Rays loses to Astros as Shane McClanahan leaves the game with an injury


ST. PETERSBURG, Florida – The Tampa Bay Rays lost 5-0 to the Houston Astros on Tuesday-evening when ace Shane McClanahan was pulled in the fifth inning with a tight neck.
“He didn’t want to come out, wasn’t happy about that, but we’re trying to make the best decision,” said manager Kevin Cash.
The AL All-Star Game starter and Cy Young Award contender only gave up five runs for the second time this season, bringing his ERA to 2.36. McClanahan (12-6) made his second start after coming back from the 15-day injured list due to a left shoulder impingement.
“It was like a full extension and I felt a little adjustment or something like that, but it went away right away,” said McClanahan. “I think they saw it when I stretched it or whatever, but I’m fine. I cannot emphasize that enough.
“Mid September I respect the precaution. I’m just getting out of the IL so I think I can see the error of caution.”
McClanahan walked Jose Altuve in the fifth inning, then threw three straights to Jeremy Peña. Cash and a trainer then emerged from the dugout and pulled McClanahan, even after the 25-year-old appeared to be saying to Cash, “I’m fine.”
“I think we all understand how important he is to our club, and if I see something that’s uncharacteristic, I think the best decision is to take him out of the ball game,” Cash said. “It’s okay that he’s mad at me.”
McClanahan walked and gave up five hits while throwing 80 pitches.
Peña homered for three runs, Altuve scored three runs and the Astros won for the ninth time in 10 games a day after taking the AL West Championship. It was Houston’s 17th shutout of the season and they improved their AL-leading ERA to 2.90.
“Our pitchers dominate all year round. It’s impressive to watch,” said Peña. “I’m the biggest fan of shortstop.”
Altuve reached base and scored on each of his first three at bats, all against McClanahan. Peña’s 19th homerun came in the third inning after Altuve’s second hit, giving the Astros a 4-0 lead before the Rays had a hit.
“That’s the mentality in the clubhouse,” said Peña. “The clinch was the first step, but we know we still have a long way to go and the job is not done yet.”
Kyle Tucker drove in Houston’s first run with a double in the first for his 100th RBI of the season.
The Rays went into game one behind the Toronto Blue Jays and a half game ahead of the Seattle Mariners in the hunt for the AL’s highest wildcard.
Houston-starter Cristian Javier (10-9) gave up only one basehit, a two-out single in the fifth by Christian Bethancourt. Javier won his fourth consecutive start by striking out six in five innings.
Ryan Pressly got the last two outs with the bases loaded for his 29th save in 33 attempts.
A double and a single by Wander Franco were the only other hits for Tampa Bay.
Yandy Diaz doubled in the eighth as a pinch hitter for the Astros, his first Major League-hit.
Astros: DH Yordan Alvarez, who left Monday’s game early with an obvious ankle injury after a slide into second base, was out of the lineup. Manager Dusty Baker said Alvarez’s scheduled day off has been rescheduled from Wednesday.
Blasting: 2B Brandon Lowe shot a shot for his lower back pain. He will be re-evaluated on Thursday when he is eligible to be removed from the injured list.
Baker wasn’t much of a participant in the Astros’ champagne celebration after they won the AL West Monday night.
“I’m not a real champagne guy. I got a few people against me because I don’t like champagne. Now it’s back to work,” he said. “It was fun. It was really fun for the first time guys. If you haven’t experienced it, there’s nothing better.”

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