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Jose Urquidy, HoustonAstros make early lead stand vs. Tampa Bay Rays

May 1, 2021; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman (2) shrugs to avoid a pitch during the first inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports
May 1, 2021; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman (2) shrugs to avoid a pitch during the first inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

Houston right-hander Jose Urquidy blanked Tampa Bay over seven innings, Yuli Gurriel drove in two runs in a three-run first inning, and the Astros defeated the Rays 3-1 Saturday afternoon in St. Petersburg, Fla.

After Lance McCullers Jr. fired seven scoreless Friday night in the series opener, Urquidy (2-2) struck out five, walked one and limiting the Rays to four singles. He threw 91 pitches, 68 of them for strikes.

Alex Bregman began the scoring with an RBI single and scored on Gurriel’s hit, more than enough runs for Urquidy as the Astros clinched the series win.

Jose Altuve doubled, walked and scored for Houston, which won for the fifth time in six games despite posting just four hits — only one over the final eight innings.

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Tampa Bay starter Josh Fleming (1-3) tossed a season-high 98 pitches, but had first-inning issues before finding his groove. The left-hander allowed three runs on three hits, with five walks and four strikeouts.

The Rays struggled to score for a second straight game, registering just five hits in losing for the seventh time in 10 games.
Meanwhile, Houston’s bats picked up right where they left off in the 15-hit attack that produced a 9-2 win the night before.

After going 0-for-5 on Friday, leadoff hitter Altuve hit the game’s first pitch for a double into the right-field corner, the first of eight batters in the inning.

Bregman’s opposite-field single to right scored Altuve. After a pair of walks by Fleming loaded the bases, Gurriel singled to right to plate Bregman and Yordan Alvarez.

While Fleming settled down and faced the Houston minimum over the next three frames, the offense had just four singles against Urquidy over the first six innings — two by Margot, and one each by Willy Adames and Brandon Lowe.

The Rays put two runners on via consecutive two-out singles from Margot and Lowe, but Urquidy got a chopper by Randy Arozarena to end the threat.

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In the ninth, Houston closer Ryan Pressly allowed an RBI groundout by Yandy Diaz, but he retired potential game-tying hitter Yoshi Tsutsugo on a grounder to second baseman Altuve in shallow right field for his fourth save in four chances.

–Field Level Media