Rays pitch to Correa; rookie's reply ends game
HOUSTON -- Carlos Correa shot a two-out single to right field to score Colby Rasmus from third base in the 13th inning and send the Astros to their second consecutive walk-off win over the Rays, 3-2, on Wednesday night at Minute Maid Park.
Correa's big moment came with two outs and runners on second and third. Tampa Bay had the option of walking Correa and pitching to Jed Lowrie, who had gone 2-for-4 in the game. Instead, the Rays elected to pitch to the rookie phenom, who made them pay by delivering the game-winning hit off Matt Andriese.
"It was really exciting," said Correa, who homered in the first inning. "One of the greatest moments so far to be able to get a hit to help your team win a ballgame is always fun. To be able to do it in back-to-back days -- Marwin [Gonzalez] yesterday and me today -- was really special."
The never-say-die Astros rallied in the ninth against Brad Boxberger to tie the game. Lowrie reached on a bloop double to start the inning, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a one-out single up the middle by Evan Gattis past a drawn-in infield.
The 13th-inning rally against Andriese began when Rasmus walked with one out and Jose Altuve pushed him to third with a single. And then Correa came through, when given the opportunity.
"Why would they walk me?" Correa said following the game. "I'm only 20 years old. They should try to pitch to me."
The Rays answered a first-inning homer by Correa by scoring twice in the seventh to take a 2-1 lead. Tim Beckham hit an RBI triple with one out and scored on a James Loney sacrifice fly off Astros starter Dallas Keuchel, who allowed two runs, seven hits and one walk in seven-plus innings to remain unbeaten at home.
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Hinch's hunches pay off: Hinch went 3-for-3 on replay challenges, two of which came in big situations. In the first inning, Desmond Jennings was originally called safe while sliding into second to load the bases with no outs, but the call was overturned after replay showed shortstop Correa had touched the bag first, making it a fielder's choice. In the bottom of the sixth, Preston Tucker was originally called out, but the call was overturned and he was awarded a single. Hinch challenged for a third time in the 13th and got a leadoff single by Grady Sizemore overturned. More >
"At that point in the game, you have it in your pocket and you've sort of earned the right to still have one with the game on the line," Hinch said of his 13th-inning challenge. "Sometimes you don't wait for the phone call."
A little help from a fan: Logan Forsythe appeared to be out when he led off the Rays' seventh. He popped the ball into foul territory and Astros first baseman Luis Valbuena seemed to have a good chance to make a play. Instead, he had to contend with some fans for the ball and came away empty handed. Forsythe then singled, stole second and scored on Beckham's triple. Loney's sacrifice fly drove home Beckham to give the Rays a 2-1 lead.
Qualls sets tone: Reliever Chad Qualls bailed out Keuchel and the Astros in the eighth when he came into the game with runners at first and second and no outs. He struck out three of the next four batters, including two whiffs with the bases loaded to keep the Rays from building on their lead. More >
"Oh, it's the most frustrating thing ever, because you can't look at something and change something. It's just a matter of it's just not going your way that day, or a couple of days, whatever it is." -- Boxberger, on throwing well but not getting the results
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Xavier Cedeno pitched a scoreless seventh inning for the Rays and is now scoreless in 15 straight appearances (12 2/3 innings).
Wednesday was the first time the Astros struck out 19 times in a home game and won.
Rays: Ace Chris Archer (10-9, 2.93 ERA) will start the final game of the four-game series on Thursday at 8:10 p.m. ET. The right-hander got roughed up a bit in Texas on Saturday when he allowed eight runs (seven earned) on 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings against the Rangers. He is 2-1 with a 1.09 ERA in four career starts against the Astros.
Astros: Right-hander Collin McHugh (13-6, 4.09 ERA) will get the start in Thursday's 7:10 p.m. CT series finale at Minute Maid Park against the Rays. McHugh, who has a 2.99 ERA in his last 11 starts, finished with a no-decision in his last start, when he scattered just four hits over seven innings of one-run ball in the Astros' loss to Detroit on Saturday.
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