Wilson Ramos recorded four RBIs in his first two at-bats and the Tampa Bay Rays rode an ambush of Justin Verlander to a 5-2 win over the Houston Astros on Saturday at Tropicana Field.
One start after allowing season highs in hits and runs, Verlander (9-4) eclipsed those totals in a second consecutive subpar outing. Verlander worked five innings, a season-low total, and surrendered five runs on nine hits and one walk with eight strikeouts.
Ramos was Verlander’s nemesis.
Ramos doubled with the bases loaded and no outs in the first inning, plating Kevin Kiermaier and Matt Duffy, capitalizing on the first time Verlander faced a hitter with the bases loaded this season. Joey Wendle added a sacrifice fly that scored Jake Bauers for a 3-0 advantage.
With two outs in the second, Verlander again faced Ramos with the bases loaded, with Ramos lining a two-strike single to center that drove home Kiermaier and Duffy, both of whom singled before Bauers reached on a full-count walk, and upped the lead to 5-0. Ramos finished 2-for-3.
Verlander posted three consecutive scoreless innings to cap his 97-pitch outing, but the damage was done, particularly with Houston laboring to score against the Rays.
Right-hander Ryne Stanek worked a scoreless first inning as the opener, but the Rays were bolstered by the performance of left-hander Vidal Nuno (2-0), who retired the first nine batters he faced after entering at the top of the second inning. It wasn’t until the sixth inning that the Astros finally got to Nuno, with third baseman Alex Bregman again striking the blow.
Bregman socked a two-run homer to left field with one out in the sixth, his club-leading 16th homer on the season and fifth in six games. Bregman closed the month with 30 RBIs, matching Evan Gattis for the club record in June. Gattis set the mark during the Astros’ last homestand.
Duffy finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored. The bottom four hitters in the Houston order went 0-for-13 with six runners left on base. The Astros went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.
—Field Level Media