Matt Duffy deposited a two-run single down the right-field line in the seventh inning, and the Tampa Bay Rays rallied for a 3-2 victory over the Houston Astros on Sunday at Tropicana Field.
Duffy extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a two-out, two-strike bloop hit, doing so against Astros right-hander Chris Devenski and driving home Adeiny Hechavarria and Joey Wendle to erase a 1-0 deficit. Hechavarria scored with ease from second base, but Wendle crossing home from first was a surprising byproduct of Astros right fielder Josh Reddick inexplicably holding the ball in foul territory, apparently unaware that Wendle was on base.
Both runs were charged to Astros right-hander Charlie Morton, who allowed six hits and issued two walks over 6 2/3 innings. With 11 strikeouts, Morton (10-2) posted his sixth double-digit strikeout game this season.
The rally made a winner of Rays left-hander Blake Snell (11-4), who allowed one run on four hits and one walk with 10 strikeouts over 7 1/3 innings.
The Rays claimed the four-game and season series from the Astros with the win.
After issuing a walk to Alex Bregman to load the bases in the eighth, Snell ceded the mound to right-hander Diego Castillo, who responded by striking out Jose Altuve with a 3-2 cutter before getting Yuli Gurriel, the league leader batting with runners in scoring position, to ground out.
Morton and Snell locked in a riveting duel through the opening five innings. Entering the sixth, Snell had allowed only two hits while recording seven strikeouts on 61 pitches; Morton had three hits, one walk, and one hit batsman on his ledger with eight strikeouts on 65 pitches.
Snell retired 14 consecutive batters before Astros catcher Max Stassi recorded a single with two outs in the fifth. It wasn’t until the seventh that Houston finally broke through, with designated hitter Evan Gattis smashing his 16th home run to left-center field on a 1-0 count with one out.
Gattis added his 17th home run leading off the ninth against Rays closer Sergio Romo. The Astros scored seven runs in the four-game series, all via the home run.
—Field Level Media