Rookie starter Snell struggles as Astros down Rays 6-2

HOUSTON (AP) — Tampa Bay rookie Blake Snell struggled to throw strikes in his last three outings, piling up 13 walks over that span.

He didn't walk a batter Saturday night, but not much else went right for the 23-year-old in a 6-2 loss to the Houston Astros.

Snell allowed a season-high nine hits and five runs — four earned — in three-plus innings for his third loss in four starts. He exited with a bruise on his lower left leg after being hit by a sharp grounder from Marwin Gonzalez to start the fourth.

The performance ended his streak of nine straight starts of allowing two earned runs or fewer. The streak was a franchise record for a rookie.

"I was thinking differently than what they were thinking," Snell said. "I felt like they were in attack mode, swing mode, so I guess I should have been throwing more pitches out of the zone."

Carlos Correa and Evan Gattis hit consecutive doubles with no outs in the second to give Houston a 1-0 lead. A third straight double, this one by Yulieski Gurriel, made it 2-0.

Alex Bregman connected off Snell (4-7) for a two-run homer in the third inning to make it 4-0. It was Bregman's fifth homer.

"Blake obviously had a tough time," manager Kevin Cash said. "He got there a different way; probably more hard-hit today than we'd seen in the past ... threw the ball over the plate, but that's where the execution of making quality pitches is so important."

Starter Dallas Keuchel (9-12) allowed nine hits and two runs for his first career victory over the Rays. He entered 0-4 in six starts against them.

Gurriel had two doubles for Houston and collected the first two RBIs of his career. It was the fifth game for Gurriel, who played in Cuba for 15 seasons before signing with the Astros in July.

Bobby Wilson hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning for the Rays, and Tim Beckham had three hits.

George Springer singled to start Houston's third and scored on Bregman's homer.

Bregman's single in the fourth inning pushed the lead to 5-0.

Corey Dickerson singled with no outs in the fifth before Wilson's home run, which smashed off the wall above the seats in left field and cut the lead to 5-2.

The Rays didn't take advantage of a scoring opportunity in the sixth. Beckham singled with one out but was caught in a rundown when he tried to go to third on a single by Mikie Mahtook. Keuchel then struck out Steven Souza Jr. to end the threat.

It was the second straight game in which the Rays had a key baserunning error.

"It's definitely showing up too much, and ultimately that's on me," Cash said. "We have to find a way to impact these guys better so that we are not making those mistakes."

Gurriel's second RBI double made it 6-2 in the seventh inning.


Rays: RHP Alex Cobb (Tommy John surgery) allowed five hits and one run in four innings for Triple-A Durham in his eighth rehabilitation start on Saturday night. Cobb's last start in the majors came on Sept. 28, 2014.


Rays: Chris Archer (7-17, 4.11) starts for Tampa Bay on Sunday. He's 3-2 with a 1.31 ERA in six career starts against the Astros. Two of the three complete games in his career have come against Houston, including a one-hitter at Minute Maid Park last year.

Astros: Doug Fister (12-8, 3.59) will start the series finale for Houston. Fister allowed three hits in seven scoreless innings in his last start, a 3-1 win over Pittsburgh.