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Run support for Snell? Rays have it covered

@jessicacamerato
June 9, 2019

BOSTON -- Kevin Cash urged the Rays to give Blake Snell run support in Sunday’s outing. They delivered, to the tune of four home runs in their 6-1 win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park. • Box score Brandon Lowe went on an offensive tear with two homers, his

BOSTON -- Kevin Cash urged the Rays to give Blake Snell run support in Sunday’s outing.

They delivered, to the tune of four home runs in their 6-1 win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Box score

Brandon Lowe went on an offensive tear with two homers, his second multi-home run game of the season. He hit an authoritative shot to center field in the sixth inning off Boston starter Eduardo Rodriguez that traveled a massive 455 feet with a 109.6 mph exit velocity, according to Statcast. It was the Rays’ second-longest shot of the season behind Avisaíl García's 471-foot blast on May 14 against the Marlins, and Lowe’s 12th of the year.

Lowe followed up his first shot with a 435-foot blast to the same spot, this time off Marcus Walden in the seventh.

What was the approach to both homers? Well, it was quite simple.

“Don’t try to hit it there,” Lowe said. “I was really just trying to put a good at-bat together off a really good pitcher, and it carried as far as it did.”

Lowe also acknowledged the wind helped to carry balls out of the park, but there’s plenty of credit to be given to his own hitting. Over his last 10 games, Lowe is batting .341/.386/.585 with 11 RBIs. He wrapped up the series against the Red Sox hitting .538, with Sunday's two homers, four runs and five RBIs.

The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Lowe said opposing teams might consider his recent streak “a fluke” when game planning against him. Cash doesn’t quite think so.

“His size doesn’t fool anybody,” Cash said. “They recognize what he’s capable of doing when he has a bat in his hands.”

Guillermo Heredia and Yandy Díaz added to the offensive burst. Heredia knocked a home run 433 feet in the second inning off Rodriguez, and Diaz sent one flying 412 feet off Walden to jump-start the seventh.

All four blasts cracked the Rays’ top 10 longest home runs of the season. The Rays improved to 10-3 when hitting multiple homers on the road.

The runs complemented Snell’s first win since May 6. He struck out seven and surrendered five hits, allowing just one run and one walk in six innings of solid work. Snell allowed six runs off seven hits in just 4 1/3 innings in his last outing on Tuesday against the Tigers.

“It was a tiring game for me. It was a lot of stressful pitches, just a lot today,” Snell said. “[I’m] happy with the outcome, happy we got the win, but definitely got a lot of work to do still.”

Snell threw a wild pitch on Sunday, which led to an early two-on, no-out jam that he smoothly maneuvered to escape. After he gave up a single to Mookie Betts and walked Christian Vázquez, both runners advanced on the pitching mishap. Snell honed in and fanned the next three batters -- Xander Bogaerts, Michael Chavis and Eduardo Núñez -- swinging.

“I got mad at myself and I started pitching,” Snell said. “I just told myself, ‘You’ve got to start making pitches,’ and kind of told myself, ‘Let’s go.’… [I said it out loud and in my head]. But I always look down when I say stuff so no one can see.”

The private pep talk worked. Snell limited his opponents to one or fewer runs for the fourth time in seven starts and is posting a career-high 12.25 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.

“It was really strong,” Cash said of Snell’s afternoon. “Look, they made him work. He made himself work a little bit. But Blake’s a really talented pitcher. I know we like to nitpick kind of what he does or what he doesn’t do at times, but the bottom line is, he’s got really good stuff and he’s equipped to go out there and really give us a chance to win every single time he goes out there.”

The Rays took the weekend series, which included a doubleheader, 3-1. They improved to 40-24 and reached the 40-win mark in their first 64 games for only the second time in franchise history, after previously doing it in 2010.

“Whenever you can get someone like Blake any kind of run support, it makes it so much easier,” Lowe said. “Not only on us to play defense, but they have to go score runs off Snell, which is never an easy task.”

Jessica Camerato is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Boston. Follow her on Twitter @jessicacamerato.