Well, that could’ve gone better for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Justin Verlander was, well, Justin Verlander. The Astros ace — one of ’em anyway — tossed seven shutout innings, allowing only one hit and striking out eight. The Rays drew three walks but never really threatened while he was in the game. The Astros won 6-2.
Verlander’s counterpart Tyler Glasnow got into a jam in the third but was otherwise pretty good for four innings, throwing near-100 m.p.h. heat and not allowing a run. That fifth inning, though, was a lulu.
After giving up a leadoff walk to ninth place hitter Josh Reddick, Glasnow struck out George Springer. With José Altuve at the plate he delivered his 76th and final pitch of the game: a 97.5 m.p.h. fastball up high. Velocity is great, but big league batters can adjust to it eventually. Atuve, one of the best big league hitters there is, was not fazed. He put lumber on it and sent it into the Crawford Boxes to give the Astros a 2-0 lead:
With Glasnow gone reliever Brendan McKay put two more runners on and the Rays gave up two more due to bad defense, with both runners scoring on a fly ball that fell in between the second baseman and right fielder. The second baseman was charged with an error:
The sides traded zeros in the sixth but then the Astros plated two more in the bottom of the seventh via RBI doubles from Yordan Álvarez and Yuli Gurriel, both off of Oliver Drake. It was 6-0 at that point and A.J. Hinch lifted Verlander to start the eighth.
That agreed with the Rays, who managed to rally for two runs on four hits off of Ryan Pressly, with Eric Sogard singling in a run and Austin Meadows doubling one in. Hinch lifted him with two outs and runners on the corner. Will Harris came in and got Ji-Man Choi to end the would-be comeback before it really came all that far back. Roberto Osuna came on in the ninth and set the Rays down in order to end it.
Good luck, guys!