Rays beat Astros in ALCS Game 7, head to World Series

Ruben Hill
October 18, 2020

Down in the series 3-0, the Astros scored four runs early in Game 4 and survived a late push by the Tampa Bay Rays to win their first game.

In the end, despite the near calamity of what would have been an epic collapse, the Rays showcased the fruits of their trademark resourcefulness to reach their first World Series since 2008. Game 7 of the NLCS is Sunday night.

Tampa Bay made up for its ordinary offense throughout the season with excellent pitching and defense, but the Rays stumbled in both aspects in Game 6.

The 26-year-old came up clutch multiple times during the 2020 postseason, mashing six home runs - including the walk-off blast that forced Game 7 - across three playoff series. Fireworks exploded over an empty ballpark as the game ended.

Arozarena was chosen as the ALCS MVP and did Cristiano Ronaldo's famous goal celebration dance.

The Astros won their third straight game in the series to send things to a seventh game.

For Houston, it was an emotional loss after a tumultuous season for the organization. Nick Anderson would relive Morton much to the chagrin of Rays fans who thought Morton deserved to be out there even with two Astros runners on base. Peter Fairbanks came in for Anderson and walked the first batter he faced and then allowed a two-run single to Carlos Correa.

Hinch's replacement, 71-year-old Dusty Baker, helped restore some of the goodwill the Astros squandered. They lost Game 7 to Washington previous year.

After the loss, shortstop Carlos Correa had nothing but praise for the club and his teammates. They are trying to join the 2004 Boston Red Sox as the only other Major League Baseball team to come back from down 3-0 in a series. Boston went on to win its first World Series in 86 seasons.

Arozarena's seven home runs are a record for a rookie in one postseason. Traded to Tampa Bay in the offseason, he tested positive for COVID-19 before summer camp and didn't make his 2020 debut until August 30.

In the second inning, Mike Zunino hit a solo home run to put Tampa Bay up three runs.

Until he started showing his October power, Arozarena was best known for a gaffe he committed while with the St. Louis Cardinals last postseason. Rays manager Kevin Cash stuck to the brand of baseball that got the Astros this far, pulling Morton despite his dominance and light workload, and it worked out.

The team awaits the victor of Game 7 of the National League Championship Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves.

The Astros did not score until the eighth inning.

Correa hit a 96 miles per hour fastball from Nick Anderson and deposited a 416-foot drive to center.

Cash had to use five relievers just to finish the game, meaning his once-rested bullpen got plenty of work.

McCullers Jr. lasted only 3 2/3 innings.

Taking out a veteran starter cruising through a playoff game is unconventional, but true to how the Rays play.

"All in all, I think we're in a pretty good spot", said Charlie Morton, the Rays' starter in Game 7.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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