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What's new: The best you can say about the Astros in their first year in the AL is they haven't been as bad as expected. They're on pace for 60 wins and are 20-22 since May 15, though at or near the bottom of the AL in hitting, pitching and fielding. The roster is mostly prospects and no-names, with a few veterans such as former Rays 1B Carlos Peña. Worth watching is 5-foot-5 2B Jose Altuve. Chris Carter has 15 homers. Former Rays minor-leaguer Jose Veras has converted 16 of 19 saves. Impressive OF Justin Maxwell went on the DL on Sunday.
Key stat: The Astros' run differential of minus-112 is an AL worst by more than 40. (Rays are plus 18.)
Connections: Peña (out the next two games due to a death in the family in the Dominican Republic) was with the Rays from 2007 to 2010 and in 2012, Veras was a Rays minor-leaguer (1998 -2004), bench coach Eduardo Perez a Ray in 2004-05. Rays DH Luke Scott made his big-league debut with the Astros, 2B Ben Zobrist was a minor-leaguer. Rays bench coach Dave Martinez interviewed for the manager's job that went to Bo Porter.
Series history: Tied 6-6 overall, Astros lead 5-4 in Houston.
Marc Topkin, Times staff writer