clearn.png
Tuesday October 22nd, 2019 8:50PM

Rays pummel Greinke, Morton clutch vs Astros to win Game 3

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Charlie Morton to the rescue, again.

Kevin Kiermaier hit a go-ahead, three-run homer as Tampa Bay teed off on Zack Greinke, and the Rays got another clutch playoff performance from Morton to beat the Houston Astros 10-3 Monday and cut their AL Division Series deficit to 2-1.

Facing the team he helped win the World Series two years ago, Morton allowed one run and three hits while striking out nine over five innings. The 35-year-old right-hander is 4-0 with a 0.95 ERA in four career elimination starts, including last week's wild-card win at Oakland.

"It's just what Charlie's done all year," manager Kevin Cash said. "He's got that knack for doing some special things for us, and he did it again."

Astros manager AJ Hinch announced after the game that Houston will start Justin Verlander on three days of rest in Game 4 of the best-of-five matchup at Tropicana Field on Tuesday. Tampa Bay will use Diego Castillo as an opener.

"He's one of the best pitchers in the world. No more complicated than that," Hinch said of Verlander. "He's ready, and it's his game."

The series winner advances to the AL Championship Series against the New York Yankees, who finished a three-game sweep of Minnesota in the other ALDS on Monday night.

Kiermaier got the wild-card Rays going with his long home run in the second inning. Ji-Man Choi and Brandon Lowe added solo shots off Greinke, who has never won at Tampa Bay, and Willy Adames added a solo drive against Wade Miley in the sixth.

Tampa Bay's four home runs matched a franchise record for a postseason game. The Rays also went deep four times against the Boston Red Sox during the 2008 AL Championship Series and did it again during last week's 5-1 wild-card victory against the Athletics.

"For us to put three runs on the board, that felt great. That was huge for us," Kiermaier said. "After that, it's just, 'Hey, Charlie Morton, go do your thing, go do what you do.' And he did just that."

Jose Altuve homered for the Astros, who are one victory from their third straight appearance in the ALCS, and had two of Houston's three hits off Morton. It was Altuve's 10th career postseason home run, tied with Chase Utley for the most by a second baseman in major league history.

Morton, who won 29 games for Houston over two seasons before joining the Rays as a free agent last offseason, departed with an 8-1 lead. Four relievers finished the combined seven-hitter for the Rays, who have never been swept in a playoff series.

Now, they must avoid being "Verlandered" — a term coined by Cash after the series opener — in Game 4.

"He's tough. We've got to enjoy what we accomplished today and certainly hope we can have better at-bats, production, get something going against him," Cash said. "We'll worry about that (Tuesday). Right now, the guys are pretty pumped about what they just did tonight."

Verlander, who pitched seven scoreless innings to win Game 1, has only started on fewer than the standard four days of rest once. That was in the 2011 ALDS, when his first appearance was limited to one inning by rain.

"The thought process is five-game series are pretty crazy and we've got to win. Never know what can happen," Verlander said. "You can't put all your eggs in one basket and say if we lose tomorrow, we've got Justin and Gerrit (Cole) for Game 5. It's a crazy game."

The Astros won the first two games with a pair of dominating pitching performances from Verlander and Cole, who combined to limit the Rays to one unearned run and five hits with 23 strikeouts over 14 2/3 innings. Houston's other pitchers have allowed 12 earned runs in 11 1/3 innings, an ERA of 9.53.

With Morton on the mound, and returning home for the first playoff game at Tropicana Field in six years, the Rays were confident they would find a way to get back into the series against Greinke, an 18-game winner who was 8-1 with a 3.02 in 10 starts after being acquired from Arizona at the trade deadline.

Kiermaier's homer to right-center whipped a crowd of 32,251 waving bright yellow rally towels — more than twice the 14,734 the Rays averaged during the regular season — into a frenzy. The party continued when Choi homered with two outs in the third and Lowe led off the fourth with an opposite-field shot that made it 5-1.

Morton, meanwhile, remained perfect in potential postseason elimination games, including a pair of Game 7 victories during Houston's 2017 World Series run. He shrugged off yielding Altuve's homer and throwing 31 pitches in the first inning to hold the Astros' potent lineup in check while his offense was building a comfortable lead.

"I've seen this out of Charlie," Hinch said. "When you get him early, get some opportunities early, you have to maximize them if you can. Same thing he did in the wild-card game. He settled in nicely and got them through five innings."

