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Verlander out-duels Snell as Astros beat Rays on Opening Day

Photo by Wayne Masut I The Scrum Sports

Houston uses the long ball to beat Blake Snell and the Rays on Opening Day, 5-1.

ST. PETERSBURG – The Opening Day festivities were a bit more exciting this season. In the right field corner the starting lineup came out to something you’d see at a Bucs game much less a baseball game at Tropicana Field. Smoke and lights lined a grand entrance as each Rays player in the starting lineup was announced.

It was pretty cool. An exciting, new way to welcome in a brand new season of Rays baseball following an even more exciting 2018, 90-win campaign. Expectations are high this season.

Austin Meadows wanted to make sure the excitement didn’t end with introductions.

Meadows goes deep

For just the second time in club history (first since Gerald Williams in 2000) the Rays lead off an Opening Day game with a solo homerun. Meadows deposited his first of no doubt many just over the left field wall to give his ball club a quick 1-0 off the Astros Justin Verlander.

A shaky third for Snell

A lead-off walk and a one-out walk to the number nine hitter is recipe for disaster. Blake Snell did just that in the third with the Rays still leading 1-0. George Springer did the rest, mashing a three-run bomb to straight away center putting the Astros up 3-1.

Brantley and Altuve pour it on

The Astros weren’t done with Snell, yet. The 2018 AL Cy Young winner gave up a lead off solo home run to Michael Brantley in the fourth making it a 4-1 Houston lead.

The fifth inning wasn’t any better. Jose Altuve crushed his own solo shot into the left field seats with two down in the fifth making it a 5-1 lead for Houston.

Snell grinds through six

Despite allowing five earned runs, Snell got through six innings and 91 pitches. His final inning putting up zero to end on a high note.

Another lefty, Jalen Beeks, would take over in the seventh.

Beeks came in and struck out the side after relieving Snell trailing 5-1.

De Ja Vu in the seventh

Verlander allowed the first two men aboard in the second inning thanks to a walk and a hit batter. Then proceeded to retire the next three in order. Same happened in the seventh with Yandy Diaz leading off with a double and Joey Wendle getting hit by a pitch for the second time in the game. Willy Adames and Kevin Kiermaier struck out and Mike Zunino grounded out to retire the side, again, unscathed.

Beeks holds it down

Three scoreless innings of work by the lefty reliever helped keep the Rays bullpen fresh. The only real jam Beek’s got himself into was in the ninth allowing two runners to get into scoring position with no outs.

He got away unscathed and kept the game at 5-1, a score that would become final after a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth.

Snell felt good, owns his mistakes

 

NEXT UP

Friday night Charlie Morton heads to the hill to face his former team in his Rays debut. First pitch slated for 7:10 PM.

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