Snell, Smith Lead Rays To Series Win Over Astros

Snell Channels Big Train In Home Dominance

Mallex Smith‘s solo homer in the bottom of the eighth was the eventual game winning run as the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Houston Astros 3-2.

After the game, Smith was happy with his team’s performance.  “It’s hard to celebrate your own personal successes when the team doesn’t do well.” He said. “The fact that we’ve been winning and everyone has been coming through in clutch moment has been great. We’re gelling as a team.”

Blake Snell (11-4, 2.24 ERA) picks up the win and Sergio Romo worked a scoreless ninth to earn his seventh save of the season.

The victory gives the Rays a series win and they take the season series against the World Champion Astros. The Rays finish their 9-game homestand with a record of 8-1. They are 10-3 over their last thirteen games and improve to 42-41 on the season. Tampa Bay is 12-1 over their past 13 games at Tropicana Field.

Over their past 28 games, beginning on June 1st, the Rays played 25-of-28 games against teams above .500.  They finish the stretch with a record of 14-14. The schedule included seven games apiece against the Seattle Mariners (1-6), New York Yankees (3-4), and Houston Astros (4-3).  They also split their four games with the Washington Nationals and swept a three game series from the Toronto Blue Jays.

Charlie Morton (10-2, 2.55 ERA) takes the loss for the Astros who fall to 55-31 on the season. It’s their third consecutive loss matching a season long streak. It’s the second time this season they’ve lost a four game series.

How It Happened:

Evan Gattis homered in the top of the seventh inning to give Houston a 1-0 lead. The lead would be short lived as the Rays came back with two runs in the bottom of the frame to take a 2-1 lead.

With one out Jesus Sucre singled and was replaced by pinch runner Adeiny Hechavarria. Charlie Morton struckout pinch hitter Kevin Kiermaier for the second out of the inning but allowed a single to Joey Wendle that ended his day.

Chris Devenski came in and Matt Duffy sent a bloop single to right field that Josh Reddick held for a split second too long. Rays third base coach Matt Quatraro alertly noticed Reddick’s hesitation and sent Joey Wendle home with the second run.

The Astros mounted a rally in the eighth inning loading the bases with 1-out.  Diego Castillo entered and struck out Jose Altuve and then Yuli Gurriel  grounded to short to end the inning.

Mallex Smith homered in the bottom of the eighth to extend the Rays lead to 3-1. It was his first homer since July 21, 2017 against the Texas Rangers. The homer ended a drought of 356 homerless at-bats, the longest such streak in the majors. “It’s a monkey off my back. I don’t have to worry about being the guy with no homers anymore.” said Smith. “It was nice.”

Sergio Romo entered in the ninth and allowed a leadoff homer to Evan Gattis that cut the Rays lead to 3-2. He walked Tyler White but got a double play ball and then retired Max Stassi on a groundout to second to end the game.

Snell Continues To Impress:

Blake Snell went 7.1-innings and allowed just one run on four hits while striking out 10 and walking one. The seventh inning homer he allowed to Evan Gattis ended a streak of 17 scoreless innings.

He has allowed 2-earned runs or less in 15 starts tied for the ML lead with Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals. It’s the 11th time this season he’s allowed 1 earned or less this season, the most in the major leagues.

It’s his 11th consecutive home start in which he’s allowed 1 earned run or fewer tying Walter Johnson (1914) and Jerry Reuss (1975).  The MLB record for such starts belongs to Max Lanier (1943-1944).

Up Next For Rays:

Tampa Bay Rays, New York Yankees
AP Photo/Adam Hunger

Tampa Bay heads to Miami to take on their in-state rival Marlins beginning Monday night at 7:10.  The Rays call on Nathan Eovaldi (2-3, 4.08 ERA) to take the ball. The Marlins counter with lefty Wei-Yin Chen (2-5 6.14 ERA).

Tomorrow begins a stretch of 16 games (July 2 through 22) against teams below .500. The schedule also includes 29 out of their next 32 such games.

I am a fan of all sports but am most passionate about baseball. From the fanatical to analytical, nothing about the game escapes me. Being born and raised in Northeast Ohio I'm very familiar with the heartache and pain that sports can bring and hope that I bring some understanding of the other side to my coverage. I will focus mostly on baseball but also cover the Tampa Bay Lightning, one of the most electric franchises in all of sports. Always willing to converse about any sport and have only one rule and that is be respectful at all times.