Rays lose to Astros 2-1, snapping eight-game winning streak
As decorated and recently dominating Rays ace David Price has been, Astros rookie rigthhander Jarred Cosart was understandably the undercard in Friday’s matchup with the reigning AL Cy Young winner.
But it was Cosart, 23, who stole the show in his big-league debut, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh, beating the Rays 2-1 to snap their season-long eight-game winning streak. It overshadowed another impressive performance by Price, who threw a complete game in just 87 pitches.
The Rays (53-41) made it interesting in the ninth, showing their fight with a two-out rally off Astros closer Jose Veras, scoring a run on a Luke Scott single and putting the tying run at third. But Evan Longoria struck out looking to end it.
Cosart had just two strikeouts, but baffled Tampa Bay in eight innings, and was helped by a spectacular play by centerfielder Brandon Barnes, who made a diving catch in right-center in the sixth. It was All-Star Ben Zobrist who nixed Cosart’s no-hit bid with one out in the seventh, slapping a hard-hit grounder into rightfield past diving Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, sparking a large ovation (and sigh of relief) from the 13,347 at Tropicana Field.
Cosart, one of the game’s top prospects, allowed just five Rays baserunners (three walks, two hits), with just Desmond Jennings getting as far as second base (twice). Of seven total Rays baserunners, four were promptly erased by a double play.
If it weren’t for Cosart’s brilliance, Price would have been the story, with his third straight impressive outing since coming off the disabled list. He wasn’t as dominating as his first two, but threw 23 of his first 25 pitches for strikes (and 70 of 87 overall). The Astros found holes in a two-run first inning, hitting four singles off Price, who had allowed two runs combined in his previous two starts.
Price would settle in, holding the Astros (33-59) scoreless the rest of the way in scattering eight hits. He got some help from some dazzling defense, including a diving stop by Zobrist to start an inning-ending double play, Evan Longoria reaching into the Astros dugout for a pop fly and Jose Molina throwing out another attempted basestealer.
Molina was robbed of a potential hit in the sixth, with his fly ball to right-center snagged by Barnes, who raced over - and nearly collided with rightfielder J.D. Martinez - before laying out for the catch.
Cosart would last until the ninth, when he allowed a leadoff walk to pinch-hitter Kelly Johnson and was pulled after 96 pitches, getting a nice ovation. The Astros brought in Veras, a former Rays minor leaguer, and he got Yunel Escobar to ground into a double play. Jennings reached on a two-out error, stole second, and scored on an RBI single to center by Luke Scott, who capped off a great, nine-pitch at-bat and extended his season-long hitting streak to eight games.