Current Conditions - St. Petersburg
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Wind: NE 8.1
Houston Astros (12-6) at Tampa Bay Rays (10-9)
Sunday, April 23 - 1:10 PM EST
Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
The Tampa Bay Rays attempt to win their fourth straight home series to open the season when they host the Houston Astros on Sunday afternoon in the rubber match of a three-game set. The Rays rallied from two deficits Saturday to post a 6-3 victory, improving to 9-3 at Tropicana Field as Evan Longoria collected a pair of doubles and two RBIs for the improved offense.
“We’re playing nine innings,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash told reporters. “That’s a testament to those guys in the clubhouse. They realize what we can do offensively and they’re putting it together. We don’t ever feel we’re out of a ballgame.” Matt Andriese goes after his second straight win for the Rays and he will oppose fellow right-hander Joe Musgrove of the Astros, who lost for just the second time in eight contests Saturday. Jose Altuve homered and scored twice, but Houston managed just four hits against four Tampa Bay pitchers in the middle game of the series. Right fielder George Springer (seven homers, 13 RBIs) left the game in the fifth inning with left hamstring discomfort and could see his major league-leading streak of 205 straight games come to an end Sunday.
TV: 1:10 p.m. ET, ROOT (Houston), FSN Sun (Tampa Bay)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Astros RH Joe Musgrove (1-1, 5.87 ERA) vs. Rays RH Matt Andriese (1-0, 3.38)
Musgrove struggled last time out, when he allowed five runs on eight hits (two homers) in five innings of a 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday. The 24-year-old California native gave up five runs over 10 1/3 innings in his first two starts of the season against Seattle and opponents are batting .323 against him overall. Musgrove, who was 4-4 with a 4.06 ERA in 2016, will be facing Tampa Bay for the first time after going 1-1 against two American League foes last year.
Andriese put together two solid six-inning starts in a row, allowing one run in each on solo homers, after a rough season debut against Toronto. The 27-year-old Californian, who is 10-4 before the All-Star break and 2-9 after it in his career, has recorded 14 strikeouts and five walks over 16 innings but allowed a homer in all three starts. Altuve is 3-for-4 versus Andriese, who earned a victory after giving up three runs and eight hits over 5 1/3 innings against Houston in 2016.
1. Tampa Bay RF Steven Souza Jr. is 11-for-25 with a homer and seven RBIs during a six-game hitting streak.
2. Houston SS Carlos Correa’s batting average dipped to .196 after going 0-for-17 over the last five contests.
3. Rays RHP Tommy Hunter left Saturday’s game in the sixth inning with tightness in his right calf and will be re-evaluated Sunday.
PREDICTION: Astros 6, Rays 5