HOUSTON - The Tampa Bay Rays look to complete a remarkable comeback when they visit the Houston Astros, who had a major league-best 107 victories in the regular season, for a decisive Game 5 of their American League Division Series on Thursday.
TV: 7:07 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
The Rays were outscored 9-3 to lose the first two games of the series in Houston before bouncing back to take the next two at home while holding the high-powered Astros to four total runs after a 4-1 win Tuesday.
"I don't know if anybody has us getting to Game 4," Tampa Bay catcher Travis d'Arnaud told reporters after the latest victory. "Nobody had us to Game 5. I know we all believe in each other and even showing up to the field, nobody thinks we're going to lose today. … We're ready to shock the world."
That will be a stiff challenge for the Rays in the deciding game when they face Gerrit Cole, who was dominant with 15 strikeouts to win Game 2 on Saturday, while Tampa Bay is expected to send fellow hard-throwing right-hander Tyler Glasnow to the hill to start - followed by their talented bullpen.
Houston was 3-for-21 with runners in scoring position, leaving 20 on base, in the last three games and could use a boost from George Springer (2-for-17 in the series), Michael Brantley (2-for-16) and Josh Reddick (0-for-7) in Game 5.
"Winner takes all," Astros third baseman Alex Bregman, who is 5-for-13 in the series with a homer, told reporters. "It's going to be a fun game at Minute Maid Park, our favorite place to play, and we're looking forward to it. It's going to be a blast."
- Rays RH Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 4.15 ERA) vs. Astros RH Gerrit Cole (1-0, 0.00)
Glasnow blanked Houston over the first four innings of Game 1 before a walk, a strikeout and Jose Altuve's two-run homer ended his day in the fifth.
The 26-year-old California native struck out five, gave up four hits and walked three in his first career playoff appearance after a regular season in which he missed almost four months with a forearm strain before returning in September.
Glasnow was 4-0 with a 0.55 ERA in six starts on the road during the regular season and beat the Astros on March 30 with five innings of one-run ball at home.
Cole looks to match his performance in Game 2 after limiting the Rays to four hits and one walk over 7 2/3 sparkling innings, evening his postseason record to 3-3 with a 2.95 ERA in six starts. The 29-year-old UCLA product led the majors with a career-best 326 strikeouts and reached 20 victories for the first time during the regular season, going 12-2 with a 2.63 ERA at home.
Kevin Kiermaier had a double in Game 2 against Cole, who was 0-1 with a 3.55 ERA in two starts versus Tampa Bay in the regular season with 24 strikeouts over 12 2/3 total innings.
1. Altuve, who had 18 of his 31 homers at home this year, owns at least a hit in all four games with a pair of home runs.
2. Tampa Bay LF-DH Tommy Pham is 9-for-21 with a pair of homers in the postseason after going deep Tuesday.
3. Including the playoffs, the Astros are 62-21 at home while the Rays boast a 49-35 record on the road this season.
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