The Astros started Justin Verlander on short rest for the first time in his career. The Rays responded by going with a bullpen game from start to finish. While Verlander’s usual pinpoint control was not in evidence, Tampa’s pitching and defense found a hertofor undemonstrated level of excellence, forcing a winner-take-all deciding game five in Houston on Friday.
The Rays opened the game by scoring three first inning runs off of Justin Verlander. Later, they executed a perfect relay from the outfield wall to barely catch a speedy Jose Altuve trying to score Houston’s first run.
The Minnesota Twins have elected to exercise their option on slugger Nelson Cruz. Despite his age (39), the slugging DH posted a 4.3 WAR season and will now return to the Twins for $12 million in his age 40 season.