NEW YORK -- Left-hander Blake Snell has been the Rays' best pitcher this season, but on Thursday night, he wished he had a do-over as the Yankees edged the Rays, 4-3, at Yankee Stadium. The loss snapped Tampa Bay's three-game winning streak.After three innings, Snell was dealing, striking out seven
NEW YORK -- Left-hander Blake Snell has been the Rays' best pitcher this season, but on Thursday night, he wished he had a do-over as the Yankees edged the Rays, 4-3, at Yankee Stadium. The loss snapped Tampa Bay's three-game winning streak.
After three innings, Snell was dealing, striking out seven batters. He was staked to a 2-0 lead, thanks to a leadoff home run by Matt Duffy in the first and an RBI single by Wilson Ramos two innings later off Domingo German, who ended up pitching six innings and striking out 10 batters.
"Ambush home run right out of the gate," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "[German] didn't lose his cool. He kept making pitches. I thought we had a real good scouting report on him. We knew he would go to his breaking ball quite a bit. … We put enough pressure to get us the lead. We just came up short."
In the fifth inning, Snell lost his command as the Yankees scored four runs. Rookie phenom Gleyber Torres highlighted the scoring with a three-run homer.
Snell said he didn't like how he threw the ball over his five innings. He was not satisfied with his fastball or breaking pitches, and plans to sharpen his approach before he faces the Astros next week.
"I'm going to look at the video, but there were a lot of 3-2 counts, a lot of 2-0 counts. I was frustrated with that," Snell said. "I gave them a lot of opportunities to do damage. … The pitch to Torres, I was frustrated with the pitch. I was frustrated with the approach, getting behind.
"The defense was good. We were able to get three runs. We should be able to win most ballgames. When you lose that, it's very frustrating for me because I know we are a pitching and defensive team."
The Rays made it a one-run game in the sixth inning on an RBI single by Joey Wendle.
In the seventh, the Rays did have the potential tying run in scoring position. With right-hander Chad Green on the mound, Carlos Gomez reached base on a one-out double. Then he tried to steal third and was thrown out by catcher Gary Sanchez to end the threat.
Gomez said he thought Green was going to throw a slider to the hitter, Johnny Field. But Green threw a fastball and Sanchez was able to throw out Gomez easily.
"I saw something and [I was trying] to take advantage. It didn't work like I expected," Gomez said. "This is part of the game. Field struck out on a slider [in the fifth inning]. As I'm on second base, I saw some signs. I thought it was going to be a slider. That's why I took off."
The Rays struck out 15 times, their highest nine-inning total this season. The Rays struck out 16 times in 13 innings against the Mariners on June 1.
Rays right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will make his fourth start of the season on Friday at 7:05 p.m. ET, and it comes against the Yankees, the team he played for in 2015-16. It will be his first start at Yankee Stadium since Aug. 4, 2016, when he pitched seven innings in a 4-1 loss to the Mets. During his two years with the Yankees, Eovaldi was 23-11 with a 4.45 ERA in 48 starts. He matches up with Jonathan Loaisiga, who will be making his Major League debut for New York. Loaisiga is making the jump from Double-A. He was a combined 6-1 with a 3.00 ERA for Class A Advanced Tampa and Double-A Trenton this season.
Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. He covered the Nationals/Expos from 2002-2016. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.