With the Rays wearing their Sunday best, the offense finally collected some RISP hits and scored just enough to knock off the Astros 5-4.
Rich Hill got the start, and the Astros never really threatened against him. Hill worked a little more than one time through the order, going three shutout innings, giving up one hit and one walk while striking out four.
Michael Wacha took over to start the fourth. With one out, Alvarez hit a solo shot to center to put the Astros up 1-0.
The Astros put men on second and third with no outs in the fifth on a single by Tucker and a double by Straw. After striking out Maldonado, Wacha gave up a sac fly to Altuve. A bloop single from Brantley followed, pushing the Astros lead to 3-0.
Meanwhile, the bats still slumbered...
The Rays blew a golden opportunity to break out early in the second. They put runners on the corners with no outs, when Lowe singled sharply to right and Kiermaier rolled one through the open left side. But pop outs by Adames and Tsutsugo were followed by a strikeout from Mejía.
In the third, Randy drew a one out walk, stole second, then moved to third on a Meadows flyout. Wendle followed and stung a liner to left that Brantley ran down. Because of course.
In the fourth, KK singled to center. The rally ended quickly when Willy grounded into a double play.
BUT IN THE FIFTH
The Rays finally broke through in the fifth. A walk by Yoshi and a HBP of Randy put two on with two out, Meadows cashed in, and with authority, driving a 1-0 change off the right field back wall.
FEELS GOOD!— Bally Sports Sun: Rays (@BallyRays) May 2, 2021
Austin Meadows with a 3-run blast evens the score in the @RaysBaseball vs. Houston game!
: Bally Sports Sun
: Download the new @BallySports app pic.twitter.com/7xdjPPxfyz
That 3 run HR by Austin Meadows was a huge breath of fresh air for the Rays. pic.twitter.com/R90sNTBvuU— Tricia Whitaker (@TriciaWhitaker) May 2, 2021
Wacha was still in for the sixth. He ran a full count to Alvarez, who doubled to right on the eighth pitch. Wacha rebounded by getting Gurriel to flyout, then whiffing Correa.
Cash called on Thompson. An international walk to Tucker set up Thompson against two righties. The strategy was not rewarded when a pinball single to center scored Alvarez. 4-3 Astros.
The Rays rebounded nicely in the bottom of the frame. Kiermaier looped a one out automatic double that hit the foul pole on a bounce. KK then moved up to third on a wild pitch. Willy Adames hit a tapper up the first base line that was fielded by Guirrel halfway to home. With KK running on the contact play, a good throw home gets him easily. But this was ... um ... not a good throw.
Tie game, 4-4.
After a strikeout by Tsutsugo, Mejía reached on a HBP, putting two on with two out. Phillips was unable to convert the chance as he struck out on a nasty 3-2 slider.
The Rays took their first lead since Thursday In the bottom of the seventh. It started when Meadows reached on a one out HBP. Yandy Diaz then pinch hit for Wendle and worked a long at bat before singling to third on the eleventh pitch. Meadows moved up to third when Bregman’s throw got away. Margot got the pinch hit call for Lowe, and faced new pitcher and old friend Ryne Stanek. The Rays took the lead when Margot scorched or dribbled (depending on you point of view) a single through the right side.
BASE HIT, RAYS LEAD!— Bally Sports Sun: Rays (@BallyRays) May 2, 2021
Austin Meadows scores the go-ahead run on the Manuel Margot base hit! @RaysBaseball take the lead in the 7th!
: Bally Sports Sun
: Download the new @BallySports app pic.twitter.com/CQerOWKNxW
The hit was 108 mph(WOW), -23 degrees (um, is that good?), 4 feet (el oh el).
Regardless, 5-4 Rays!
The Ray’s traditional bullpen was solid, with Springs and Kittredge working after Thompson and not surrendering anything through the back innings, setting things up for Diego Castillo to close it.
Not that things didn’t get interesting!
After striking out the first two hitters he faced, Jason Castro hit a sharp double to right, bringing José Altuve. Altuve grounded one back up the middle that Brosseau fielded on the edge of the turf. His strong throw to first just nipped Altuve.
Heading west with some momentum— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) May 2, 2021
No off day tomorrow for the Rays. The travel to the West Coast to start a series with the Angels. Game time is at 9:38.