ST. PETERSBURG (620 WDAE) -- Blake Snell worked into the eighth inning, and Mallex Smith hit his first home run in almost a full calendar year as the Tampa Bay Rays finish off a nine-game homestand with an 8-1 record thanks to their 3-2 win over the Houston Astros Sunday at Tropicana Field.
Snell (11-4) and Charlie Morton traded zeroes through the first six innings of Sunday's contest, with the Tampa Bay starter getting help from his defense, including a running catch by Mallex Smith to not only rob Jake Marisnick of extra bases and a run.
It would be Snell that would blink first, as Evan Gattis took a 1-0 pitch with one out in the seventh and sent it into the seats in left for his 16th homer of the year.
But Tampa Bay would not be shut down in the bottom of the inning, as Jesus Sucre singled off Morton with one out, and after pinch-hitter Kevin Kiermaier struck out, Joey Wendle moved pinch-runner Adeiny Hechavarria into scoring position. A.J. Hinch went to his bullpen, bringing on Chris Devenski to face Matt Duffy. The move backfired on Houston, as Duffy dropped a single down the right-field line that allowed both Hechavarria and Wendle to score and give Tampa Bay the lead for good.
Snell left one out into the eighth with a pair of runners on, and Diego Castillo didn't help his cause by walking Alex Bregman to load the bases, with the rookie right-hander then struck out Jose Altuve and got Yuli Gurriel to ground out to strand the bases loaded.
The Rays left-hander has now reached eleven straight home starts allowing one earned run or fewer, tying the American League record set by Walter Johnson of the Washington Senators from May 16 to August 25, 1914.
Smith gave Tampa Bay some breathing room, with his first home run since July 21, 2017, taking Brad Peacock deep for a 3-1 advantage.
Sergio Romo allowed Gattis to cut the lead to 3-2 with a leadoff homer in the top of the ninth, and walked Tyler White, but got Josh Reddick to ground into a double play and got pinch-hitter Marwin Gonzalez to ground out to end the game and earn his eighth save of the year.
Tampa Bay Rays (42-41) at Miami Marlins (34-51), 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 Nathan Eovaldi (2-3, 4.08 ERA)
Marlins starter - LHP Wei-Yin Chen (2-5, 6.14 ERA)
Tuesday - Rays at Miami Marlins, 7:10 p.m. first pitch
Wednesday - Rays at Miami Marlins, 1:10 p.m. first pitch
Thursday - OFF