Manuel Margot (13) of the Tampa Bay Rays at bat during the game against the Washington Nationals on September 16, 2020 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)

Manuel Margot – he giveth and he taketh away.

With a three-run home run, the ex-Padre staked his Tampa Bay Rays to an early lead at Petco Park Monday as the Rays went on to defeat the Houston Astros 4-2. With the win, Tampa Bay leads 2-0 in the American League Championship Series.

Margot’s homer came in the first inning off Lance McCullers Jr., after an error by Jose Altuve. But an inning later he made a spectacular play off the bat of Astro George Springer, with two men on.

Margot rushed toward the right field line, fighting the glare with his glove, then in foul territory, reached to make the catch, as his momentum flipped him over the wall. He leaped up quickly, holding up his glove to prove he made the catch.

“I got a little scratch on my leg, but I feel good,” he said in a post-game interview on TBS.

The Rays, behind starter Charlie Morton’s five innings of shutout ball, contained the Astros, though Carlos Correa hit a solo homer in the sixth. Ray Mike Zunino though, boosted the lead back to three with his own solo homer an inning later.

The Astros threatened in the ninth, loading the bases twice off a wild Nick Anderson, but could only score one run. Alex Bregman hit a deep fly ball to center for the final out.

Game 3 takes place at 5:40 p.m. Tuesday as postseason baseball continues at neutral sites due to the pandemic. The game airs on TBS.

– Staff reports

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