I’m not sure if this was a soft audition for Kevin Kiermaier’s post-baseball career, but he spent tonight’s game in the booth with BA and Dewayne, providing a little bonus color for the broadcast. He wasn’t bad, as broadcasters go, but he is unfortunately a “the” MLB guy. The horror.
Anyway, the Rays kicked things off with Kluber on the mound and he actually had a pretty good outing, that looked briefly miserable thanks to the Rays taking their sweet time scoring a run in this entire series.
Top of the first Altuve singled before being erased by a Peña fielder’s choice. Peña then stole second. Diaz singled to score Peña, putting the Astros on the board early, and they were going to have to make the most of that one run because neither team would make anything happen for a good long while. Bottom of the inning an Aranda walk was the only Rays baserunner.
I’m going to keep this recap unusually brief by my standards and tell you that both Kluber and McCullers were looking good and keeping runners off the bases, and not a single run scored from the second inning through the fifth.
Top of the sixth an Alvarez walk was the only Astros baserunner. Bottom of the inning the Rays finally decided to score as Franco doubled with one out, then Arozarena had a perfectly placed single to advance Franco to third. A Peralta groundout brought Franco home and tied things up.
Onto the seventh and a McCormick single was it for Houston, and also the end of the game for Kluber with a very nice final line of 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K on a tidy 83 pitches. As the game headed into the bottom of the seventh Isaac Paredes said “extra innings, no thanks” and hit a solo home run. Pinto doubled, but no additional runs scored.
"Uh oh!" -KK (who knew right away) pic.twitter.com/OGXriAid0i— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 22, 2022
Raley was up for the Rays in relief and on the first pitch gave up a double to Peña. Alvarez lined out to get Peña to third. Diaz then singled to score Peña, but the Astros weren’t done yet as Tucker homered to score himself and Diaz. Not a great inning for Raley. Sigh. Bottom of the inning the Rays had to settle for an Arozarena single and nothing else.
Top of the ninth and Knight was hoping to stop the bleeding a little, but nope. After McCormick hit a long fly and got robbed by Siri (to much adulation for Kiermaier in the booth) the next hit from Maldonado did go out and put the Astros up 5-2. The Rays went into the bottom of the ninth, where Siri drew a two-out walk, but it was not to be and the Rays lost the series, but at least they scored some runs.
Final: Astros 5, Rays 2