Eric Sogard homers in return to lineup, but Rays eliminated

HOUSTON -- Eric Sogard homered in the first at-bat of his first start this postseason for Tampa Bay, going deep in the decisive Game 5 of the American League Division Series at Houston on Thursday night.

Unfortunately for the Rays, Sogard's blast accounted for all of their offense in a season-ending 6-1 loss.

Sogard, who went 1-for-3, hadn't started in nearly a month while dealing with lingering right foot discomfort.

The second baseman batted fifth Thursday against Astros starter Gerrit Cole, who struck out 15 over 7 2/3 scoreless innings when the Astros won Game 2 to take a 2-0 series lead before the Rays won twice at home.

"You've got Gerrit, who is probably the highest-strikeout pitcher in baseball. We value Eric Sogard as a very high-contact-oriented hitter," manager Kevin Cash said before the game.

The Rays were already down 4-0 when Sogard homered on the first pitch of the second inning.

In his only appearance this postseason before the ALDS finale, Sogard had an RBI single as a pinch hitter in Game 1 on Friday.

Brandon Lowe started the first four ALDS games for the Rays at second base and was 4-for-16 with eight strikeouts. The rookie had the only hit off Justin Verlander in the series opener, but he also had an error that game that led to two unearned runs.

The Rays acquired Sogard, who went to the playoffs with Oakland in 2013 and 2014, in a trade from Toronto on July 28. He hit .266 with three homers and 10 RBIs in 37 games for the Rays during the regular season after hitting .300 with 10 homers and 30 RBIs in 73 games for the Blue Jays.

Sogard's last start and last game at second base was Sept. 14, the day before he was a pinch hitter in his final appearance of the regular season.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.