ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Hunter Brown combined with two relievers on a two-hitter and the Houston Astros shut out the major league-best Tampa Bay Rays for the second straight game, 1-0 on Wednesday night.
Brown (3-0) had a career-high eight strikeouts and walked two in his seven innings. Hector Neris pitched a perfect eighth and Ryan Pressly worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save.
The Astros had snapped the Rays’ 14-game home winning streak to start the season, the best in MLB since 1901, with Tuesday night’s 5-0 win. Luis Garcia and three relievers limited the Rays (20-5), who still lead the majors in scoring with 157 runs, to five hits Tuesday.
The Rays’ only hits in Wednesday’s game — which took 2 hours, 7 minutes — were singles by ninth-place hitter Manuel Margot against Brown in the third and sixth innings.
Alex Bregman was credited with an RBI when Rays shortstop Wander Franco was charged with an error for misplaying a potential inning-ending double-play grounder with runners on the corners in the first. Jeremy Peña singled and advanced to third on a pair of wild pitches by opener Calvin Faucher (0-1) before scoring.
Astros second baseman Mauricio Dubón extended his hitting streak to 20 games with a fifth-inning single off Josh Fleming. It’s the longest by a Houston player since Hunter Pence’s 23-game run in 2011.
Fleming went six scoreless innings, and the Rays held the Astros to five hits.
Peña appeared to try a bunt for a single with two on and one out in the fifth but Fleming fielded it and got a force at third. The inning ended when Franco grabbed Kyle Tucker’s hard-hit grounder and got an out at second.
Fred McGriff, who will enter the Hall of Fame in July, was at the game and spent batting practice talking with Houston manager Dusty Baker.
Brown has not allowed a homer in the majors over a total of 50 2/3 innings. … Houston slugger José Abreu is homerless in his last 149 at-bats, dating to last September 13. … Rays cleanup hitter Brandon Lowe is is 0 for 15, including 10 strikeouts, in his last four games.
Astros: Baker said the status of OF Yordan Alvarez (neck discomfort), who missed his third straight game, should be updated Friday. Baker remains hopeful that Alvarez can avoid going on the injured list.
Rays: Reliever Ryan Thompson (right lat strain) could be back Friday.
Astros: LHP Framber Valdez (2-2) and Philadelphia RHP Aaron Nola (1-2) are the starting pitchers Friday night in Houston when teams meet for the first time since last year’s World Series.
Rays: LHP Shane McClanahan (4-0) and Chicago White Sox RHP Dylan Cease (2-0) take the mound Thursday night. Tampa Bay swept Chicago in a three-game series last weekend.
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