Rays 4, Astros 3: Price's eight strong inning too much for Astros

Bob Levey

Bo Porter's finagling not enough to overpower David Price and the Rays.

A 'scheduled loss' in the NBA is the concept of playing a back-to-back games, especially if the second game is against a team that didn't play a game the previous night. The schedule puts a team at a disadvantage for that one matchup, and it more than likely results in a loss. Each team in the NBA has a hand full of these situations they must navigate throughout the season with starters playing less minutes, teams may play a step slower, or just sit key players for one of the game all together.

Now, the concept of 'scheduled losses' doesn't exactly translate to baseball. Baseball teams playing games back-to-back is a fundamental part of the game. But, sometimes a few factors will culminate to create a disadvantage before the game even starts. For example on Sunday, the Rays sent out their ace David Price to face the Astros' fifth starter Brad Peacock. To further the point, Jose Altuve, Jason Castro, and Jon Singleton were all on the bench today to a get an extra day of rest with an off-day tomorrow. The schedule and Bo Porter's lineup card presented a 'scheduled loss' situation.

Of course the game still needed to be played, the outcome isn't set in stone. The Astros proved that early by jumping out to an early 2-0 lead on the Rays. Dexter Fowler and Matt Dominguez each had a solo home run in the first.

David Price rebounded, and pitched eight innings and struck out ten.

The Rays would answer back with a run the top of the second. Tampa started off the inning with back-to-back singles from James Loney and Ben Zobrist. David DeJesus walked to load the bases. Peacock then walked Yunel Escobar to make the score 2-1. Tampa Bay had worked Peacock to 52 pitches by the end of the second inning.

Dexter Fowler collected his second extra-base hit of the game in the third, hitting a double to center. Jesus Guzman would drive Fowler in with hard grounder to right, the Astros' centerfielder scored his ninth run in the team's last ten games.

Once again the Rays responded next half inning. in the fourth, David DeJesus walked and move to second on a wild pitch. He would score on a Yunel Escobar double.

Jonathan Villar attempted to do his best Willie Mays Hays impression after getting a single in the fifth. He stole second and third with two outs. But, George Springer was unable to drive him home.

Jerome Williams attempted to give the Astros two innings of work after Brad Peacock was only able to get through four innings. He faced 12 batters Sunday, six of them reached base - five hits and one hit by pitch. The Rays scored two with Williams in the game. One came on a force play, that originally was called a double play on the field to end the inning. The second came from Jerry Sands' broken bat single with two on; Sands broke three bats during his at-bat against Williams.

Bo Porter had enough of Williams and replaced him with Tony Sipp - then things got crazy. Bo Porter continued his vision quest. Sipp generated a fielder's choice at the plate for the second out of the inning. Porter then sent Sipp to left field, and brought in Josh Zeid. The umpires were so confused by the move it took them a minute to confirm that the Astros had lost their designated hitter. Zeid would get Evan Longoria to strike out swinging to end the inning. Sipp would return to pitch in the ninth and record the first two of the inning. After replacing Sipp, Kyle Farnsworth would strike out Sean Rodriguez for the third out in the top of the ninth.

Pinch hitters Jose Altuve and Jon Singleton couldn't get the offense going in the ninth, as a result the Astros lost their first series since May 19-21.

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