Rays
Astros
4 - 2 Final
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Rays-Astros Preview

May 22, 2010 - 5:11 AM By JEFF MEZYDLO STATS Senior Writer

Tampa Bay (30-11) at Houston (14-27), 7:05 p.m. EDT

It would take more than a weekend for the Houston Astros to turn their season around, but winning a series against the team with the best record in the majors could be the spark to start such a comeback.

The Astros try to secure a winning home set with a second consecutive victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday night.

Owners of the NL's worst record, Houston (15-27) opened interleague play by snapping Tampa Bay's six-game winning streak with a 2-1 victory Friday.

"They're the best team in baseball, so it's a confidence-booster for us," said closer Matt Lindstrom, who recorded his 10th save Friday.

The win was the second in eight games for the Astros, who improved to 6-1 overall and 4-0 at home over the AL East-leading Rays (30-12). Tampa Bay has lost just five times in 22 road games this season.

"We just continue to play hard and things like that can happen," said Astros outfielder Hunter Pence, who drove in the go-ahead run with a sixth-inning single. "Every win you want to be a springboard, but really and truly you just have to keep coming every day prepared."

Among the major league leaders with 226 runs, the Rays were stymied Friday by Brett Myers and two Houston relievers after scoring in the first inning.

"Every win right now is magnified for us," Myers said. "We can't look too far ahead, but we'll try to come back and get another one."

Jeff Keppinger added two hits for the Astros, who've scored just 20 runs in their last eight contests. The club's new full-time second baseman after Kaz Matsui's release, Keppinger is 9 for 21 with five RBIs in his last five games.

Looking to keep the momentum going, the Astros get their first look at Tampa Bay scheduled starter and Houston native Jeff Niemann (3-0, 2.54 ERA) on Saturday.

Though Niemann will make his professional debut at Minute Maid Park, he pitched there in college while playing for nearby Rice.

"I'll try to keep the emotions in check," Niemann told the Rays' official website. "It's going to be fun. I'll try to take it all in."

Niemann, who allowed three runs in six innings of a 4-3, 11-inning victory over Cleveland on Monday, has not given up more than three runs in any of his previous eight starts.

The right-hander is 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in three interleague starts, all of which have come on the road.

The Astros counter with Wandy Rodriguez (2-5, 4.30), who looks to bounce back after he allowed four runs in 6 2-3 innings of a 6-2 loss at Los Angeles on Monday.

The left-hander, 6-6 with a 4.81 ERA in 16 interleague starts, allowed two runs and struck out six in 5 2-3 innings of a 4-3 loss in his only appearance against Tampa Bay on June 21, 2008.

Ben Zobrist and Reid Brignac each had three hits Friday for the Rays, who went 25-11 during interleague play over the past two seasons.

Zobrist, who came up in the Astros system before getting traded to the Rays in 2006, is 9 for 15 in his last four games.






  • 19
    roots
    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

    Rays 4, Astros 2  FinalMay 23 1:59 AM


  • Astros 2, Rays 4 - FINAL
    TAMPA BAY ab r h rbi bb so lob avg
    J Bartlett ss 4 0 0 0 0 1 0 .242
    C Crawford lf 5 1 4 0 0 0 0 .321
    B Zobrist 2b-rf 2 0 1 1 3 0 0 .301
    E Longoria 3b 5 0 1 1 0 0 5 .319
    C Pena 1b 3 0 0 0 2 2 3 .186
    B Upton cf 3 1 0 0 2 1 6 .220
    G Kapler rf

    May 22 9:54 PM


  • ML
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    BASES LOADED WALK TO BEN ZOBRIST SCORED HANK BLALOCK
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, B ZOBRIST ON FIRST, C CRAWFORD ON SECOND, J
    BARTLETT ON THIRD, 0 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 4
    HOUSTON 2 TOP,9TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: E LONGORIA (.321, 1-FOR-4, RBI)

    Rays 4, Astros 2  Top 9, 0 OutsMay 22 9:44 PM
  • 14
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 21 roots

    Rays 4, Astros 2  Top 9, 0 OutsMay 22 9:44 PM
  • 35
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 35 roots (Close Finish)

    Rays 3, Astros 2  Bot 7, 0 OutsMay 22 9:08 PM


  • ML
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY LANCE BERKMAN (5) TO CENTER WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 6TH OFF JEFF NIEMANN.
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 3, HOUSTON 2
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: C LEE (.203, 1-FOR-2)

    Rays 3, Astros 2  Bot 6, 0 OutsMay 22 8:50 PM


  • ML
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    FORCE OUT BY EVAN LONGORIA SCORED CARL CRAWFORD
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, E LONGORIA ON FIRST, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 3
    HOUSTON 1 TOP,5TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: C PENA (.189, 0-FOR-1, BB)

    Rays 3, Astros 1  Top 5, 0 OutsMay 22 8:28 PM


  • ML
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY DIONER NAVARRO SCORED GABE KAPLER AND B.J. UPTON
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, D NAVARRO ON SECOND, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 2
    HOUSTON 1 TOP,4TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: J NIEMANN (.000, 0-FOR-1)

    Rays 2, Astros 1  Top 4, 0 OutsMay 22 8:14 PM


  • ML
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    FORCE OUT BY HUNTER PENCE SCORED JEFF KEPPINGER
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, H PENCE ON FIRST, L BERKMAN ON THIRD, 2 OUTS
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 0
    HOUSTON 1 BOTTOM,1ST
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: G BLUM (.308, 0 HR, 6 RBI)

    Rays 0, Astros 1  Bot 1, 0 OutsMay 22 7:30 PM