.
The Rays put two runners on in the bottom of the eighth but failed to tack on any insurance runs. That didn’t matter, however, as Fairbanks stayed in the game and set the Astros down on two strikeouts and a flyout. He only gave up a single to Yuli Gurriel with one out before striking out Josh Reddick and inducing an Aledmys Diaz flyout. Game over. Series over. Rays headed to the World Series for the second time in their franchise history.
Morton only gave up two hits and one walk while striking out six over his 5 2/3 shutout innings. Ji-Man Choi had the only multi-hit game for the Rays as he went 2-for-3 with a walk. Fairbanks allowed just two hits and one walk with three strikeouts over an inning and a third. Altuve went 2-for-4 and Correa had the only two RBI for the Astros.
The Astros start their offseason while the Rays will face either the Atlanta Braves or Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series. Game 1 will be on Tuesday at 8:09 p.m. EST. Game 7 of the NLCS is tonight at 8:15 p.m. EST. The Astros face some question marks with George Springer and Michael Brantley being impending free agents. Dusty Baker will be returning as manager for 2021.
Date: Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, at 8:09 p.m. EST
Stadium: Globe Life Field
Location: Arlington, TX
Rays Starter: TBD
Braves/Dodgers Starter: TBD
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images