Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Rays

Rays lose season opener to Astros, 5-1

Blake Snell allows three homers, Tampa Bay’s offense shut down by Justin Verlander.
Rays centerfielder Tommy Pham (29) is caught in a rundown by Houston Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel (10) during the first inning. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
Published Mar. 28
Updated Mar. 28

ST. PETERSBURG — The optimism of spring met the hard reality of the regular season for the Rays Thursday in a 5-1, opening-day loss to the Astros.

Their best pitcher, Cy Young award winner Blake Snell, had a bad day, allowing five runs on three home runs.

And their bats were shut down by wily veteran Justin Verlander, who allowed hits to the first two Rays but only one other over his seven innings.

The Rays took the lead in the first when Austin Meadows, one of their promising young players, knocked Verlander’s fourth pitch over the left-centerfield fence.

And Snell started well, retiring the five of the first six Astros, with catcher Mike Zunino catching Yuli Gurriel stealing after a single.

But the game changed quickly in the third when Snell walked the Nos. 7 and 9 hitters and then allowed a long three-run homer to George Springer that hit the batter’s eye blue wall well above the centerfield fence.

Snell also allowed a homer leading off the fourth to Michael Brantley and one in the fifth to Jose Altuve. Snell, who had limited time in big-league games this spring, threw 55 of his 91 pitches for strikes.

In posting his 21-5 record and 1.89 ERA last season, Snell had only one game when he allowed three homers, on May 13 vs. the Orioles, and two when he allowed as many as five runs.

The game was a sellout in the reduced capacity of 25,025 at Tropicana Field, and there were some first-day glitches with switch to cashless sales of food and merchandise.

The Rays had won their previous two season openers.

Contact Marc Topkin at mtopkin@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Rays

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. The Nationals' Juan Soto hits a two-run double off Astros starter Gerrit Cole during the fifth inning of the World Series opener. Soto also hits a solo home run. ERIC GAY  |  AP
    Washington holds on for a 5-4 victory in Houston.
  2. Nicholas, a rescued bottlenose dolphin at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, made his World Series pick. Photo provided by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
    The Astros opened as the biggest World Series favorite in 12 seasons. But check out what’s going on poolside at Clearwater Marine Aquarium before making your bets.
  3. Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer warms up during batting practice for baseball's World Series Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, in Houston. The Houston Astros face the Washington Nationals in Game 1 on Tuesday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) DAVID J. PHILLIP  |  AP
    Predictions from Marc Topkin, Martin Fennelly and John Romano.
  4. Karsyn Waechter, Riley Vigue and Avery Vigue are extending the athletic legacies of their fathers. Alissa Vigue, Special to the Times
    Doug Waechter and former Rays minor-leaguer are passing their love of the game on to their daughters and their teammates
  5. Between the potential of historic pitching matchups, the emergence of Juan Soto and the heroics of Jose Altuve, this Washington-Houston World Series has more going for it than the Vegas odds might suggest. MATT SLOCUM | AP Photo MATT SLOCUM  |  AP
    The Astros are the heaviest favorites the World Series has seen since 2007. Still, there is reason to believe his Fall Classic has memorable moments ahead.
  6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston talks to reporters after an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. The Saints won 31-24. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) BUTCH DILL  |  AP
    Sports Day Tampa Bay: What’s next for the Bucs, Astros-National World Series preview, the Lightning’s short-circuit start
  7. Davey Martinez gained valuable experience as a coach behind Joe Maddon in Tampa Bay. But when Maddon exited, the Rays bypassed him for a "new voice," Kevin Cash. Tampa Bay Times
    After failing to land a half-dozen manager jobs, including with the Rays, Martinez and Nats ended up a good match.
  8. Jose Altuve prepares to be mobbed by his teammates at home plate as Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman leaves the field after giving up a walkoff two-run homer to the Astros second baseman in the ninth inning to win Game 6 of the AL Championship Series 6-4 on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. The Astros win the series 4-2 and advance to the World Series to play the Washington Nationals. MATT SLOCUM  |  AP
    New York ties the ALCS Game 6 in the top of the ninth with a two-run HR before the diminutive second baseman wins it with a blast off Aroldis Chapman, putting Houston in the World Series.
  9. In 1968, slugger Frank Howard, known as the "Washington Monument," proved to be one of the few bright spots for the Washington Senators. AP
    The Nationals’ improbable postseason run rekindles memories of the woeful Washington Senators
  10. Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash, on left, along with Erik Neander, center, senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager, and Chaim Bloom, senior vice president of baseball operations, address the media during a press conference at Tropicana Field Friday, Oct. 11, 2019 in St. Petersburg. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Rays Tales: Research now, action to come as Rays get caught up after playoff run. Plus, TV rating info and rumblings.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement