Rays’ Pruitt throws a surprising gem against Astros

by Gary Shelton on August 3, 2017 · 0 comments

in Baseball, general, Tampa Bay Rays

Pruitt was superb in a win over Houston../JEFFREY S. KING

Pruitt was superb in a win over Houston./JEFFREY S. KING

Thursday, 2 a.m.

It may have been their most surprising victory of the season. Certainly, it featured their most surprising star.

Austin Pruitt, a pitcher who has been demoted twice this season, outdueled Astros' star Dallas Keuchel in a 3-0 victory, throwing 6 1/3 innings of shutout baseball. Yeah, you read that right. Austin beat Dallas in Houston.

For Pruitt, it was his finest moment as a Ray, scattering five hits and walking only one in his victory. The Rays' bullpen finished the final 3 1/3 innings of the game without giving up a hit or a run.

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Morrison had his 28th home run of the season./CARMON MANDATO

Morrison had his 28th home run of the season./CARMON MANDATO

“It was everything I could have dreamed of,” said Pruitt, who grew up in the Houston area. “It was awesome to get in front of all the people I grew up in front of. Going against the Astros was cool.”

Pruitt had some 200 fans show up to watch him, but said he tried to block them out until he was removed from the game so he could focus.

“Austin Pruitt was awesome,” Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. “It had to be exciting for him. I know he was excited to pitch here. To go out and perform like that had to be pretty special for him.”

Plough had two hits for the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

Plough had two hits for the Rays./CARMEN MANDATO

The Rays got all the runs they needed in the first inning when Logan Morrison hit his 28th home run. It was Morrison's second first-inning homer in two days, and it came with Trevor Plouffe on base. In the third, Brad Miller singled home Wilson Ramos.

The Tampa Bay defense also played well with three inning-ending double plays. Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria made a diving catch and threw out Carlos Beltran. It allowed Pruitt to get his sixth win, and Alex Colome to get his 32nd save.

Pruitt had entered the game with a 6.63 ERA, compared to Keuchel's 1.94. Keuchel had also been 9-0.

“He's got good stuff,” Morrison said of Pruitt. “He got ahead of them and got them to expand. His curveball is really, really good. He got some chases on that.”

The Rays send another underdog to the mound today when Blake Snell (0-6) tries to win his first game. He'll pitch against Collin McHugh in the 8:10 p.m. game.

Hechavarria made a nice stop in the ninth./STEVE MUNCIE

Hechavarria made a nice stop in the ninth./STEVE MUNCIE

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