ST. PETERSBURG -- Blake Snell (Zilla) continued to build his American League Cy Young Award candidacy, as he led the Rays to a 9-1 win over the Red Sox and complete a three-game sweep on Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field.Tampa Bay has now won eight consecutive games, and 13 of
ST. PETERSBURG -- Blake Snell (Zilla) continued to build his American League Cy Young Award candidacy, as he led the Rays to a 9-1 win over the Red Sox and complete a three-game sweep on Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field.
Tampa Bay has now won eight consecutive games, and 13 of its last 17, while moving to 70-61 on the season. The Rays had not swept Boston since May 23-25, 2014. In addition, the Rays became the first team to sweep the Sox since Baltimore did so on Aug. 25-27, 2017.
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"By sweeping [the Red Sox], we showed a lot," Snell said. "We're a good team, and when we're clicking, we're scary. I think the combination of how good our defense is, how good our pitching is, bullpen, starters, with us swinging it the way we're swinging it, I haven't seen the team play that well in a while. ... Says a lot about us. I'm excited. I'm excited to be in the clubhouse with these guys and see us compete every day. It's a lot of fun."
Snell did not allow a hit until Mookie Betts (Mookie) singled through the middle to start the fourth. Betts' sacrifice fly in the sixth drove home the Red Sox's only run against the Rays' ace.
Snell allowed one run on two hits and two walks while striking out eight in six innings to improve to 16-5, while lowering his ERA to 2.05.
Snell is 4-0 with a 1.04 ERA in five starts since returning from the disabled list (left shoulder fatigue) on Aug. 4. He is 3-0 with a 1.08 ERA in four starts against the Red Sox this season.
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Snell has yielded one run or fewer in five consecutive starts, the longest such stretch of his career and one shy of tying the longest streak in in franchise history, excluding those by "openers."
"I think, the body of work has helped [Snell's case]," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Obviously when you're playing against a Red Sox lineup and you have success against them, and have the chance to kind of dominate a ballgame, that's going to help. But there are a lot of good pitchers out there. That's probably best for me not to debate."
Tampa Bay jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first on Ji-Man Choi's (Ji) RBI single and Jake Bauers' (JB) sacrifice fly. The Rays added to the lead in a three-run third, paced by Kevin Kiermaier's (Outlaw) two-run triple. They continued to pad the lead for the remainder of the game, scoring in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings.
Nathan Eovaldi (Evo), who pitched for the Rays until getting traded to the Red Sox for Jalen Beeks prior to the non-waiver Trade Deadline, allowed five earned runs on eight hits in four innings.
Though the Rays' offense scored 24 runs in three games against the Red Sox, Matt "Duffman" Duffy allowed that the story of the weekend sweep was the pitching.
"The pitching staff is just outstanding," Duffy said. "They've been outstanding all year, but they really showed what they're capable of. And against that offense, you know, this weekend really belongs to them."
Red Sox manager Alex Cora sounded glad to be leaving Tropicana Field.
"Just a bad weekend," Cora said. "That's it. They're playing great baseball. They play great here. They've done this to some good teams. It was a bad weekend in [St. Petersburg]."
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For the first time in franchise history, the Rays swept a multiseries homestand, going 4-0 against the Royals and 3-0 against the Red Sox.
"It's tough to four-game sweep anybody," Duffy said. "I know Kansas City's been struggling this year, but that's still a big deal. It's easy to let your guard down against a team like that, and let them take a game or two sometimes. Then this weekend, to me, the story is pitching."
HE SAID IT
"We know we are good. We know we are young and have a lot to prove. I think there's a comfort in here that it feels really good and we don't really thinking about who we're playing. We just have fun. It's cool." -- Snell, on the Rays being nine games above .500
Ryne Stanek will open the Rays' two-game series against the Braves that begins Tuesday at 7:35 p.m. ET at SunTrust Park. Since the beginning of June, he is 1-2 with a 2.06 ERA and .182 opponents' average in 35 appearances (19 starts), lowering his ERA from 4.66 to 2.53. Right-hander Julio Teheran will start for the Braves.
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays since 2004.