Jeremy Pena homered and collected all three of the Houston Astros' RBIs Sunday afternoon as the hosts beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 in the finale of a three-game series between playoff-bound teams.
The American League West champion Astros (104-55) won the final two games of the three-game series. Houston has clinched the best record in the AL and will have a bye into the Division Series.
The loss locked the Rays (86-73) into one of the final two wild-card spots in the AL and ensured they will not play a home game in the best-of-three wild-card round. Tampa Bay is four games behind the top wild card and current No. 4 seed, the Toronto Blue Jays (90-69), with three games left.
The Rays entered Sunday 1 1/2 games behind the current No. 5 seed, the Seattle Mariners.
Pena, capping a solid rookie season, hit a two-run home run in the second off Rays starter Corey Kluber. It was the 21st homer for Pena, tied for third most all-time by an Astros rookie with Lance Berkman (2000) and one round-tripper behind Carlos Correa, Pena's predecessor as Houston's shortstop.
Yordan Alvarez holds the franchise record with 27 homers as a rookie in 2019.
Pena reached on a bunt single in the fifth before adding an RBI single in the seventh.
Luis Garcia (15-8) earned the win for the Astros after allowing one run on three hits -- including Christian Bethancourt's second-inning RBI single -- and one walk while striking out four over six innings.
Ryne Stanek and Bryan Abreu each tossed a one-hit inning before the Rays threatened against Rafael Montero in the ninth. Montero issued a one-out walk to Ji-Man Choi, gave up a single to Bethancourt and walked Miles Mastrobuoni to load the bases with two outs before he closed out his 14th save by getting Taylor Walls to ground out.
Choi and Manuel Margot also had two hits for the Rays.
Kluber (10-10) allowed two runs on six hits and one walk while striking out four over five innings.
--Field Level Media