Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays beat Houston Astros 7-2

HOUSTON — Wade Davis didn't snap the Rays pitchers' interleague play 0-fer, but he did get down two bunts, one leading to a run. He made a textbook play on a comebacker by freezing the runner off second to start a key first-inning double play.

Oh, yeah, and he pitched seven strong innings in what manager Joe Maddon considered his sharpest outing of the season as the Rays rolled past the worst-in-baseball Astros again Saturday, 7-2.

"He did a lot of things well," Maddon said. "He was a good baseball player tonight."

Davis wasn't alone as the Rays won their third straight and improved to 7-1 in their current stretch of interleague play, moving to a season-high nine games over .500 at 43-34 and within two games of first place as the Yankees went ahead of the Red Sox.

Evan Longoria delivered another hands-on performance at the plate, doubling in a pair of runs as he went without batting gloves for a second straight game, while B.J. Upton (with a single and a homer) and Casey Kotchman (with three hits to raise his average to .342) also knocked in two each.

Longoria said he'll stick with the bare-handed approach after a second straight multihit game. "If the results keep coming, I really can't stop now," he said. "My swing feels good; it's in a good spot. It's not a direct result of no gloves by any means, but as superstitious as we are, I'll keep going that way."

Davis has his own good luck charm, a small wooden owl he bought in Seattle that sits in his locker, and he has won his three starts since. But the more aggressive use of his fastball and improved thinking on the mound probably have a little more to do with it.

"He was a lot better (Saturday)," Maddon said. "Strike-throwing, method, how he went after them."

Davis (7-5, 4.32) said it has been an ongoing process, and he's encouraged by the progress.

"I think I stayed under control better than I have all year throughout the whole game," he said. "Everything's coming together a little better, got some things to build off of, momentum."

Saturday, the Rays got him runs in each of the first three innings — on their way to their first 10-plus hit game since June 12 — and he took it from there. The first-inning double play, aided by Jeff Keppinger's base-running mistake, helped, and Davis pretty much handled whatever else came up.

The biggest out came in the sixth, protecting a 4-1 lead. The Astros had two on with one out, and Davis got Carlos Lee on a foul pop. Then after he loaded the bases by hitting Matt Downs, he got Brett Wallace to swing at a curveball and ground out to first.

The Rays are comfortable and confident with the pitching of their top three starters, James Shields, David Price and Jeremy Hellickson. So a major factor in how they do the rest of the season will be what they get out of Davis and Jeff Niemann, who today makes his second start since coming off the disabled list.

"If Wade continues to pitch like that and we get Niemann back (to form), we'll have a chance to win every night," Upton said. "Not that we don't feel that way already, but when those guys are on their game, it makes us a lot better ballclub."

"We haven't really seen all of (the starters) really put it together at the same time," Longoria said. "If they can do that, I said going into the season I'd take those five guys in our rotation and put them up against anybody and be really pleased with what we have."

Marc Topkin can be reached at

Rays 7

Astros 2

Tampa Bay Rays beat Houston Astros 7-2 06/25/11 [Last modified: Sunday, June 26, 2011 12:02am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays let early lead get away again in loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As pleased as the Rays were to win consecutive series against the contending Red Sox, Indians and Yankees and to get briefly back over .500, there was a lot of talk in the clubhouse before Monday's game against the Angels that it was time to do better.

    Tampa Bay Rays third base coach Charlie Montoyo (25) high fives designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) as he rounds third on his lead off home run in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Monday, May 22, 2017.
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    OF/DH Corey Dickerson missed out on a good birthday gift when AL player of the week honors went instead to Detroit's J.D. Martinez. Dickerson hit .385 with five homers, nine RBIs and nine runs; Martinez went .389-4-9-7 and got the nod.

  3. Rays journal: Alex Cobb learning to work with what he has



    If this were 2012 or 2013, even 2014, RHP Alex Cobb would have problems. He would find himself working with only two of his three pitches, with the missing pitch being his trusty changeup.

    Alex Cobb, working mainly with his fastball and curveball, is 3-1 with a 2.78 ERA over his past five starts. The Rays right-hander tries to continue his strong stretch tonight against the Angels.
  4. Rays vs. Angels, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Angels

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  5. Fennelly: This season's Chris Archer is a pleasure to watch

    The Heater


    At this time last season, through 10 starts, Rays pitcher Chris Archer was 3-5 on his way to 9-19.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, May 21, 2017.