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Challenge helps Astros; call against Rays confirmed

Challenge helps Astros; call against Rays confirmed play video for Challenge helps Astros; call against Rays confirmed

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays and the Astros both challenged calls early in Sunday's 5-2 Tampa Bay win at Tropicana Field, but only the Astros were able to take advantage.

Houston manager Bo Porter challenged an out call at third base in the top of the third inning -- the call was overturned, leading to an Astros run -- while Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon unsuccessfully challenged an out call on an attempted steal of home by Desmond Jennings in the bottom of the inning.

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Maddon disagreed with the result of both replays.

"We threw out the guy at third base. First of all, I still think he was out," Maddon said. "And I still think Desmond was safe."

Astros shortstop Jonathan Villar doubled to lead off the third and was originally called out while trying to steal third base. After Porter's successful challenge, Villar scored one out later on a single by Jose Altuve to put the Astros up, 2-1.

The Astros have been successful in eight of their 15 challenges this season.

The Rays used their challenge when, with two outs, Jennings tried to catch Houston catcher Carlos Corporan napping. Jennings took off from third as Corporan started to toss the ball back to starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel. But an alert Keuchel ran up to cut off the throw and snapped a relay back to Corporan, who tagged out a diving Jennings.

Maddon challenged the call, and after a review of 2 minutes, 15 seconds, the ruling was confirmed.

Even though Jennings attempted the steal with Evan Longoria, the Rays' best hitter, at the plate with two runners in scoring position, Maddon said Jennings made the right decision because the Astros would have most likely walked Longoria.

"That's a great play. I mean, right there, the argument's gonna be, 'Well, oh, Longo was hitting' -- they're not gonna pitch to him right there," Maddon said. "They're not gonna pitch to them right there -- it's a 2-0 count. They might have just stood up and gone four balls right there, or two balls out of the zone. So I loved it, actually. I didn't like it, I loved it, and I thought he was safe."

The Rays have challenged 26 calls this season. Eight have been overturned, nine have stood and nine have been confirmed.

Because Porter's challenge was successful, the Astros manager retained his ability to challenge another play during the game. He did not do so, but after the beginning of the seventh inning, the crew chief may choose to invoke instant replay on any reviewable call, and that happened Sunday.

With two outs in the eighth inning, Longoria was thrown out at home by George Springer on a single by Logan Forsythe. Home-plate umpire Brian Knight ruled that Corporan had applied the tag for the third out, and after further review, the ruling was confirmed.

Maddon said afterward that he did not understand why.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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