By DICK SCANLON
ST. PETERSBURG, FL (AP) - Wilson Ramos drove in four runs in the first two innings against Justin Verlander, and the Tampa Bay Rays went on to a 5-2 win over the Houston Astros on Saturday.
Matt Duffy finished with three hits, including two in the first two innings, to help the Rays win for the seventh time in eight games to move to .500 (41-41) for the first time since June 1. Tampa Bay has held opponents to two runs or fewer in five straight games for only the second time in franchise history.
Ramos got the Rays on the scoreboard with a two-run double in the first, and made it 5-0 with a two-run single in the second.
Alex Bregman got the Astros on the board with a two-run homer in the sixth off Vidal Nuno. It was Bregman's 16th home run and his fifth in six games.
Verlander (9-4) gave up a season-high five runs in a season-low five innings, giving up nine hits while striking out eight. He came into the came with a major league-leading 1.82 ERA, but it was 4.34 in six June starts. The Astros have lost his last three starts.
Nuno (2-0) got the win after pitching 4 2/3 innings of relief, giving up two runs and four hits while striking out four. Sergio Romo pitched ninth for his seventh save in 11 opportunities.
Ryne Stanek pitched the first inning for Tampa Bay, giving up a single to Jose Altuve, Houston's only hit in the first four innings.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball