Well, this series is going at least six. After two unsuccessful attempts at closing out the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros, the Rays will turn to Blake Snell to try and finally clinch the American League pennant.
6:08 pm: First pitch. Go Rays!
Top 1st: Sit down George Springer. One up, one down for Snell after striking out the leadoff hitter.
Jose Altuve drew a walk, which is better than letting hit a home run! Brantley up now. Snell’s thrown over to first about 18 times to keep Altuve close. Well, well well, Snell strikes Brantley out and Zunino throws Altuve out trying to steal second, a beautifully done strike ‘em out throw ‘em out to end the inning.
Bottom 1st: It’s Framber Valdez on the mound for the Houston Astros and Valdez struck out both Mike Brosseau and Hunter Renfroe in an effortless first inning for the lefty.
Top 2nd: Snell heads back out on the mound with a reasonable pitch count after one inning. Carlos Correa hit a bloop single to right that Renfroe might have been able to get, but took the safer option to ensure Correa would only get one base. One base would be all Correa would get as Alex Bregman grounded into a double play.
Snell threw no convincing pitches to Kyle Tucker, walking him on five pitches to bring up Yuli Gurriel. Yuli Gurriel walks, putting two on with two outs . Good thing Willy Adames is a good defender, because Willy corralled a hard-hit ball and threw a perfect laser to first to end the inning.
Bottom 2nd: Yandy’s leading off the bottom of the second, but he strikes out for out number one. Hey, number five hitter Brandon Lowe got a hit! Today’s left fielder singled up the middle, making way for Manuel Margot. Margot strikes out looking, bringing Willy Adames up.
WILLY! He lasers a ball to the wall and that allows Brandon Lowe to hustle all the way from first and score the game’s first run, making it 1-0 Rays.
Top 3rd: Martin Maldonado grounded out to Joey Wendle for out number one. Blake Snell struck out Springer with a beautiful curveball for the second out before getting an inning-ending groundout from Brantley.
Bottom 3rd: Once again, Mike Brosseau and Hunter Renfroe struck out. In-between the K’s, Randy drew a two-out walk.
Top 4th: Brantley hit a leadoff single before Carlos Correa struck out, which you always love to see.
Bregman grounded out and Tucker flew out to end the inning.
Bottom 4th: Yandy, Brandon Lowe and Margot all grounded out in the inning, making Valdez throw only nine pitches.
Top 5th: Snell walked Gurriel and Aledmys Diaz back-to-back and that marked the end of the day for the left-handed starter. Diego Castillo is coming in to face Maldonado.
Maldonado dropped a sac bunt to move both runners up with one out. George Springer beat the shift and plated two with a single, making it 2-1, but it was Jose Altuve’s RBI double that felt like the back breaker.
To make matters worse, Carlos Correa drove Altuve home to make it 4-1. The inning finally ended, but the lead was gone and with the offense going invisible, things looked bleak.
Bottom 5th: Willy drew a leadoff walk but Joey Wendle grounded into a fielders choice. Mike Zunino struck out swinging at three straight curveballs. With Valdez only at 74 pitches, top of the order has a chance to see him for a third time. Brosseau struck out for the third time tonight to end the inning.
Top 6th: Send help. Shane McClanahan was brought in and immediately allowed a home run to Kyle Tucker. He got the next three outs however. This isn’t fun.
Bottom 6th: Randy’s up in the bottom of the sixth. He grounded out. Hunter Renfroe avoided the hat trick by hitting an infield single, bringing Yandy up. Yandy drew a walk on a pitch he didn’t offer at, and there was some back-and-forth between him and Valdez, but nothing came of it.
Too bad Brandon Lowe grounded into an inning-ending double play, because of course he did.
Top 7th: Altuve hit a leadoff single. Brantley singled to score him, 6-1. Correa doubled. Tucker hit a sacrifice fly, 7-1. Gurriel walked. McClanahan was pulled for Alvarado. Alvarado struck Reddick out to end the inning.
Bottom 7th: Valdez was finally removed from the game with Andre Scrubb replacing him. Hey, Margot homered! It’s only a five run deficit now!
Willy drew a walk and Wendle grounded out to move him up to second. Mike Zunino struck out and Mike Brosseau walked with Adames moving up to third on a passed ball during the Brosseau at bat to put runners on the corners with two outs for Randy. Arozarena grounded out to end the inning.
Top 8th: Meanwhile in the eighth, Jose Alvarado has walked the bases loaded. Alvarado struck out Brantley. Aaron Loup was brought in and struck out Correa for out number two. Loup struck out Bregman to end the inning.
Bottom 8th: Austin Meadows pinch hits to leadoff the inning, Cristian Javier replaces Scrubb for Houston. Meadows struck out on a low changeup like he does every time he steps up to the plate. Choi struck out to make it two outs. Brandon Lowe drew a walk to bring up Margot.
Well, well, well, Margot did it again. A two-run home run makes it a 7-4 game...
Willy Adames swung at a pitch four miles out of the zone and grounded out to end the inning.
Top 9th: John Curtiss enters the game and works a 1-2-3 inning.
Bottom 9th: Well, here we go. Joey Wendle leads off the inning for the Rays. Strikeout, out number one. Yoshi is going to pinch-hit for Zunino here. A single through the shift! Mike Brosseau up now. And he grounds into a double play to end it.
Well, the monumental collapse has happened. Houston has forced a winner-take-all game seven after the Rays had a 3-0 lead. It’s gone from the Rays being one win away from the World Series to both teams being a win away from the World Series.
Now the Rays just need to not complete the choke. This series comes to an end tomorrow, let’s hope the Rays are able to come out on top, because if they don’t... woof.