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Rays fall short in Game 4

The Astros beat the Rays on Wednesday night, forcing a Game 5 in the American League Championship Series on Thursday.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Live updates:

The Rays fall to the Astros in Game 4. Game 5 is at 5:07 p.m. ET on Thursday.

10:45 p.m.

Adames drives one in in the ninth inning. The Rays are within one.

10:56 p.m.

It's 7th inning stretch time and the Rays are still down by two.

10:36 p.m.

The Rays fail to score with the bases loaded in the top of the 6th.

It remains 4-2 Astros.

10:19 p.m.

George Springer gets to Glasnow in the 5th with a two-run bomb to left field. It's 4-2 Astros now in the 6th.

10:04 p.m.

Glasnow looks locked in. Three up, three down in the 4th inning. He's got 5 Ks so far. 

9:48 p.m.

HE STRIKES AGAIN! Randy Arozarena ties the game on a two-run homer in the 4th! It's 2-2!

9:47 p.m.

The first Rays hit of the night comes from an Austin Meadows single to right in the top of the 4th inning.

The score remains 2-0 in the 4th. 

9:36 p.m.

Jose Altuve strikes again. This time with a double to drive in Martin Maldonado. #RaysUp #Postseason  It's 2-0 in the third.

8:53 p.m.

Jose Altuve has another first inning home run and the Astros jump out to an early lead. It's 1-0 in the first.

8:41 p.m.

Zack Greinke of the Astros is on the mound and Game 4 is underway!

Game Preview:

Rays fans, go ahead and get the gear out. Plant your flags. Put the champagne on ice. But, don't pop the cork -- at least not yet. The Rays still have to beat the Houston Astros one more time to win the American League pennant. While they're up 3-0 in the League Championship Series, it's been harder than it looks.

Game 3 was as tough a battle as the Rays have faced in the postseason. The Tampa Bay bats were quiet most of the night, save for an outburst in the sixth inning that turned the tides in their favor. They took advantage of a throwing error by Jose Altuve and back-to-back hit batters to put five runs on the board.

The Astros had their share of chances to come back late in the game. They loaded the bases with one out in the eighth, but lefty Aaron Loup came in to retire Kyle Tucker and Yuli Gurriel. Houston then put two on with one out in the ninth against Diego Castillo, but he struck out Altuve and coaxed a flyout from Michael Brantley to give the Rays a commanding ALCS lead.

"Classic Rays win," center fielder Kevin Kiermaier told MLB.com after the game. "Dominant pitching, phenomenal defense and picking our spot to score runs."

There are a few keys to watch for tonight as we look ahead to Game 4. One is the pitching matchup -- Tyler Glasnow vs. Zack Greinke. Glasnow is 2-0 in three starts this postseason, including 2.1 hitless innings in the deciding game of the Division Series against the Yankees. Greinke, a six-time All-Star, got rocked for four runs on Oct. 8 in a loss to Oakland. The Rays beat him in last year's ALDS as well.

Just as important as the pitchers will be the defenses behind them. Kiermaier made a possibly home run-saving catch in Game 3. But he's day-to-day with a wrist contusion after being hit by a pitch later in the game. Even without him, Tampa Bay still has a highly talented outfield. Manuel Margot can play all three positions well, and right fielder Hunter Renfroe made a pair of diving catches in Game 3, one of them with the bases loaded.

On the Astros side, Altuve has struggled at second base. The former Gold Glover's error in Game 3 was his third of the ALCS. Houston has made four errors total in the series, while the Rays have yet to make their first.

The Rays are seeking their second trip to the World Series. The first came in 2008, the first year after the team dropped "Devil" from its name. They lost that series 4-1 to the Philadelphia Phillies but still made for an incredible "worst to first" story. This year's squad is looking for something more.

"This is what it’s all about," Kiermaier told MLB.com. "I’m so proud to be a part of this and have so much fun with these guys. It’s an amazing feeling."

Win or lose in Game 4, the Rays' chance of going to the Fall Classic is almost a lock. Only one team in MLB history has come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a postseason series: the Red Sox in the 2004 ALCS.

Game 4 of the ALCS starts at 8:40 p.m. at Petco Park in San Diego. A Rays win will put them up against the Atlanta Braves or the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series. The Braves currently lead that series 2-0.

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