Meadows, Margot lead Rays over Astros 5-4 to avoid sweep

Tampa Bay Rays' Kevin Kiermaier, left, slides past Houston Astros catcher Martin Maldonado, right, to score on Rays' Willy Adames' ground ball to first during the sixth inning of a baseball game Sunday, May 2, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)
Tampa Bay Rays' Kevin Kiermaier, left, slides past Houston Astros catcher Martin Maldonado, right, to score on Rays' Willy Adames' ground ball to first during the sixth inning of a baseball game Sunday, May 2, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

(AP) – Austin Meadows hit a three-run homer and later scored the go-ahead run on Manuel Margot’s pinch-hit single in the seventh inning as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Houston Astros 5-4 Sunday.

The Rays avoided a three-game sweep in the series between the last two American League champions.

Meadows homered in the fifth to make it 3-all. With the score tied at 4 in the seventh, Meadows was hit by a pitch from Brooks Raley (0-1) and later scored when Margot punched a hit through the right side.

“We needed that,” Meadows said. “We've struggled lately and today was a step in the right direction. Getting that spark going was definitely needed.”

Jeffrey Springs (2-0) got the win in relief. Diego Castillo pitched the ninth for his seventh save in nine tries.

Yordan Alvarez hit his third home run for the Astros in the fourth inning. He doubled and scored in the sixth, and barely missed hitting another homer in the eighth when Margot ran down his line drive in the left-field corner.

Kevin Kiermaier had three of Tampa Bay's seven hits, two of them through holes vacated by Houston's shift.

The Rays' struggling offense (.196 batting average and 102 strikeouts in a 10-game homestand) also drew the benefit of two errors, two walks, two wild pitches and three hits batsmen. Tampa Bay went 4-6 during the stretch.