Speedy McCann scores winning run
(c) Associated Press
The Astros haven't had much success in Tampa in recent years and early Friday evening it looked as though that trend would continue. A well-rested Mike Fiers stumbled out of the gate, allowing a leadoff home run to Corey Dickerson.
Carlos Beltran evened the score at 1-1 with a solo blast of his own to lead off the second. But Fiers continued to be haunted by the longball, serving up two more solo shots over the next two innings to give Tampa a 3-1 lead. The Rays had several other hard hit balls that failed to produce any runs against Fiers. But Houston's right-hander settled in to retire seven of the final eight batters he faced to keep his team in the game.
The Astros' offense finally got on track against Alex Cobb in the fourth. With two outs and nobody on base the 'Stros put together four consecutive singles to plate a pair of runs and tie the score at three.
Michael Feliz was the first man out of the Houston bullpen, contributing a perfect sixth inning. Feliz would be the beneficiary of George Springer's bases loaded groundout in the seventh that gave the Astros a 4-3 lead and ultimately made the right-hander a winner for the first time in 2017.
Will Harris and Luke Gregerson kept the Rays bats at bay over the next two innings, sending the game to the ninth with the Astros still on top by the slimmest of margins.
Brian McCann led of the final frame with his third hit of the night and the Astros added a couple of insurance runs to give closer Ken Giles some breathing room in the bottom half of the inning. Giles was up to the task, getting a flyout to start the inning before fanning Derek Norris and Shane Peterson to end it.
The win was Houston's 12th of the young season -- tops in the majors. Now 5-1 on the road, the Astros send Charlie Morton to the hill Saturday to face lefty Blake Snell in a 5:10 CDT tilt at Tropicana Field.
- Greg Thurston