Rays get to Ver­lan­der

Edmonton Sun - - SPORTS -

Tommy Pham hit Justin Ver­lan­der’s eighth pitch for a home run to ig­nite a three-run first in­ning, and six Tampa Bay pitch­ers com­bined on a six-hit­ter Tues­day as the Rays forced a de­cid­ing Game 5 in the Amer­i­can League Divi­sion Series with a 4-1 win over the Hous­ton Astros in St. Peters­burg, Fla.

Pham’s homer to left­cen­tre gave the up­ris­ing mo­men­tum, af­ter which a walk to Ji-man Choi and sin­gle by Avi­sail Gar­cia set up an RBI sin­gle by Travis d’ar­naud and a run-scor­ing dou­ble by Joey Wen­dle for a 3-0 lead.

Af­ter Rays opener Diego Castillo was pulled fol­low­ing 1 2/3 score­less in­nings, hav­ing al­lowed one hit and one walk, the Astros threat­ened to close the gap in the fourth against Ryan Yar­brough. Jose Al­tuve sin­gled and Yor­dan Al­varez bombed a dou­ble to cen­tre field. How­ever, Al­tuve was thrown out at the plate.

Al­varez reached third on a wild pitch with two outs, but Tampa Bay’s third pitcher, Nick An­der­son, got Yuli Gur­riel on a come­backer to keep the score at 3-0.

Willy Adames made it 4-0 with a lead­off home run in the bot­tom of the fourth off Ver­lan­der, who faced three more hit­ters be­fore get­ting pulled af­ter strug­gling through 84 pitches. He was pitch­ing on three days’ rest for the first time this season.

The vet­eran was charged with four runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 in­nings.

The Astros fi­nally got on the board in the eighth when Robin­son Chiri­nos hit a twoout, solo home run off Colin Poche to close the gap to 4-1.

The Rays brought in closer Emilio Pa­gan at that point, and then Blake Snell with one out and two aboard in the ninth.

Snell, the 2018 AL Cy Young Award win­ner who was mak­ing his first ca­reer re­lief ap­pear­ance, re­tired Al­varez on a strike­out and Gur­riel on a grounder to earn the save.

KIM KLEMENT/USA TODAY SPORTS

Tampa Bay short­stop Willy Adames (left) and cen­tre fielder Kevin Kier­maier cel­e­brate their team’s win over the Hous­ton Astros last night at Trop­i­cana Field.

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