David D’Annibale, Staff Writer |
The Rays defeated the Astros in game seven of the American League Championship Series (ALCS) to play in the World Series for the second time in their team history. Tampa Bay’s first appearance was in 2008 against the Philadelphia Phillies but ended badly as they lost the series 4-1 and three of their losses were only by one run. The team will look to earn their first title in Rays franchise history.
Tampa Bay defeated the Toronto Blue Jays in the wild card round of the playoffs and then defeated the New York Yankees in the Division round. The Rays faced off against the reigning ALCS champs, the Astros. Houston defeated the Minnesota Twins in the first round then defeated division rival, the Oakland Athletics, in the second round.
Game one of the series took place on Oct. 11 and featured Tampa’s ace Blake Snell facing off against Framber Valdez. The game was low scoring and remained close, but the Rays were able to gain the lead in the fifth and held on to win 2-1. In the second game of the series, the Rays gained a three-run lead in the first inning after Manuel Margot hit a three-run home run. Houston couldn’t overcome the early deficit and was held to two runs leaving the final score of the game 4-2. Game three opened with the Astros scoring the first run in the first inning after Jose Altuve hit a solo home run. In the sixth inning, the Rays offense was on fire scoring five runs to gain their first lead of the night. The Rays bullpen allowed only one more run in the game and pitcher Diego Castillo closed the game in the ninth. Tampa fell short by one win from going to the World Series.
The next three games were won by the Astros. In game four, both teams scored two runs each in the first half of the game. In the fifth inning, the Astros gained the lead by scoring two runs. In the ninth, the Rays couldn’t finish their rally and lost their first game of the series 4-3. Game five resulted in the same score with Houston on top 4-3. The Rays tied the game in the eighth inning after Ji-Man Choi hit a solo home run which tied the game at three but at the bottom of the ninth Carlos Correa won with a walk-off home. In-game six, Tampa Bay led 1-0 entering the fifth inning but with two runners on and nobody out, the Rays manager went to the bullpen, which proved to be a costly decision. The Astros scored seven straight runs off Tampa’s bullpen to win game six. The series was tied at three and the Rays were in danger of blowing a 3-0 lead, which has only happened once in postseason history. The Yankees had a 3-0 lead over the Red Sox but failed to win one more game. The Rays avoided this fate as they were able to capture game seven with the help of a strong performance by starting pitcher Charlie Morton. The Rays won 4-2 and will now travel to Arlington, Texas to attempt to win the World Series.