By Brett Dolan

Evan Longoria hit for the cycle and drove in three runs helping the Tampa Bay Rays defeat the Astros 6-4 Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park.

The Astros are 9-8 since the All-Star break.

The Rays pounded Mike Fiers with a pair of first inning home runs. Longoria’s two-run shot started the scoring after it deflected off the train above the tracks in left field. Logan Morrison followed with a liner into the right field seats and a 3-0 lead.

Longoria was in the middle of a two-run third inning, tripling in Lucas Duda who had doubled. Longoria scored on Adeiny Hechavarria’s single that pushed the visitor’s advantage to 5-0.

Chris Archer looked sharp through four scoreless innings, allowing just a single to Yuli Gurriel in the second. However the Astros connected for a pair of homers in the fifth. Carlos Beltran hit career home run #434, good for a tie for 46th all-time with Juan Gonzalez and Andruw Jones. Two batters later Alex Bregman deposited Archer’s pitch into the Crawford Boxes for his 12th homer, to cut the Rays lead to 5-2.

The Astros chased Archer with two more runs in the seventh, but the inning ended when Jose Altuve grounded out to shortstop with runners on the corners and the Rays up 6-4.

Longoria doubled in the ninth inning to complete the cycle, his career first and just the second in Rays history.

Fiers suffered the loss (7-6), allowing eight hits and six runs in 6.1 innings of work.

“He battles himself command wise,” said manager A.J. Hinch. “Hit by pitch, a couple of walks and it makes for some high stress innings for him. Give him credit for lasting a little deeper in the game than it looked like in the beginning.”

Archer improved to 8-6 with the win.

“He’s good,” said Hinch. “He has a really good fastball and has a really good slider and he had a pretty big cushion at the beginning which makes him tough.”

Alex Colome threw a perfect ninth inning for his 31st save of the season.

The Astros and Rays will play game three of the four-game series Wednesday night at 7:10 p.m. Austin Pruitt (5-2 6.63) will start for Tampa Bay. Dallas Keuchel (9-0 1.94) will make his second start off the disabled list.

Keuchel expressed disappointment Tuesday that the Astros didn’t add more impact players before Monday’s trade deadline.



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