Ashley Landis/Associated Press
Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier is day-to-day with a hand contusion after getting hit by a pitch in the sixth inning by Houston Astros reliever Enoli Paredes, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Kiermaier was forced to leave the game; however, X-Rays were negative.
Tampa won Game 3, 5-2 to put the Rays up 3-0 in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series.
Catcher Mike Zunino entered the game for Kiermaier with Manuel Margot shifting to center field and Hunter Renfroe taking over in right field.
Yet it was Kiermaier who made arguably the biggest play of the game with a diving catch on Carlos Correa to end the third inning with two on. According to Statcast, Kiermaier had a 20 percent chance of making the grab, which surely would have netted the Astros two runs.
Instead, he preserved the Rays’ deficit at 1-0, helping force Houston starter Jose Urquidy out after five innings once Tampa started to get on base.
The decision by Rays manager Kevin Cash to slot Renfroe in right paid off in similar fashion as the sub nabbed a well-hit pitch by George Springer with one on and two out in the seventh inning.
Kiermaier was slashing .226/.226/.677 with one home run and four RBI in 31 postseason at-bats heading into Tuesday’s action. With no travel days this postseason, he’ll have little time to rest up if he’s going to make another appearance in the series.