ST. PETERSBURG (620 WDAE) -- Lance McCullers Jr. came home to Tampa Thursday and put an end to the Tampa Bay Rays winning streak, combining with a pair of relievers to throw a six-hit shutout, while Jake Marisnick's solo home run off Ryan Yarbrough would be the difference in a 1-0 decision for the Houston Astros at Tropicana Field.
The Rays began Thursday using Ryne Stanek as the opener. The right-hander did not allow a hit, but did walk a pair in getting the first five outs of the contest. Yarbrough came in after Tyler White drew a walk and gave up a single to Brian McCann and hit Marisnick with a pitch to load the bases, but struck out George Springer to leave the sacks filled.
Meanwhile, McCullers did not allow a hit until Willy Adames singled with two out in the third, and allowed just one other hit in the first six innings of the contest.
Yarbrough settled down after the second, but allowed Houston to grab the lead one out into the fifth, when he hung a 2-2 changeup to Marisnick and the centerfielder deposited it beyond the seats in left for his seventh home run of the year.
Tampa Bay would not get a runner into scoring position until the sixth, when Jake Bauers walk pushed Matt Duffy, who had singled before him, to second base. However, Tampa Bay would leave a runner in scoring position in each of the final four inning Thursday, inclusing in the eighth, when Willy Adames doubled off reliever Chris Devenski to start the inning and moved to third on a drag bunt single by Kevin Kiermaier. However, Duffy could not get the squeeze bunt down and then when Kiermaier tried to steal second base, the Rays third baseman lined into a double play to kill the rally.
C.J. Cron's single in the ninth off Hector Rondon, couple with an error by Marwin Gonzalez on the throw, helped Tampa Bay put the tying run in scoring position, but Rondon struck out Mallex Smith to end the game and extinguish Tampa Bay's five-game winning streak/
Tampa Bay Rays (39-41) vs. Hopuston Astros (55-28), 7:10 p.m. first pitch, with coverage on WDAE beginning at 6:00 with The Inside Pitch presented by Crown Eurocars.
Rays starter - RHP Wilmer Font (1-3, 6.46 ERA)
Astros starter - RHP Gerrit Cole (9-1, 2.56 ERA)
Saturday - Rays vs. Houston Astros, 4:10 p.m. first pitch
Sunday - Rays vs. Houston Astros, 1:10 p.m. first pitch
Monday - Rays at Miami Marlins, 7:10 p.m. first pitch
Tuesday - Rays at Miami Marlins, 7:10 p.m. first pitch
Wednesday - Rays at Miami Marlins, 1:10 p.m. first pitch