Blake Snell and the surging Tampa Bay Rays are having success
against some of the major’s best teams.
Snell struck out
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reliever Diego Castillo fanned Jose Altuve in a key spot and the Rays wrapped up
an impressive homestand by beating the Houston Astros 3-2 Sunday.
The Rays went 8-1 at Tropicana Field, taking three of four from the World
Series champion Astros, sweeping three from the New York Yankees and winning
both games against Washington. Tampa Bay set a team record by allowing no more
than two runs in its sixth straight game.
”Everybody’s doing their part,” Snell said.
Snell tied Hall of Famer Walter Johnson (1914) with his 11th consecutive home
start allowing one or fewer earned runs for the longest stretch in the AL since
1913, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
”He’s pitched like an All-Star,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. ”We knew we
had a chance to have a special series and really special homestand, and I think
he capped it off.”
Matt Duffy hit a two-out, two-run single in the seventh inning that put the
Rays ahead 2-1 and Mallex Smith homered in the eighth.
Evan Gattis homered twice for Houston. The Astros went 0 for 14 during the
series with runners in scoring position.
”We didn’t do enough to win the game or win the series.” Astros manager A.J.
Snell (11-4) allowed one run and four hits in 7 1/3 innings. The lefty has
given up five earned runs over 51 2/3 innings (0.87 ERA) at home this
Castillo replaced Snell with the bases loaded in the eighth with the Rays
leading by a run. Castillo struck out Altuve in a 10-pitch at-bat and got a
grounder from Yuli Gurriel to protect the lead.
Sergio Romo got his eighth save despite allowing Gattis’ homer in the
Charlie Morton (10-2) struck out 11 in 6 2/3 innings. The Astros led 1-0 when
he left with runners at first and second, and Duffy greeted Chris Devenski with
a bloop single down the right-field line. Joey Wendle scored from first base
when right fielder Josh Reddick hesitated before throwing the ball back to the
”I just kind of froze,” Reddick said. ”There’s no excuse for screwing that
up. I’ve got to get the ball in, and even if I throw it home
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we’re still playing the ball game right now.”
Gattis, who had eight homers and 30 RBIs in June, put the Astros up 1-0 on
his seventh-inning drive.
Jake Marisnick had a potential run-scoring extra-base hit tracked down in
deep center by Smith with two outs in the fifth.
Smith’s homer was his first since last July 21, ending a 356 at-bat
”I’m not worried about hitting home runs,” the speedy Smith said with a
smile. ”I like to steal bases. Can’t steal bases when you hit homers.”
Astros: Gurriel returned after three days on the paternity list. . Reliever
Joe Smith (right elbow soreness) could be back Tuesday.
Rays: CF Kevin Kiermaier was rested after making two diving catches Saturday.
He dropped to 0 for 9, including eight strikeouts, against Morton by going down
swinging as a pinch-hitter in the seventh.
Astros RF George Springer was out of the lineup for the second time in three
days after tumbling into the stands chasing a foul ball Saturday. Hinch said
Springer is ”beat up a little bit.” Springer, mired in a 3-for-44 slide, was a
pinch-runner in the ninth.
The Rays could move veteran players like RHPs Nathan Eovaldi and Chris
Archer, and C Wilson Ramos before the non-waiver trade deadline. Also attracting
interest is Tampa Bay’s bullpen. ”I imagine our front office will do what they
always do, and that’s look to do what’s best for the organization going
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The Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals are among the teams with scouts in
Astros: LHP Dallas Keuchel (4-8) will go against Texas RHP Austin Bibens-Dirx
(1-1) Tuesday night.
Rays: Eovaldi (2-3) faces Miami LHP Wei-Yin Chen (2-5) Monday night.
Texas was expected to be one of the major leagues’ top power teams this
season despite being in rebuilding mode.
The Rangers proved that premise to be true when they flexed their
considerable muscle on Friday and ripped five home runs, three of them in the
first two innings, to set the tone in an 11-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox
in the first game of a three-game series at Globe Life Park in Arlington,
The White Sox will try to get back on track with left-hander Carlos Rodon
(1-2, 3.70 ERA) taking the hill Saturday to oppose ageless Rangers right-hander
Bartolo Colon (4-5, 4.72).
The Rangers’ win provided a night off for closer Keone Kela, who on Wednesday
saved his 20th game in 20 chances, the longest season-opening streak in club
history. Kela broke Francisco Cordero’s 2004 record of 19 consecutive saves and
now has converted 22 straight chances dating to May 2017.
The 22 consecutive saves constitute the third-longest streak in Texas
history. Kela is nine saves shy of tying Joe Nathan’s club record of 31
consecutive converted saves in 2012.
“It’s a nice comfort zone to have,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister told the
Fort Worth Star-Telegram about Kela. “Most of the saves have been clean innings.
(It has been fun) to watch the maturation process of Key out there on a nightly
basis being able to calm it down and just go pitch by pitch.”
It looks as if the White Sox will be without right-hander Miguel Gonzales for
a while longer. Gonzales, who has been on the 60-day disabled list since April
18 with right rotator cuff inflammation, returned from his rehab assignment
after experiencing soreness in a throwing session after the start for Triple-A
Charlotte on Sunday.
“It’s a little
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White Sox manager Rick Renteria told mlb.com about Gonzales’ situation. “He
still felt a little something so he’s going to be re-seen, re-evaluated, and
we’ll see where we go from there.”
Gonzalez opened the season in the rotation but was 0-3 with a 12.41 ERA
before landing on the disabled list. This is the second time he has had to
restart his rehab.
Rodon is scheduled to make his fifth start of the season. It will be his
third start on the road and fifth career start against Texas. He picked up the
win in his last start on June 24 at home against Oakland when he allowed two
runs and seven hits with three strikeouts in eight innings.
Rodon is 1-0 with a 3.91 ERA and .245 opponents’ average in his previous
starts against the Rangers.
Colon will head to the mound for the 17th time this season and make his 15th
start. He enters with 244 career wins, most in MLB history by a native of the
Dominican Republic. He recently passed Juan Marichal (243) and is one win shy of
matching Nicaragua’s Dennis Martinez (245) for most victories by a native of
Colon ranks among AL leaders in pitches per inning (fifth, 15.0) and SO/BB
ratio (ninth, 4.15) but has also permitted 19 home runs, third most in the AL.
He will pitch on an extra days’ rest after taking loss in the Rangers’ 2-0
defeat on Sunday at Minnesota.
The former White Sox pitcher (12 starts in 2009) did not face Chicago in the
clubs’ earlier series. He is 11-8 with a 3.84 ERA in 24 career appearances (all
starts) against Chicago.