Apr 24, 2023; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Jose Urquidy (65) leaves the game against the Tampa Bay Rays in the third inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Urquidy struggles in Astros’ 8-3 series-opening loss to Rays
Jose Urquidy used 36 pitches but still could not find a way to escape the third inning as the Astros lost their series opener in St. Petersburg 8-3 to the Rays. The loss ended a four-game winning streak for Houston. Alex Bregman finished with a pair of hits, but the Astros were out-hit by the Rays 14-6. Wander Franco collected four hits for Tampa Bay, including a pair of doubles. The win was Tampa Bay’s MLB-record 14th straight at home to begin the season.
Jose Urquidy squanders two early leads
Urquidy could not get through five innings in his last start on Tuesday against the Blue Jays, and Monday’s outing was even shorter. The Astros handed him an early lead by scoring a pair of runs before he even threw a pitch, but he gave both back in the bottom of the first. Jeremy Peña earned Urquidy another lead with a homer in the third, but Urquidy could not record three outs in the Rays’ half of the inning.
The third inning started with a Yandy Diaz single, and Wander Franco doubled him to third. Randy Arozarena’s sacrifice fly tied the game at three, followed by a strikeout of Brandon Lowe that gave Urquidy a chance to get out of the inning while allowing just one run. Instead, back-to-back walks were followed by back-to-back singles, ending the right-hander’s night.
Urquidy matched a career-high by surrendering six runs on seven hits. He generated 12 swinging strikes but only notched three strikeouts. He recorded just eight outs while throwing 73 pitches, raising his ERA to 5.64 while picking up his second loss.
Bats go quiet after quick start
The Astros’ bats came out ready against Rays rookie starter Taj Bradley. Mauricio Dubón started the game by extending his hitting streak to 18 games with a leadoff triple and scoring on Kyle Tucker’s sacrifice fly. Alex Bregman followed with his third home run of the season. But after Peña led off the third inning with a homer, Houston’s offense was non-existent.
Bradley recovered to retire the final nine men he faced, earning the young righty his third win in his third Major League start. Kevin Kelly worked around doubles in the sixth and seventh innings. Garrett Cleavinger erased a one-out walk in the eighth by getting Bregman to ground into a double play, and Jalen Beeks retired the side in order in the ninth.
News and Notes:
•Mauricio Dubón’s eighth-inning infield single extended his hitting streak to 13 games, the longest of his career.
•Jake Meyers is batting .417 over his current seven-game hitting streak.
•Jose Abreu batted in the fifth spot in the order for the first time since 2016.
•The Rays did not homer for the first time all season.
•Yordan Alvarez returned to Houston to be examined by doctors after experiencing neck pain. Astros general manager Dana Brown told Fox 26 he expects Alvarez to play this weekend when the Philadelphia Phillies visit Minute Maid Park.
•Brown told MLB Network Radio Jose Altuve is ahead of schedule in his rehab from the fractured thumb he suffered during the World Baseball Classic, and will get an X-Ray within the next two weeks to see how it is healing.
The Astros and Rays will play game two of their three-game series on Tuesday night with Luis Garcia (1-2) taking the mound opposite Drew Rasmussen (3-1).