Houston Astros

Rays Thwart Astros' Comeback and Reach Their Second World Series

The Rays, who had the A.L.’s best record in the abbreviated regular season, at 40-20,had been in danger of joining the 2004 Yankees as the only teams in baseball history to lose a best-of-seven series after taking a 3-0 lead.

“The Astros had all the momentum; it was up to us to change it around,” Rays Manager Kevin Cash said, adding later, “What it says about the club is, we’re a really good team and we can withstand some lumps.

Randy Arozarena , the sport’s breakout October star, slammed a two-run homer off Lance McCullers Jr. in the first inning, giving him his seventh postseason home run — the most ever by a rookie.

But they thrive with a deep roster of players with specific strengths, expertly deployed by Cash, who frequently changes lineups and pitchers to get the right matchups.

The Rays’ airtight defense repeatedly robbed hits from the Astros early in the series, and timely home runs from their hitters gave them just enough offense to win.

investigation in January confirmed that players had stolen opposing catchers’ signals from a television monitor at home games throughout the regular season and postseason, alerting hitters to the coming pitch by banging on a trash can near the dugout.

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