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Rays 0, Astros 1: Josh Fleming was really, really good.

Pretty wild to think that the Rays have lost two series this season and their record is 20-5.

Houston Astros v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Houston Astros are in town for one final night, closing off the three-game series with both them and the Rays at one win each. In the rubber match, Rays opener Calvin Faucher takes the mound against Houston starter Hunter Brown.

Before the game started, former Rays sideline reporter Todd Kalas hopped in the booth with Dewayne Staats to re-live memories from the first 25 seasons of Rays baseball, and it was a fun and nostalgia-filled conversation between the two fan-favorite personalities.

The game’s opening frame started out well with a groundout of Mauricio Dubon, but things started going south after Jeremy Pena singled and Kyle Tucker walked. Pena advanced to third on Faucher’s second wild pitch of the inning, and scored when Wander Franco wasn’t able to field a grounder by Alex Bergman. Fortunately, Faucher got Jose Abreu to ground into a double play, preventing a bad opening stint.

Hunter Brown recorded two strikeouts in a quick bottom of the first. Meanwhile in the top of the second, Faucher looked much better, getting two groundouts and a strikeout to pitch a 1-2-3 inning. Hunter Brown also threw a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom-half of the second.

Josh Fleming entered in the top of the third to work the bulk of tonight’s inning for the Rays after Faucher walked the leadoff hitter. Fleming quickly got a double play, but allowed back-to-back singles to put Astros on the corners. Alex Bregman flew out to center to end the inning, making it a scoreless frame for Fleming.

The Rays were quiet once again in the bottom of the third, but Manuel Margot did at least single to get a hit on the board. He was thrown out trying to steal second, so Hunter Brown had to face the minimum in the inning after striking out Yandy Diaz for the third out.

Fleming’s second inning of work, the top of the fourth, was very efficient, getting three groundouts on 11 pitches. The bottom of the fourth was another quiet one for the offense, despite a walk by Brandon Lowe with two outs in the inning.

Houston managed to put two runners on with one out in the top of the fifth, but an unsuccessful sacrifice bunt attempt by Jeremy Pena and a groundout by Kyle Tucker thwarted the Astros’ plans. Hunter Brown’s fifth inning of work saw him retire the side in order yet again.

The top of the sixth saw Josh Fleming need only nine pitches to put the Astros down in order. Manuel Margot led the bottom-half of the sixth off with a single up the middle, but Yandy grounded into a double play to eliminate that chance, while Wander grounded out to end the side.

Fleming was as good as he’s been all season tonight, setting the Astros down 1-2-3 once again in the top of the seventh, but once again he received no help from his offense, as the Rays lineup also went down in order, moving this game to the top of the eighth.

Mauricio Dubon walked to begin the inning for Houston, but after Jeremy Pena flew out to center, Kyle Tucker grounded into a double play, making it a sixth clean inning from Fleming and passing the baton once again to the Rays offense.

The Astros called upon Hector Neris to relieve Hunter Brown after seven terrific innings of work. Neris picked up where Brown lifted off, setting the Rays down 1-2-3. In the top of the ninth, Zack Burdi entered, relieving Fleming. Fleming’s six innings of work saw him throw 69 pitches (43 for strikes) while allowing four hits. He struck out two and walked one.

Burdi’s inning didn’t get off to the best start, as he walked leadoff hitter Alex Bregman. Burdi struck out Jose Abreu, got Alex Bregman out at second on a force out, then struck out Jake Meyers to send this one into the bottom of the ninth.

Ryan Pressly was brought in to shut down the Rays offense one final time, and he did just that. Manuel Margot lined out on a ball that was crushed too short, but Jeremy Pena made an exceptional catch to prevent it from becoming a hit. Yandy and Wander both grounded out to end this one, the Rays falling to the Astros, 1-0.

It’s just the first series at home that the Rays have dropped this season, their second series loss overall, but tonight’s game had the major positive of outstanding pitching from the Rays, and specifically Josh Fleming.

The Rays head up to the south side of Chicago, beginning a four-game series with the 7-18 White Sox tomorrow night. Shane McClanahan starts for the Rays against White Sox starter and Cy Young runner-up Dylan Cease. First pitch inside of Guaranteed Rate Field is scheduled for 7:10 pm.