AP Sports Writer
HOUSTON (AP) -- As the losses keep piling up, the Houston Astros are often left to search for positives.
On Thursday a bright spot was easy to find with Brett Wallace homering twice before Houston eventually fell to the Tampa Bay Rays 7-5 in 11 innings.
Wallace was an opening day starter for Houston, but was sent to Triple-A Oklahoma City after going 1 for 24 with 17 strikeouts and a .042 batting average in seven games. He's turned things around since his return last week and has three homers, a triple and nine RBIs.
He also had a single on Thursday to tie a career-high with three hits.
"When you start driving the ball the other way -- the opposite-field double (Wednesday), the opposite-field homer (Thursday) -- what happens, you bring him back to happy land and he got something middle in and he did what you should do," manager Bo Porter said.
Wallace is determined to take advantage of this chance with the Astros and figures the time in Oklahoma City got him where he needed to be.
"I think when I went down the biggest thing was to get back to the basics and get into a comfort zone," he said. "That's where I'm at right now. I feel comfortable at the plate and the guys in front of me have done a great job of putting me in good situations to hit."
Yunel Escobar drove in three runs, including a tiebreaking double in the 11th inning that lifted the Rays.
Escobar and Desmond Jennings each doubled twice and singled, helping the Rays win for the fifth time in six games.
Jose Lobaton walked to start the 11th and moved to second on a passed ball by Jason Castro. Escobar then doubled into the right-field corner off Josh Fields (0-1).
Escobar gave the Rays an insurance run when he scored his second run of the day on a wild pitch by Wesley Wright later in the 11th.
Jamey Wright (2-1) pitched a scoreless 10th for the win and Fernando Rodney did the same in the 11th for his 18th save.
Wallace tied at 5 with his second homer of the game, a three-run shot in the eighth. The Rays had taken the lead by scoring three runs in the top of that inning behind a two-run double by Escobar.
"(It) was an emotional roller-coaster," Porter said. "To give up the three and fall behind and then come back the next inning and have (Wallace) hit the big three-run homer, you really just want to build off that momentum and end it right there if you can."
Evan Longoria drove in a run in the first for Tampa Bay. The Rays tied it at 2 in the seventh by scoring on a wild pitch by Jordan Lyles.
Wallace hit a solo homer in the fourth. Houston took the lead in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Jake Elmore.
Elmore walked to start Houston's eighth and Jose Altuve singled to set up Wallace's homer. Wallace sent a pitch from Joel Peralta into the second row of the seats in right field to tie it.
The game was tied at 2 entering the eighth before Lobaton's bases-loaded forceout sent a run home to put Tampa Bay on top. Escobar followed with a long double, which landed on Tal's Hill in straightaway center field, to score two more and push the lead to 5-2.
Brandon Barnes looked to have a shot at catching it, but tripped and fell running up the hill.
Tampa Bay rookie starter Chris Archer yielded two hits and two runs with five strikeouts in six innings.
Lyles allowed six hits and two runs with three walks in 6 2-3 innings. He looked much better than he had in his last two starts when he allowed 15 hits and 12 runs combined.
"I thought Lyles was tremendous," Porter said. "After the first inning, getting out of that jam and keeping it to a minimum and making quality pitches. He did a tremendous job to go the length in which he went and put us in a position to win the ball game."
Longoria was Tampa Bay's designated hitter for the third straight game after missing the previous three games with plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
James Loney had a single in the Tampa Bay fourth to extend his hitting streak to a career-high-tying 15 games. The other time he achieved the feat was in 2008.
NOTES: Rays RF Wil Myers, a rookie who is considered one of best prospects in baseball, had a nifty diving catch to rob Castro of a hit in the first. ... Tampa Bay returns home on Friday to start a three-game series with the Chicago White Sox with Jeremy Hellickson on the mound against Dylan Axelrod. ... The Astros travel to Arlington to take on the Rangers on Friday. Houston's Lucas Harrell opposes Nick Tepesch. ... RHP Mark Appel, the first overall selection in the 2013 draft by Houston, is scheduled to make his professional debut on Friday for Single-A Tri City.
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