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Javier quiets playoff-bound Rays: Rays 1, Astros 2

But it’s all academic now.

Tampa Bay Rays v Houston Astros Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Rays clinched a spot in the postseason on Friday night for the fourth consecutive season, a franchise record. This means that the last five games of the season will be used to determine who and where the Rays will be playing next weekend in the Wild Card Round. They entered the game in the third and final spot, two games behind Toronto and a half-game behind Seattle.

Shane McClanahan got the start for the Rays was opposed by Christian Javier.

Kevin Cash moved David Peralta into the leadoff spot for this game because entering Saturday he was just two hits away from 1,000 for his career. While the Rays' offense was mostly quiet against the Houston pitchers, Peralta tallied those two hits and reached an important career milestone.

The Astros got on the board in the third inning after a Jake Meyers single and a wild pitch from McClanahan put a runner in scoring position. Jose Altuve walked with one out in the inning before rookie shortstop Jeremy Peña singled in the first run of the game. The Astros picked up their second and final run of the evening on another McClanahan wild pitch that scored Altuve.

While McClanahan didn’t have his best strikeout stuff against a talented Houston lineup, he still managed to get through five innings, allowing just the two runs in the third. He walked one and struck out two.

Christian Javier was able to keep the Rays out of the run column entirely before handing it to the bullpen after six innings. The third-year starter allowed just two hits and two walks while striking out seven.

The Rays bullpen kept it close, with Garrett Cleavinger pitching the sixth, and JT Chargois getting the seventh and eighth innings, both allowing zero runs. That allowed for a comeback effort in the ninth against Astros’ closer Ryan Pressly. Peralta struck out swinging to begin the inning, but back-to-back walks to Randy Arozarena and Wander Franco put the Rays in business and brought the go-ahead run to the plate with just one out.

Ji-Man Choi struck out for out number two, and Jonathan Aranda was lifted for the injured-Yandy Díaz. Díaz, who is dealing with a shoulder injury, got back into the lineup on Friday night but was limited to bench duties once again on Saturday. The rest seemingly helped, he singled on a chopper through the left side of the infield, scoring Arozarena and moving the tying run into scoring position.

Harold Ramírez was the next to come off the bench, replacing Taylor Walls at the plate. Ryan Pressly, while on the ropes, managed to get Ramírez to line out to right field to end the game.

The Rays now sit three games behind Toronto in the Wild Card standings, and 1.5 games behind Seattle. It’s looking more likely that the Rays will have to travel to Cleveland next weekend for a three-game series, with the winner set to face the New York Yankees in the ALDS.

Corey Kluber will get the start in Sunday’s series finale, and go up against Luis Garcia. First pitch is scheduled for 2:10 ET.