Some times you just have to win ugly, and that's exactly what the Tampa Bay Rays did Sunday to begin the American League Championship Series.
Blake Snell gutted through five innings, and Mike Zunino's RBI single in the bottom of the fifth inning broke a 1-1 tie to give the Rays a 2-1 win over the Houston Astros Sunday at Petco Park in San Diego.
Snell fell behind just two batters into the game, when Jose Altuve blasted a solo homer to left.
But although he threw 29 pitches in the first inning, and needed 105 pitches to get the first 15 outs of the ballgame, Snell would keep Houston from tacking on.
Astros starter Framber Valdez faced the minimum through the first three innings, but tried to sneak a fastball past Randy Arozarena, and the designated hitter made him pay, blasting his fourth home run of the postseason to center field to tie the game.
Tampa Bay took the lead an inning later, as Willy Adames worked a leadoff walk from Valdez, moved up two bases on groundouts by Manuel Margot and Kevin Kiermaier, and Mike Zunino shot a Valdez offering into left-center to break the tie.
Tampa Bay got relatively quiet innings of relief from John Curtiss and Ryan Thompson, but in the eighth Aaron loup hit Michael Brantley with a pitch, walked Carlos Correa and gave up a base hit to Kyle Tucker to load the bases with one out. That forced Kevin cash to bring in Diego Castillo, who got the inning-ending double play from Yuli Gurriel on the first pitch he threw.
Castillo then gave up a pinch-hit single to Josh Reddick in the ninth, but got George Springer to ground out and struck out Altuve to end the game and get the save.
The win gives Tampa Bay a one game to none lead in the best-of-seven series.
The Rays will send Charlie Morton to the mound in Game 2 against his former team, who will counter with Tampa native Lance McCullers Jr. First pitch is scheduled for 4:07, with coverage on WDAE beginning at 3:00 with The Inside Pitch.
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