If you only got to see one half-inning tonight, hope it was the bottom of the sixth.
A Shaky Start
But before we get there: Blake Snell. You know how sometimes sports truth tellers will lie to you and say “well, he actually pitched a lot better than his line”? Snell kinda did the opposite of that. In his five-plus innings of work, it never felt like Snell was in command. Yes, he only gave up three hits (two of which left the park) and he struck out four, but he also walked five. Of his 87 pitches, only 39 were strikes.
The homers weren’t cheap ones, either. Evan Gattis went deep to right center in the second, and Jose Altuve hit a no-doubter to left center leading off the fourth.
And yet, Snell left with the score tied at two, thanks to a nice piece of hitting from Evan Longoria.
After wasting a two-out Tim Beckham triple in the third and a one-out Longo double in the fourth, the Rays threatened again in the fifth when back-to-back one-out singles by TBex and Corey Dickerson put runners at the corners. Though Kevin Kiermaier followed by striking out in his second ugly at bat of the night, Longo picked up his teammate by doubling past Houston centerfielder Jake Marisnick, who took a poor route on the play. Both runners scored to tie the game.
The lead did not last long.
I Hate Jose Altuve and I Wish He Played For Us
Snell’s final hitter was Jose Altuve, who walked leading off the sixth. Cash called on Tommy Hunter.
After being nearly doubled off on a line drive to Souza by Carlos Correa, Altuve swiped second rather easily during the following Evan Gattis at bat. Then, with Gattis still at the plate, Altuve broke for third. Gattis swung, chopping the 2-2 pitch toward Logan Morrison, who was well off the first base bag.
Tommy Hunter broke to cover first, then pulled up short with a leg issues (he would leave the game) forcing Morrison to make the long put out himself. In the meantime, Altuve never stopped running, rounding third and beating Morrison’s throw home easily.
But the Astros lead didn’t last long either.
In Play Run(s)!
With the Rays trailing 3-2, Steven Souza led off the bottom of the sixth by lining a Charlie Morton fastball to center for a double. Logan Morrison came to the plate with a chance to drive in the tying run, and quickly fell behind 0-2. And the called strike two was a CB Bucknor special: high (maybe) a couple inches inside (definitely).
LoMo unloaded on Bucknor, and I have no idea how he didn’t get ejected. But something funny happened the rest of the at bat: CB stopped calling the pitch inside off the plate, and Morrison walked on seven pitches to put runners on first and second.
Derek Norris finally chased Morton with a hard single to center that loaded the bases. In came...Will Harris? Will Smith? I dunno, one of those guys. Harrissmith was supposed to stop the bleeding. Instead, it kept drip drip dripping.
Shene Paterson Shane Peterson hit a tapper to Gurriel, but no one got to first to cover the bag. Souza scored, tie game, and everybody was safe.
Tim Beckham: hard liner to right for single. LoMo scored, giving angry high fives. The bases were still loaded.
After Dickerson grounded into a force at home, Peter Bourjos pinch hit for Kevin Kiermaier, who had looked terrible at the plate and was still feeling ill per Kevin Cash. Bourjos singled on an 0-2 pitch past Carlos Correa, who was playing waaaaaaay in, scoring Peterson and Beckham.
Closing It Out
Austin Pruitt — who had come on for the injured Hunter to get the last out of the sixth — came back out half an hour later to start the seventh. He also finished the seventh. And the eighth. He gave up no hits and no walks while striking out two. And he looked really good doing it.
Good job, young man.
Alex Colome worked a scoreless ninth, giving up a single.
Also, this happened:
It's not a competition but.... this is the best proposal reaction we've ever seen. pic.twitter.com/R9plzqZOFU— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 22, 2017
Enjoy the rest of your weekend, everybody. Tomorrow’s wrap up game is a 1:10 PM start.