Saturday split: Javier tosses six great innings, Houston’s bullpen holds on in 2-1 win over Rays as Astros even series

Mandatory Credit: Photo by David J Phillip/AP/Shutterstock (13434549b) Houston Astros starting pitcher Cristian Javier throws against the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game, in Houston Rays Astros Baseball, Houston, United States – 01 Oct 2022

Saturday split: Javier tosses six great innings, Houston’s bullpen holds on in 2-1 win over Rays as Astros even series

With five games left in the regular season, we are down to each of Houston’s starter’s final regular season game before they get some time off ahead of the ALDS. 

Cristian Javier used the opportunity to end his regular season on a high note, holding the Rays scoreless over six terrific innings as the Astros would hold on to a 2-1 lead to even the series.

Houston strikes first while Javier deals

After just one hit against Shane McClanahan through the first two innings, the Astros struck first against him in the bottom of the third. Jake Meyers led things off with a single, then moved to second on a sacrifice before scoring on a one-out RBI single by Jeremy Pena. Two batters later, Houston doubled the lead with a runner coming across on a wild pitch, making it a 2-0 advantage.

Meanwhile, Cristian Javier was out-dueling McClanahan. Tampa Bay notched their first hit against him in the top of the fourth, but Houston’s starter quickly stranded him by sitting down the next three batters, maintaining the 2-0 lead. Javier allowed his second hit with two outs in the top of the sixth but once again would maintain his team’s two-run advantage as his night ended. His final stat line in a terrific start: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 95 P. 

Evening up the series

Hunter Brown took over as Houston’s first reliever in the top of the seventh and, despite allowing a one-out double, made it through the frame without allowing any damage. Still 2-0 in the top of the eighth, Rafael Montero sat down the bottom of Tampa Bay’s order 1-2-3.

Ryan Pressly finished things off by notching his 32nd save of the season, despite issuing back-to-back one-out walks and giving up an RBI single, setting up a rubber game on Sunday to decide the series winner.

News and notes

Sunday matinée: The finale of this three-game series with Tampa Bay at Minute Maid Park will start at 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Houston will send Luis Garcia (14-8, 3.81 ERA) to the mound for his final regular start, with the Rays handing the ball to Corey Kluber (10-9, 4.36 ERA).

Tentative rotation set: Houston has tentatively lined up their starters for the final three games of the regular season when the Phillies come to Houston. Lance McCullers Jr. on Monday, Justin Verlander on Tuesday, and Framber Valdez to toss game 162 on Wednesday. 

In case you missed it: Despite the Astros losing on Friday night, the Yankees’ loss to the Orioles put Houston’s record out of reach for New York, securing the top seed in the American League playoffs. 

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