Ji-Man Choi's tiebreaking two-run double in the seventh inning led the Tampa Bay Rays to a 9-8 win over the host Houston Astros in a back-and-forth game Thursday afternoon.
Choi's key hit came off Astros reliever Chris Devenski (2-3) in the Rays' three-run seventh that took them from a 6-5 deficit to a two-run lead. Travis d'Arnaud had three hits and four RBIs for the Rays, who avoided a three-game series sweep.
D'Arnaud hit his 14th home run of the season, a two-run shot to left field in the fourth inning that gave the Rays a 4-2 lead. Austin Meadows also homered for the Rays, who stayed a game behind the Oakland Athletics for the second American League wild card.
The first five hitters in the Tampa Bay order -- Eric Sogard, Meadows, Tommy Pham, Choi and Avisail Garcia -- each had two hits. Meadows and Choi each had two RBIs and two runs.
The Astros saw their six-game winning streak end despite home runs from George Springer, his 28th, and Jose Altuve, his career-best 25th, and Abraham Toro, his first in the majors.
Rays pitchers issued 10 walks, eight of those in the fourth and fifth innings, including three with the bases loaded.
Emilio Pagan earned his 15th save after allowing just Toro's solo homer in 2 1/3 innings.
Astros starter Zack Greinke struck out eight in 5 2/3 innings but was roughed up for five runs on six hits in his shortest outing since being traded from the Arizona Diamondbacks in July.
The Rays scored first in the top of the second inning. Choi singled and went to second on Greinke's first balk since 2008. After Willy Adames struck out, d'Arnaud singled home Choi for a two-out RBI.
The Astros drew even at 1 on a Robinson Chirinos double to drive in Yordan Alvarez in the bottom of the second.
Josh Reddick's one-out single in the bottom of the seventh cut the Rays' lead to 8-7. Reddick, Springer and Chirinos each had two RBIs for the Astros.
Choi, Tampa Bay's first baseman, made a key defensive play with a back-to-the-infield catch of Altuve's sinking pop fly to end the seventh and strand two runners.
Toro's homer made it 9-8 in the ninth, but Pagan retired the next three batters to finish the game. Reddick was ejected after striking out for the inning's second out.
The Rays used an opener, with Andrew Kittredge allowing a run on two hits in 1 1/3 innings. Tampa Bay used seven pitchers, none going longer than 2 1/3 innings.
--Field Level Media