Astros sting Rays 6-2

Gurriel enjoys big night as DH
(c) Houston Chronicle

The Astros offense backed a solid outing by Dallas Keuchel with a 12-hit attack in a 6-2 win over the Rays Saturday night at Minute Maid Park. Keuchel worked seven innings, allowing nine hits and two runs to earn his ninth win of the season.

Alex Bregman led the offense, smacking a 2-run homer in the third and adding an RBI single in the fourth. Five different Astros including George Springer, Carlos Correa, Evan Gattis, and Yulieski Gurriel had two hits in Houston's 68th win of the season.

The Astros jumped on Tampa starter Blake Snell for a pair of runs in the second inning. Correa led off the inning with a hustling double to leftfield. Gattis followed with a double of his own, narrowly missing a home run on a ball that hit off the left-centerfield wall. Gurriel made it three straight extra-base hits, doubling to center before Snell retired the next three batters to limit the damage.

Bregman's offensive heroics extended Houston's lead to 5-0 but Bobby Wilson narrowed the gap to 5-2 with a 2-run homer off Keuchel in the fifth.

It was an eventful night for the Astros defense. Fortunately, a trio of misplays didn't come back to haunt them. Keuchel was able to pitch around a pair of errors by the usually dependable Bregman at third base and a poorly played fly ball by Teoscar Hernandez in leftfield. On the flip side, Jake Marisnick made a spectacular diving catch in right-center and Marwin Gonzalez initiated a perfectly executed rundown play to erase a base-runner.

Gurriel's second RBI double of the night plated an insurance run in the seventh and Pat Neshek and Chris Devenski closed the door with one perfect inning of relief apiece.

With seven wins in the last eight games the Astros have climbed back into the playoff picture. Doug Fister tries to keep the momentum going Sunday afternoon as the Astros go for a sweep of the 3-game series against the Rays. Chris Archer (7-17, 4.11 ERA) gets the start for Tampa Bay.

Greg Thurston