What's new: The Astros have won 13 of their last 18 games. They began Thursday 6-3 since the debut of 1B Jon Singleton, who signed a contract for a guaranteed $10 million this month before his first major-league game. RF George Springer has also made a huge imprint as a rookie, becoming the first Astro to hit 12 home runs in his first 47 games. CF Dexter Fowler is third in the AL with a .393 on-base percentage, and 2B Jose Altuve is on pace to become the third player with at least 50 doubles and 50 steals in the same season. Houston's pitching is in the bottom half of the league in runs and walks, and only the White Sox have fewer shutouts than Houston's two.
Key stat: The Astros entered Thursday with the second-worst average in the league (.240) but the third-most home runs (71).
Connections: Houston RHPs Kyle Farnsworth and Chad Qualls are former Rays. LHP Erik Bedard pitched for the Astros last year. 1B James Loney is a Houston native.
Series history: Rays lead 11-8 overall and 8-5 in Houston.
Matt Baker, Times staff writer