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Snell outduels Verlander, ends Astros' streak

MLB.com @wwchastain

HOUSTON -- Tampa Bay outlasted Justin Verlander, and Blake Snell came through on the mound as the Rays ended the Astros' 12-game winning streak with a 2-1 win on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park.

The score stood tied at 1 when Matt Duffy doubled down the right-field line off Hector Rondon to open the eighth. Duffy moved to third on Jake Bauers' groundout to the right side, then scored what turned out to be the winning run when Wilson Ramos singled to left on a high-chopper that leaping Astros third baseman Yuli Gurriel tipped with his glove.

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HOUSTON -- Tampa Bay outlasted Justin Verlander, and Blake Snell came through on the mound as the Rays ended the Astros' 12-game winning streak with a 2-1 win on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park.

The score stood tied at 1 when Matt Duffy doubled down the right-field line off Hector Rondon to open the eighth. Duffy moved to third on Jake Bauers' groundout to the right side, then scored what turned out to be the winning run when Wilson Ramos singled to left on a high-chopper that leaping Astros third baseman Yuli Gurriel tipped with his glove.

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Video: TB@HOU: Ramos hits go-ahead RBI single in the 8th

Bauers' at-bat "was the biggest at-bat of the night," Duffy said. "I mean, let him swing the bat there against a tough pitcher who has got a lot of velo behind him. It's not easy to get around that ball ... just a professional at-bat."

The Rays used seven relievers in Monday night's loss to the Astros, so they needed Snell to pitch deep into the game, and he did just that, limiting the Astros to one run on three hits and seven walks in seven innings to pick up his ninth win.

"To go seven against this lineup is good," Snell said. "But I have to build off it, get more consistent. But very excited about this win. It was a team effort, and I couldn't be more excited about that."

Astros manager AJ Hinch sounded more impressed with Snell's performance than Snell.

"Snell's nasty," Hinch said. "Look at the league and look at the numbers, the entire league is having a hard time hitting him when he's in the strike zone. He can be erratic, but he's got some of the most premier left-handed stuff in the league that we've seen. He's right up there with [James] Paxton and guys with power, power stuff that's tough to hit."

A quality win for the Rays, but it didn't come without some last-minute drama.

Evan Gattis singled off Jose Alvarado to start the Astros' ninth. One out later, Rays manager Kevin Cash called on Sergio Romo, who took the loss on Monday night.

Romo fell behind 2-1 to Max Stassi, but recovered to strike him out looking for the second out. Tyler White followed with an infield single, but Romo retired Jake Marisnick on a popout to second to end the game.

Video: TB@HOU: Romo induces pop out, notches the save

Verlander came away with a no-decision despite allowing just one run on six hits while striking out 10 in 6 2/3 innings.

"Just an outstanding pitching performance on both sides," Cash said. "And Blake got there a little differently than being super efficient with the walks. But he made some pitches when he had to."

Video: TB@HOU: Verlander K's 10, allows 1 run over 6 2/3

SOUND SMART
C.J. Cron's home run off Verlander in the second moved him to 16, matching his career high. The Rays slugger hit 16 home runs for the Angels in each of his previous three seasons. The long ball snapped the longest hitless streak of his career (23 at-bats).

Video: TB@HOU: Cron opens the scoring with a solo homer

GOMEZ AIRS IT OUT
Twice the Astros tried to run on Carlos Gomez, and twice the Rays' right fielder threw out runners -- one at second base and one at the plate. It was the second time in his career that he recorded multiple outfield assists in a single game. He also did it on Sept. 24, 2013, at Atlanta.

Video: TB@HOU: Gomez throws out Springer at home for DP

HE SAID IT
"Felt great to be back out there with the guys. For the third consecutive year, it's my second Opening Day of the season. Not how you draw it up. But at the same time, I'm just happy to be back out there again." -- Kevin Kiermaier, on his return from the disabled list

Video: TB@HOU: Kiermaier makes a leaping grab at the wall

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Alex Bregman plunged a deep liner in the third inning off the wall in right-center field and drove in George Springer from second base. Attempting to take second on Gomez while Springer charged home, Bregman overshot the bag on his slide and was tagged out by Adeiny Hechavarria on a close play as he lunged back. The Astros challenged the call, but it would stand.

Video: TB@HOU: Gomez throws out Bregman at second base

UP NEXT
Nathan Eovaldi will start for the Rays when they wrap up their three-game series against the Astros at 8:10 ET on Wednesday night at Minute Maid Park. Eovaldi, who has a 6.75 ERA in the second inning this season, will try to get dialed in opposite Houston right-hander Charlie Morton.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Tampa Bay Rays, Blake Snell