Houston Astros seeing familiar face in ALDS Game 3

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Four IP, 2 H, 1 ER and 4 K's. That was the stat-line for Charlie Morton as a relief pitcher in Game 7 of the World Series.

Immediately after the final out, Morton and catcher Brian McCann ran to each other and hugged as the celebration began for the Astros, who just won their first World Series in franchise history.

The 2017 season was Morton's first with the Astros, and his dominance during the regular season and contribution to Game 7 will forever remain with Houston fans.

Morton was also a factor in the Astros reaching the World Series. He took the mound for Game 7 of the ALCS against the New York Yankees and got the victory, finishing the night with 5 IP, 2 H, and 5 K's.

In 2018, it was more of the same dominance from Morton. He finished the regular season 15-3 with a 3.13 ERA and 201 strikeouts, all career highs. It resulted in Morton's first career All-Star Game selection.

It was hard to determine what Morton's status with the Astros would be after the 2018 season, in which the Astros lost to the Boston Red Sox, the eventual World Series Champions, in the ALCS in five games.

Those two extremely successful season with the organization would be it for Morton, as he signed a two-year, $30 million contract with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Morton's Rays debut actually came against the Astros, finishing the night with 5 IP, 3 H, 2 ER and 8 K's in a 4-2 victory for the Rays.

Now, Morton takes the mound for Tampa Bay in Game 3 of the ALDS Monday as the Rays attempt to keep their season alive. The Astros took the first two games on their home turf at Minute Maid Park.

When discussing the topic of facing his old team he had much success with, Morton admitted there's some challenge with it.

"'Cause you're facing guys that you're close with, you went through a lot with," Morton said. "I know those guys pretty well on and off the field, so I'm well aware of the challenges that they present."

Alex Bregman, who is in contention to win the 2019 AL MVP, credited the fact that Morton has won three elimination games in his career.

"He's going to be tough, and we're going to try to find a way to score some runs," Bregman said.

Game 3 of the ALDS is on Monday at 12:05 p.m. CT. Zack Greinke will take the mound for the Astros as he looks to send the Astros to their third consecutive ALCS.
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