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Astros eliminate Rays

Astros 6, Rays 1: The Astros started and ended strong. In between, there was Gerrit Cole to haunt their dreams.
Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Tommy Pham (29) is seen in the dugout in the fifth inning against the Houston Astros in Game 5 of the American League Division Series Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019 in Houston. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
Published Oct. 10
Updated Oct. 11

It’s over, the game and the Rays season.

Marc Topkin has it wrapped up here.

Update, bottom of the eighth:

Michael Brantley finally broke the Rays bullpen’s spell.

Brantley drove Emilio Pagan’s 95-mph fastball out to right for his first career postseason home run, and Jose Altuve followed with a homer to left as the Astros broke the game open for a 6-1 lead.

Update, middle of the eighth inning:

Well, here’s some encouraging news for the Rays.

Cole went down and in to lefthanders Joey Wendle and Kevin Kiermaier for strikeouts in the eighth and retired Willy Adames on a sharp grounder back through the middle.

Update, end of the seventh inning:

Few will remember it this way, but Rays relievers, seven of them, matched the mastery of Gerrit Cole pitch for pitch in Game 5. Actually, through seven innings the Rays (counting Tyler Glasnow) needed only four more pitches (99 to 95) than Cole.




Update, middle of the sixth inning

The Rays retired 13 straight Astros before Ryan Yarbrough’s two-out walk in the fifth brought on the fifth Tampa Bay pitcher of the game. Nick Anderson got Jose Altuve on a towering pop up to right field.

None of that matters if the Rays can’t get Astros starter Gerrit Cole out of cruise control, as Fox analyst A.J. Pierzynski called it. Cole set the Rays down in order in the sixth, fanning Ji-Man Choi for his eighth strikeout. He’s not as dominating as in Game 2. He may never again be that dominating.

Update, middle of the fifth inning.

Throw out those first four Astros batters and it’s a 1-1 game, both teams with two hits.

Blake Snell continued to steady the Rays, retiring Yuli Gurriel, Carlos Correa and Josh Reddick in order, Reddick on a strikeout. The Astros haven’t had a baserunner since Gurriel’s RBI single with one out in the first inning.

Unfortunately for the Rays, they can’t do much with Gerrit Cole. Particularly troublesome: Travis d’Arnaud’s series struggles continue. He’s 2 for 15 thus far. Other than Eric Sogard’s home run on the first pitch of the second inning, Ji-Man Choi has the only Rays hit — an opposite-field single in the fourth inning against an extreme Astros shift.

A 10-pitch fifth inning for Cole doesn’t help the Tampa Bay cause.

Update, end third inning:

Was Tyler Glasnow tipping his pitches?

He gave up hard hits to the first four batters. Alex Bregman was whispering advice to Carlos Correa after Bregman came around to score the fourth Astros run, and former Rays infielder Trevor Plouffe was tweeting that Glasnow as tipping his pitches. (See below).

Whatever Glasnow was doing, he stopped.

The Rays right-hander allowed only one hit to the final eight batters he faced, striking out three without a walk, before leaving behind a 4-1 deficit. Blake Snell came on to retire Yordan Alvarez on a fly to left field for the final out of the third.

Update, middle third inning:

If you think you’re having a tough night, at least you aren’t the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Two pitchers they drafted and traded away are starting Game 5. But before Gerrit Cole or Tyler Glasnow could take the mound, the Pirates contributed the tweet of the night.

Meanwhile, a former Astros ace tweeted his pregame prediction:

Sogard to the rescue?

Update, top second inning:

The Astros didn’t have much time to enjoy their big first inning.

Eric Sogard, getting his first start of the series, hit the first pitch of the bottom of the second inning into the right-field stands to give the Rays life.


A nightmare first inning for the Rays and Glasnow

Tyler Glasnow pitched in the middle of the plate to the Astros’ first four hitters, and they all made him pay.

