The Tampa Bay Rays again found themselves struggling with Houston's starting pitching, striking out 15 times against Gerrit Cole and falling 3-1 Saturday at Minute Maid Park.
Cole nearly got through eight inning Saturday, allowing just four hits and a walk, with his 15 strikeouts setting a new franchise postseason record, eclipsing the 14 strikeouts set by Mike Scott in Game 1 of the 1986 NLCS against the Mets.
Rays starter Blake Snell kept Houston off the board until the fourth, when Alex Bregman led off the inning with a home run into the box seats in left.
The game remained 1-0 until the seventh, when Willy Adames' throwing error allowed Yuli Gurriel to reach against Ryan Yarbrough. Carlos Correa doubled him to third and Martin Maldonado followed with a base hit two batters later to bring in Gurriel and add some insurance.
Tampa Bay could not manage to get a runner in scoring position until the eighth inning, when Kevin Kiermaier doubled with two out, and Adames' walk finally ended Cole's night. Roberto Osuna then struck out Yandy Diaz to escape the jam.
Tampa Bay finally got on the board in the ninth, as Osuna allowed singles to Austin Meadows and Tommy Pham, then walked Ji-Man Choi to load the bases. Avisail Garcia's fielder's choice scored Meadows to end the shutout bid. Brandon Lowe walked to reload the bases, and A.J. Hinch replaced his closer with Will Harris, who struck out d'Arnaud and got Kiermaier to ground out to end the game.
Houston leads the best-of-five series two games to none. Game three is set for Monday afternoon at 1:05 at Tropicana Field. Coverage on WDAE begins at noon with The Inside Pitch.