Astros
Rays
3 - 2 Final
  for this game

Lee's homer sparks Astros over Rays

Jun 22, 2008 - 10:30 PM ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Ticker) -- The Houston Astros didn't have much success against Tampa Bay Rays left-hander Scott Kazmir, but they made the most of their opportunities.

Hunter Pence and Carlos Lee each hit home runs as the Astros defeated the Rays, 3-2, on Sunday, giving Tampa Bay a rare home series loss.

The Astros ended a streak of seven consecutive series losses, winning their first one since taking two of three from the Chicago Cubs on May 19-21.

"We got a big base hit from Carlos, a home run," Astros manager Cecil Cooper said.

The Rays dropped their first series at home since April 18-20 against the Chicago White Sox, snapping a streak of nine consecutive home series wins. Tampa Bay boasts the third-best home mark in the major leagues at 30-13.

Brandon Backe (5-8) ended a three-game losing streak and won for the first time since May 23. Backe, an 18th- round draft pick of the Rays, for whom he played in 2002-03, allowed two runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings. He walked four and struck out five.

"I was just getting ahead in the count," Backe said. "They're an aggressive team so I was just trying to get them to hit my pitch early and just try to get them out."

Jose Valverde pitched the ninth for his 18th save and second in three days.

"Well-pitched game," Cooper said. "We kept it close and it gave us a chance at the end. Backe pitched an outstanding game and that's what we need to do.

"I thought the bullpen came in and just made pitch after pitch and got us to the big boy Valverde. I like our chances when he gets the ball."

The Astros only managed four hits off Kazmir but two were home runs.

"Both homers were with two strikes," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "Just got into the barrel."

Pence's solo shot leading off the fifth cut Tampa Bay's lead to 2-1. In the sixth, Lee hit a two-out, two-run homer, giving the Astros a 3-2 edge.

"They're way better than their record and their pitching is way better than their record," Tampa Bay designated hitter Cliff Floyd said. "Nothing to hang your head about, but of course there is a letdown, especially at home."

Kazmir (6-3) remained winless since June 6. He allowed four hits in 5 2/3 innings, walking two and striking out seven. He did not speak to the media after the game.

"Houston is a good hitting ballclub and they can hit the ball out of the ballpark," Rays catcher Dioner Navarro said. "Other than (the two home runs), Kazmir did great."

Rookie Evan Longoria's two-run homer in the second accounted for Tampa Bay's runs.

The Rays wasted a couple of scoring opportunities in the fourth and fifth innings. In the fourth, Navarro was thrown out at home by center fielder Michael Bourn trying to score from second on Gabe Gross' single.

In the fifth, with runners on first and second, Carl Crawford made the third out trying to steal third.

"We absolutely pitched well enough to win, but we couldn't do anything offensively," Maddon said. "We left a lot on base. We just have not been good enough in those circumstances."








  • ML
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    HOUSTON 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 3 6 0
    TAMPA BAY 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 6 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: HOU - BRANDON BACKE, WESLEY WRIGHT (7TH), CHRIS SAMPSON (8TH), DOUG
    BROCAIL (8TH), JOSE VALVERDE (9TH) AND HUMBERTO QUINTERO
    TAM - SCOTT KAZMIR, GRANT BALFOUR (6TH)

    Jun 22 4:57 PM
  • 105
    roots
    EDog Added 5 roots

    Astros 3, Rays 2  Top 9, 0 OutsJun 22 4:44 PM
  • 100
    roots
    Elephande Added 5 roots

    Astros 3, Rays 2  Top 9, 0 OutsJun 22 4:35 PM
  • 95
    roots
    McTool Added 5 roots

    Astros 3, Rays 2  Top 8, 0 OutsJun 22 4:11 PM
  • 90
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 35 roots (Close Finish)

    Astros 3, Rays 2  Bot 7, 0 OutsJun 22 3:42 PM


  • ML
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY CARLOS LEE (17) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT IN
    THE 6TH OFF SCOTT KAZMIR SCORED MIGUEL TEJADA.
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 3, TAMPA BAY 2
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: H PENCE (.275, 1-FOR-2, HR, RBI)

    Astros 3, Rays 2  Top 6, 0 OutsJun 22 3:25 PM
  • 55
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 50 roots

    Astros 3, Rays 2  Top 6, 0 OutsJun 22 3:25 PM


  • ML
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY HUNTER PENCE (10) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 5TH OFF SCOTT KAZMIR.
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 1, TAMPA BAY 2
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: T WIGGINTON (.264, 0-FOR-1)

    Astros 1, Rays 2  Top 5, 0 OutsJun 22 2:51 PM


  • ML
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY EVAN LONGORIA (12) TO CENTER WITH 0 OUT
    IN THE 2ND OFF BRANDON BACKE SCORED ERIC HINSKE.
    CURRENT SCORE: HOUSTON 0, TAMPA BAY 2
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: C FLOYD (.258, 6 HR, 15 RBI)

    Astros 0, Rays 2  Bot 2, 0 OutsJun 22 2:07 PM
  • 5
    roots
    FosterGrant Added 5 roots

    Astros vs. RaysJun 22 11:28 AM