Alex Bregman ripped a two-run double to the gap in right-center for Houston’s fourth hit on Glasnow’s first 10 pitches. Bregman’s gapper followed three straight singles by George Springer, Michael Brantley and Jose Altuve.

Yuli Gurriel’s one-out shot past Joey Wendle at third brought home Bregman to make it 4-0 before Glasnow fanned Carlos Correa and Josh Reddick to escape the inning.

A former Rays player tweets that Glasnow is tipping his pitches.


At least Ji-Man Choi made Gerrit Cole work a bit in the bottom of the first inning

Choi walked for the sixth time in the American League Division Series in the top of the first inning Thursday. But the first inning of Game 5 resembled the first inning of Game 2 against Cole. The Rays sent four batters to the plate, put one runner on and struck out twice.

Pregame

All of four analysts for FS1 picked the Astros, for what it’s worth.

Some last-minute tweets worth checking out:

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Tampa Bay Rays left fielder Tommy Pham (29) takes a moment in the dugout after the Rays 6-2 loss to the Houston Astros in Game 1 of the American League Division Series Friday, Oct. 4, 2019 in Houston. DIRK SHADD  |  Times
    When deal is announced Friday, Rays will add power and young talent, and save on Pham’s projected $8.6 million salary.
  2. It would help if regular season crowds were as large and enthusiastic as the American League Division Series against Houston last month. As it is, the Rays have been at the bottom of the American League in attendance for much of the past decade despite one of the highest win totals in baseball. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times
    John Romano | Mayor Rick Kriseman’s decision to dismiss the shared city plan with Montreal means the Rays probably won’t get a stadium deal until their lease runs out in St. Pete in 2028.
  3. Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg is excited to have a home playoff game for the first time since 2013. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    In a statement, principal owner Stuart Sternberg said they still believe the sister city plan is worth considering.
  4. St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said he will not allow the Tampa Bay Rays to split its season in Montreal. The city and team are once again at an impasse until 2027, when the Trop contract ends and the Rays could move wherever the team wishes. CHRIS URSO  |  Times
    St. Petersburg’s mayor said he won’t give the Rays permission to explore playing in both Tampa Bay and Montreal. The team would become a free agent franchise after 2027.
  5. Joe Garvey (right) with Steve Garvey 1970's.  Photo Provided By Garvey Family Tampa Tribune
    John Romano | Steve Garvey does not have the cumulative stats of a Hall of Famer, but he was an MVP and 10-time All-Star and one of the most recognizable players of the 1970s and ’80s.
  6. Guillermo Heredia, center and the Tampa Bay Rays celebrate on the field after defeating the Toronto Blue Jays to clinch a wildcard playoff birth. Friday, Sept. 27, 2019 in Toronto, Canada DIRK SHADD   |   TIMES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Among others of potential interest who were made free agents elsewhere: Ex-Rays Steven Souza and C.J. Cron.
  7. Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Chaz Roe (52) delivers a pitch in the sixth inning against the Houston Astros in Game 3 of the American League Division Series Monday, Oct. 7, 2019 in St. Petersburg. DOUGLAS CLIFFORD  |  Times
    Monday at 8 p.m. is when teams have to tender contracts to rostered players or they become free agents.
  8. If the Rays hadn't already committed to Mike Zunino (above), he would likely be just the kind of catcher they would be looking to as a replacement for Travis d'Arnaud. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Rays Tales: A look at two of their biggest decisions thus far, plus who are all these ex-Rays managing, and rumblings.
  9. The Pirates posted the news of Derek Shelton's hiring on Twitter. Twitter
    Current Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro was a finalist for the last remaining opening in the majors, for now anyway.
  10. The Rays acquired former Cincinnati Reds first baseman Brian O'Grady (34) on Wednesday. AARON DOSTER  |  AP
    With a roster spot opened, they add a first baseman/outfielder who put up big numbers at Triple-A last season.
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