Rays beat Astros 4-3 on 70s night at Trop
Roberto Hernandez has been the Rays hard-luck starter this season, the veteran the unfortunate victim of little run support.
As a result, Hernandez, 32, entered Saturday’s start with 10 losses – second-most in the American League – and was trying to avoid tying Dennis Springer (1998) and Albie Lopez (2001) for club record for losses before the All-Star break.
But the Rays backed up Hernandez Saturday, rallying to give him a 4-3 win over the Astros in front of a 70s Night crowd of 20,409 at Tropicana Field. Hernandez (5-10) settled down after a rough three-run first inning to go six innings for his fourth straight quality start, and the Rays scored four in the fifth and sixth to pull ahead for good.
Hernandez had been 0-4 in his previous five starts despite allowing just 18 runs, and it looked like he was heading for a familiar fate after the first inning. The Astros racked up four hits, including a leadoff single by ex-Ray Carlos Pena. Rays killer Brett Wallace delivered the biggest blow, a two-run homer, and has now hit three of his four homers against Tampa Bay.
The Rays, held hitless into the seventh Friday night, rallied off of lefty Dallas Keuchel in the fifth, tying the game. Wil Myers led off with a single, and scored on a two-run homer by resurgent designated hitter Luke Scott, who extended his hitting streak to a season-high nine games. After two more outs, including the rare 6-5-3 groundout by catcher Jose Molina, Yunel Escobar ripped a double to left-center. Escobar stole third, and Desmond Jennings, on a 3-1 pitch, pulled off a safety squeeze, bunting down the first base line and beating the tag of Wallace to tie the game.
Tampa Bay would go ahead with a two-out rally in the sixth. Myers started it off with a single to left. That brought up Scott, who slapped an RBI single to right, scoring Myers and giving the Rays the 4-3 lead, putting Hernandez in line for the win.
Jake McGee, Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney shut it down the rest of the way with three perfect relief innings, giving the Rays (54-51) a bounce-back victory after snapping an eight-game winning streak with Friday night's loss;.
The Rays will play Houston Sunday afternoon in their last game before the All-Star break.