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Rays 7, Astros 5 (11)

The SportsXchange

HOUSTON -- Tampa Bay shortstop Yunel Escobar produced two doubles on Thursday afternoon, the second of which sparked a two-run rally in the 11th inning that gave the Rays a 7-5 win over the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.

Escobar drove home catcher Jose Lobaton with the double to right field off Astros right-hander Josh Fields (0-1) and later scored an insurance run on Fields' wild pitch. Escobar also scored on a wild pitch in the seventh inning that erased the Astros' 2-1 lead.

Rays closer Fernando Rodney worked a scoreless 11th for his 18th save.

Tampa Bay took three of four games in the series.

The teams matched rallies in the eighth, with the Rays tagging Astros right-hander Jose Cisnero for three runs in the top of the inning, only to see Houston match it against Joel Peralta.

There was no shortage of theatrics, with the Rays taking a 3-2 lead when Lobaton hustled down the line on a grounder to second base, forcing shortstop Ronny Cedeno to swallow the throw from Jose Altuve and allow pinch- runner Sam Fuld to score from third.

Escobar crushed a Cisnero offering deep to straightaway center field for a two-run double that pushed Tampa Bay to a 5-2 advantage.

But when the first three batters in the bottom of the eighth reached against Peralta, the Rays' lead evaporated. Brett Wallace's three-run homer to right field pulled the Astros even and capped his second career multi-homer game.

Wallace, whose leadoff home run in the fourth against Tampa Bay right-hander Chris Archer erased the Rays' 1-0 lead, also smacked two homers on Aug. 1, 2012, against the Milwaukee Brewers. That he hit home runs to opposite fields - his blast in the fourth went out to left - was particularly noteworthy given his offensive woes in early April.

The late-inning dramatics erased from memory the solid starts of Archer and Astros right-hander Jordan Lyles. Archer struggled with his command while issuing three walks but allowed just two runs and two hits while striking out five in six innings.

Lyles pitched into the seventh and didn't allow his second run until Escobar scored on a wild pitch with two outs in the inning. The only other run Lyles surrendered came in the first inning when Desmond Jennings roped a leadoff double to left center and later scored when Evan Longoria hit a slow roller to Matt Dominguez at third.

NOTES: Rays first baseman James Loney extended hits hitting streak to 15 games with a fourth-inning single. Loney matched his career-best streak established March 31-April 16, 2008, while with the Los Angeles Dodgers. ... The Astros introduced their third-round pick (74th overall), North Carolina left-hander Kent Emanuel. Houston has now signed all 10 selections from its bonus pool allotment. Emanuel signed for a reported $747,700.

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