- Associated Press - Sunday, June 22, 2014

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - The Tampa Bay Rays are hopeful that a successful series against Houston is the start of a turnaround.

Yunel Escobar drove in two runs during a three-run sixth inning and the Rays beat the Astors 5-2 on Sunday.

Escobar hit a two-run single and Sean Rodriguez had an RBI grounder off Dallas Keuchel (8-5) to give the Rays a 4-2 lead in the sixth.

The Rays are 8-18 over their past 26 games, including five wins in seven games against Houston. Tampa Bay took three of four in the weekend series.

“We won, that’s the bottom line,” Rays third baseman Evan Longoria said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do. We put ourselves in a pretty good hole, but I think that the belief on a daily basis is still we can come to the ballpark and win.”

Keuchel allowed five runs and nine hits in an eight-inning complete game. It was his third complete game this season.

“We did some good things today against a tough pitcher,” Longoria said.

Dexter Fowler put the Astros up 1-0 when he hit the first pitch of the game from Erik Bedard into the left-field seats. It was his ninth career leadoff homer and third this season.

Bedard, who was with Houston last season, gave up two runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings.

Juan Carlos Oviedo (3-2) got two outs in the sixth for the win. Joel Peralta pitched the ninth for his first save.

Rodriguez made it 5-2 on an eighth-inning sacrifice fly.

Houston took a 2-1 lead in the third on Jose Altuve’s single. Jonathan Villar opened the inning with a double, was awarded a steal of third after a replay challenge resulted in an out call being overturned and scored on the hit by Altuve.

Altuve has 13 hits in his past 24 at-bats.

The Rays tied it at 1 in the bottom of the first on Longoria’s single

Desmond Jennings was caught attempting to steal home with Longoria batting to end the third, a call that was confirmed by a replay review. After catcher Carlos Corporan threw the ball back to Keuchel, Jennings broke for the plate, but was tagged by Corporan after a return throw from Keuchel.

Story Continues →