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José Urquidy tosses gem to beat the Rays 3-1 on his birthday!

Three runs in the first inning were enough for Urquidy and the Astros.

MLB: Houston Astros at Tampa Bay Rays Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

Is there a better way to celebrate your birthday than throwing seven shutout innings to help your team get the win? José Urquidy doesn’t think so! On his 26th birthday, the young righty pitched his best game of the season to guide the Astros to a 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. It was the eighth victory in the last 10 games for Houston.

Urquidy shone from his first pitch to his last. He threw seven episodes of four-hit ball (all singles), one base on balls, and five strikeouts (91 pitches, 68 strikes). He lowered his ERA from 4.67 to 3.71. Urquidy’s best weapon during the whole outing was his changeup, which led to six whiffs (18 swings) and five called strikes. This was his first career outing of at least seven frames and no runs.

José was so good vs the struggling Rays’ lineup that he didn’t allow a runner to get into scoring position until the sixth inning when he allowed two straight singles to Manuel Margot and Brandon Lowe. With two outs, he had a tough matchup against Randy Arozarena, but after a visit from Brent Strom, he got out speedy Arozarena on a grounder fielded nicely by Carlos Correa.

To back up Urquidy’s solid performance, the Astros didn’t waste any time against Rays’ starter Josh Fleming in the first inning.

José Altuve led things off with his fourth double of the campaign, Alex Bregman hit a run-scoring single, Yordan Álvarez and Carlos Correa took a walk apiece, and Yuli Gurriel hit a line-drive single to drive Álvarez and Correa in with the second and third runs of the contest.

Urquidy was followed by Brooks Raley and Ryan Pressly, who got his fourth save despite allowing an earned run. Pressly got a little bit in trouble, but Altuve ended the game with a nice play in second to retire Yoshi Tsutsugo.

Since April 22, the Astros have the best record in baseball (the following image is not updated, the actual record after Saturday’s win is 8-2):


Tomorrow, at 1:10 pm (ET), they will go after the three-game series sweep. The Astros will have his best pitcher so far in the season, Cristian Javier (3-0, 0.87 ERA), to face veteran lefty Rich Hill (1-1, 7.25 ERA).