Back-to-back-to-back homers break Rays’ back

by Gary Shelton on June 21, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Smith scored the Rays' only run on an overthrow./JEFFREY S. KING

Smith scored the Rays' only run on an overthrow./JEFFREY S. KING

Thursday, 4 a.m.

The first swing, by George Springer, broke the tie. For the Houston Astros, that might have been enough.

But two pitches later, a swing by Alex Bregman put some distance in the score. It was the thunder to Springer’s lightning, and the Astros clinched the game.

Four pitches later? Well, that was just running up the score. Jose Altuve launched his second home run of the game with the Astros’ third home run on seven pitches in the sixth inning Wednesday night, and Houston cruised to a 5-1 victory over the Rays.

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Bauers had a hit and two walks./JEFFREY S. KING

Bauers had a hit and two walks./JEFFREY S. KING

The back-to-back-to-back assault by Houston led the Astros to their 13th win in 14 games and provided all the offense that Houston would need.

For the night, Altuve was three-for-four with two homers. For the series, he was six-for-nine with four extra base hits.

The Rays finished their road trip at 2-5, knocking them into fourth place in the AL East behind Toronto.

“I thought (starting pitcher Nate Eovaldi) was good, but it’s just a matter of time til that offense gets you,” said Rays’ manager Kevin Cash. “.It’s a very talented offense. We’ll take Nate’s start most times. It’s probably going to get you wins. Unfortunately, their guy (Charlie Morton) was difficult, too, with his approach just being different than (Gerrit) Cole and (Justin) Verlander. It was a different look and it really quieted our offense.”

Tampa Bay had only four hits against Houston in the loss.

“We’re not good enough,” Cash said. “I’m sure there were some good experiences. We want (the players) to be frustrated that we were close to winning two ballgames. Good teams find ways to win games, and we didn’t find ways to win two of those games.”

One of the bats that struggled again was that of Kevin Kiermaier, who slipped to a .135 average.

“He’s fine,” Cash said. “He’ll get going. K.K. got off to a rough start and takes two months off. The numbers are going to be ugly for a while. He’ll get going. We’re very confident he’ll get there.”

The Rays get a day off today, then open a series at home against the New York Yankees on Friday. Ryne Stanek will pitch for the Rays against a pitcher to be announced for New York. Game time is 7:10 p.m.

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