This game was probably the marquis game for all of baseball. The World Champion Astros came into Tampa Bay with a four-game winning streak. But it’s the Rays who garnered the most curiosity, coming into the series 19-3, with a 13-game home win streak.
Almost all those wins came against teams with losing records. How would the Rays stack up against real competition?
The Astros put the Rays on notice early who the World Champions are. Mauricio Dubon extended his hitting streak to 18 games with a leadoff triple. He scored on a Kyle Tucker sac fly followed by an Alex Bregman home run.
But the upstarts were not properly impressed. The Rays answered with two of their own in the first on a single by Wander Franco, a triple by Randy Arozarena, and a double by Harold Ramirez.
The Astros regained the lead in the third on a Jeremy Peña homer, a laser just over the center field fence.
But in the bottom of the third, the Rays not only answered the Astros’ run but doubled the total Astros run output.
Randy Arozarena sacrificed Yandy Diaz home, tying the score, followed by two straight walks, loading the bases. Josh Lowery hit an RBI single to give the Rays the lead, and Christian Bethancourt chased Astros starter Jose Urquidy with a two-run single.
Seth Martinez, who replaced Urquidy in the third inning, pitched 2.1 scoreless innings.
But the Rays added a run in the sixth off Ryne Stanek on an Isaac Paredes single, scoring Arozarena. And they added another in the seventh off Ronel Blanco on a bloop single by Franco that scored Bethancourt.
The Astros only got six hits, but got homers from Peña and heating-up Alex Bregman. Meanwhile, the Rays had 14 hits and five walks en route to their 8-3 win, all without the benefit of a home run, ending their home run streak at 21 games. However, their 14th consecutive home victory is the most since 1907.
Astros starter Jose Urquidy gave up six runs on seven hits in only 2.2 innings. He only retired eight hitters.
The Astros were without slugger Yordan Alvarez, who was in Houston getting “neck discomfort” diagnosed. But it is doubtful that Alvarez’s presence would have made much difference. Tonight, and all this month, The Rays have looked invincible.