ST. PETERSBURG -- Right-hander Jake Odorizzi threw 7 1/3 one-hit innings to lead the Tampa Bay Rays to an 8-0 win over the Houston Astros Saturday afternoon at Tropicana Field.
Odorizzi, 24, continued his recent roll by striking out 10 and walking just two, tipping his cap to a standing ovation from the crowd of 17,551 as he left the mound in the eighth. The 111-pitch performance helped lift the worst-in-the-majors Rays (30-46) to just their seventh victory in their last 24 games. Tampa Bay has won two of the first three games of the series, which wraps up today.
The Astros (34-42) have lost four of their last five. They started rookie right-hander Jake Buchanan, called up Saturday to make his big-league debut. Buchanan, 24, was filling in for Brad Peacock, who was recovering from food poisoning. It was a rocky beginning for Buchanan, who gave up two runs on four hits before stranding the bases loaded in the first inning. Buchanan left after 4 1/3 innings, having been charged with five runs on eight hits.
Meanwhile, Odorizzi was sharp again. Odorizzi had considered his strong outing June 10 against his hometown Cardinals as a potential season or career-changer, and he's allowed just three combined runs his last three starts. He didn't give up a hit until second baseman Jose Altuve ripped an infield single off his foot in the third. Odorizzi got in a rare jam in that inning, walking George Springer to put two on with one out. But Odorizzi bounced back in striking out first baseman Jon Singleton and getting third baseman Matt Dominguez to fly out.
Tampa Bay gave Odorizzi plenty of support, racking up 11 hits and scoring more runs than their last three games combined (six). The Rays added three insurance runs in the fifth. Third baseman Evan Longoria got hit by a pitch and stole second, scoring on a single by left fielder Brandon Guyer, who also had a diving catch. Designated hitter Matt Joyce followed with an RBI double to chase Buchanan. Reliever Jerome Williams relieved Buchanan and allowed a two-out RBI double by catcher Ryan Hanigan to make it 5-0.
The Rays added three more in the eighth off Williams, loading the bases with two walks and a single. One run came home on a wild pitch by Williams, and Loney came through with a two-run single.
The Rays had lost eight of their last 10 games when facing a starting pitcher making his major league debut, dating back to July 22, 2009; seven of those 10 pitchers turned in quality starts, and six of them allowed one earned run or fewer.
NOTES: Astros C Jason Castro started at designated hitter one day after taking a foul ball off his left knee; he's expected to return to catcher Sunday. ... Both teams wore retro uniforms for "Turn Back the Clock Night." Rays RHP Jeremy Hellickson (elbow surgery) will make what he hopes is his final rehab start Sunday for Triple-A Durham, going six innings or 90 pitches.