Published June 20, 2014
St. Petersburg, FL – St. Petersburg, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Kevin Kiermaier and Evan Longoria supplied back-to-back home runs during a three-run seventh inning, leading the Tampa Bay Rays to a 5-0 victory over the Houston Astros in the opener of a four-game set.
Ryan Hanigan went 2-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored and James Loney had two hits for the Rays, who have won five of their last eight games.
Starter Chris Archer (4-4) tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and two walks with eight strikeouts in the win.
"He is such a great athlete. Some guys have to try to manufacture those numbers," said Rays manager Joe Maddon on Archer. "He doesn't have to try."
Jose Altuve had two of Houston's three hits as the Astros dropped its fourth straight game. Collin McHugh (4-5) was tagged with the loss after giving up two unearned runs on four hits with three walks across six frames.
The Rays squandered early opportunities after stranding men on the corners in the first and a man on second with no outs in the third, but opened the scoring in the fourth.
"I feel like that was the pivotal point of him being able to go six quality innings, was getting out of that first inning without giving up a run," Houston manager Bo Porter said about McHugh.
Loney singled and Brandon Guyer reached on a catching error by shortstop Jonathan Villar to put men at first and second. Two batters later, Yunel Escobar singled up the middle to score Loney, then Hanigan's squeeze bunt made it a 2-0 game.
Tampa Bay added three runs in the seventh. Hanigan got aboard with a leadoff single and Kiermaier crushed a fastball over the wall with two outs. Longoria followed with a first-pitch blast of his own, giving the Rays a 5-0 advantage.
Grant Balfour struck out the side in the ninth to preserve the win.
Longoria extended his hitting streak to eight games ... It was the fourth time this season and second time in three games that the Rays have had consecutive homers ... Altuve stole two bases. He is first in the AL and third in the majors with 26 swiped bags ... The Rays lead the season series 3-1 ... Prior to the game, Tampa Bay placed outfielder David DeJesus on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured left hand and activated Guyer from the DL.