GREINKE'S STRUGGLES

In six career regular season appearances at Tropicana Field, including five starts, Greinke is 0-4 with a 4.45 ERA. His start Monday was his first at the domed stadium since May 2, 2010, when he was a member of the Kansas City Royals. Including Monday, he's allowed eight homers in 36 innings.

Greinke was pulled after 61 pitches, and his ERA over 12 career postseason starts rose to 4.58.

HOMER STREAK

The Astros have homered in 28 consecutive games, including the first three of the ALDS. It's the second-longest streak in major league history. The New York Yankees homered in 31 straight games from May 26 to June 30 of this season.

UP NEXT

Cash plans to play matchups with his bullpen after Castillo in Game 4.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Baseball , AP Sports - Major League Baseball
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
US Rep. Maloney says she's recovering from bronchitis
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York City says she's recovering from bronchitis after she became ill and went to the hospital
5:16PM ( 3 minutes ago )
US signs limited deal with Japan on ag, digital trade
The United States and Japan have signed a limited trade agreement, a deal that would win back benefits American farmers lost when President Donald Trump pulled out of a broader Asia-Pacific pact his first week in office
5:15PM ( 4 minutes ago )
1 suspect sought, 1 arrested in deadly Kansas bar shooting
Police have arrested one suspect and are searching for a second in a Kansas City, Kansas, bar shooting that left four dead and five others wounded
5:15PM ( 4 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Delle Donne provides emotional lift for the Mystics
Elena Delle Donne provides lift for Washington Mystics, helping them win Game 3 despite being diagnosed with herniated disk in back
4:38PM ( 41 minutes ago )
Pac-12 Commissioner: Serious concerns with California law
Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott has expressed serious concerns about a new law that would allow college athletes in California to hire agents and be compensated for the use of their name or likeness through endorsement deals
4:36PM ( 44 minutes ago )
NBA's reaction to Morey tweet differs in English, Chinese
Lost in translation: NBA's reaction to Morey's tweet differs when translated from English to Chinese
4:31PM ( 49 minutes ago )
AP Sports
Braves LHP Keuchel to start Game 4 of NLDS on short rest
Braves LHP Dallas Keuchel to start Game 4 of NL Division Series on short rest
12:02PM ( 5 hours ago )
LEADING OFF: All 4 Division Series matchups could be decided
LEADING OFF: All 4 Division Series matchups could be decided; Astros, Yankees try to sweep
2:39AM ( 14 hours ago )
7 2-out runs in 6th lift LA past Nats 10-4 for 2-1 NLDS lead
Justin Turner's homer capped a startling and record-setting seven-run rally in the sixth inning as the Dodgers roughed up starter-turned-reliever Patrick Corbin, and Los Angeles beat Washington 10-4 for a 2-1 lead in their NL Division Series
2:03AM ( 15 hours ago )
AP Online Baseball
Carpenter starting for St. Louis in Game 3 of NLDS
Matt Carpenter starts at 3B for Cardinals in Game 3 of NL Division Series against Braves
2:17PM ( 1 day ago )
Cole fans 15, Bregman homers as Astros top Rays 3-1
Gerrit Cole carried his splendid September into an outstanding October, Alex Bregman handed fans chanting MVP the mighty swing they craved and Houston survived a wild ninth inning to beat Tampa Bay 3-1 for a 2-0 lead in their AL Division Series
2:22AM ( 1 day ago )
LEADING OFF: Scherzer to start for Nats after relief outing
LEADING OFF: Scherzer to start for Nats after relief outing; Wainwright faces team that drafted him; AL takes travel day
10:47PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Sports - Major League Baseball
US Rep. Maloney says she's recovering from bronchitis
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York City says she's recovering from bronchitis after she became ill and went to the hospital
5:16PM ( 3 minutes ago )
1 suspect sought, 1 arrested in deadly Kansas bar shooting
Police have arrested one suspect and are searching for a second in a Kansas City, Kansas, bar shooting that left four dead and five others wounded
5:15PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Airline went into records after Max crash, engineer says
AP Exclusive: Ethiopian Airlines' former chief engineer says in a whistleblower complaint that the carrier went into maintenance records on a Boeing 737 Max jet a day after it crashed this year, a breach he contends was part of a pattern of corruption
5:04PM ( 15 minutes ago )
First lady calls for end of e-cigarette marketing to youth
Melania Trump is calling on companies to stop marketing e-cigarettes to children, saying they're addictive and dangerous
4:52PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Major US stock indexes veer broadly lower in choppy trading
A day of choppy trading on Wall Street ended Monday with stocks broadly lower as the market extended its losing streak into a fourth week
4:43PM ( 37 minutes ago )