HOUSTON (AP) — Brandon Lowe hit a two-run homer and drove in three, Josh Lowe capped a four-run first with a three-run double and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Houston Astros 8-2 on Sunday.
Brandon Lowe, who finished with three hits, hit his homer to right in the sixth to increase Tampa Bay’s lead to 8-2. He also had an RBI single in the fourth.
Since the All-Star break, he has four home runs and nine RBIs.
Brandon Lowe, who came off the injured list July 4, credited his work while on the injured list for his resurgence at the plate.
“There were a few things we figured out on the IL,” he said. “Just some subtle swing tips, just thought processes and things that I have to do off the field to make sure I stay in there. … All sorts of different things that really made my body feel good, and when you feel good, you play at your best.”
The Rays got to Houston starter Brandon Bielak (5-6) for four runs in the first, with Yandy Díaz scoring on a fielding error by José Abreu before Josh Lowe hit his three-run double.
“It was something we needed early in the game there to get us started,” Josh Lowe said. “More than that, I’m just glad we were able to keep it going throughout the game. It wasn’t like we had one big inning. We put up multiple runs in multiple innings, so that was really encouraging to see.”
Díaz had an RBI single in the fourth as the Rays built a 6-0 lead.
“We had some big at-bats with some guys on base,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. “Probably none bigger than Josh’s. Coming up there, it could have been somewhat frustrating had we not capitalized in that moment, but Josh got a pitch he could drive and cleared the bases.”
Zack Littell (1-2), making his fourth start of the season, yielded two runs on eight hits with four strikeouts in a career-high five innings.
Littell said mixing pitches played a role in his success.
“I tend to get a bit fastball happy,” Littell said.
“The goal today was to go out there and eat as many innings as I could. Mixing pitches and trying to keep them off-balance was the goal.”
Houston got their runs in the fifth on an RBI double by Kyle Tucker and an RBI groundout by Alex Bregman. Jose Altuve had three hits.
Bielak allowed six runs — three earned — on eight hits with four strikeouts in five innings. Bielak, who also walked three, has allowed six runs in consecutive starts.
“It was a combination of walks, and that club over there, you can’t give them a whole bunch of walks and errors because they can score,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said. “It was a pretty uneventful day for us. Things didn’t start off well, and they didn’t end well.”
Rays: Zach Efflin (right knee discomfort) is scheduled to make his next start Tuesday after being injured Wednesday. “We need him to pitch,” Cash said. “We don’t want to put him in harm’s way, but I think he’s checked a lot of boxes here. We are very encouraged with how he’s responded day-to-day, and he still has another day or two of rest.”
Astros: RHP José Urquidy (right shoulder) allowed five runs on nine hits in five innings of a rehabilitation start with Double-A Corpus Christi on Sunday. Urquidy threw 76 pitches in his fourth rehab start. … OF Michael Brantley (right shoulder surgery) took batting practice on the field prior to Sunday’s game.
Tampa Bay selected RHP Erasmo Ramírez from Triple-A Durham and optioned RHP Calvin Faucher to Durham.
Rays: RHP Tyler Glasnow (4-3, 3.36 ERA) starts Monday in the first of a three-game series at the Yankees.
Astros: Houston starts a three-game series against the Guardians on Monday, but the Astros have yet to announce their starter.
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