ST. PETERSBURG -- Blake Snell. We're talking legitimate Cy Young Award contender. With just more than a month left in the season, Tampa Bay's left-hander is definitely in the conversation.Snell's latest display of greatness came Tuesday night wrapped in a quality start complete with 11 strikeouts to lead a 4-1
ST. PETERSBURG -- Blake Snell. We're talking legitimate Cy Young Award contender. With just more than a month left in the season, Tampa Bay's left-hander is definitely in the conversation.
Snell's latest display of greatness came Tuesday night wrapped in a quality start complete with 11 strikeouts to lead a 4-1 Rays win over the Royals at Tropicana Field.
"He's doing a tremendous job," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "I don't know everybody's numbers, but we're glad we have him. I think he's the best, as far as I'm concerned. That's debatable, obviously. But I like where Blake's going."
Yes, Snell did serve up a solo home run to Ryan O'Hearn -- snapping Tampa Bay pitching's scoreless streak at 27 innings. Nobody wearing a Rays uniform complained.
"Just another dominant performance on his part," Cash said.
After allowing a double to Whit Merrifield to start the game, Snell got to work. First, he retired Alex Gordon on a fly out to center, then he struck out Salvador Perez and Hunter Dozier to end the inning.
"We've seen that quite a bit," Cash said. "That's another sign of the maturity with Blake. Made some pitches. Probably had to reach back and get it a little bit earlier than he wanted to, but he knew with Perez and Dozier coming up there, he needed his good fastball. And I think he was pumping 97, 98 mph to get those big punchouts."
By the time Snell struck out the final batter he faced, Dozier, to end the sixth, Snell had his 15th win and had managed to lower his ERA from 2.10 to 2.07.
Since returning from the disabled list (left-shoulder fatigue), Snell has permitted just two runs on nine hits and four walks while striking out 26 in 20 innings.
"Felt good to get deep into the game," Snell said. "Wish I would have thrown more of the balls that I threw, more competitive around the zone. I had a lot of misses that weren't competitive that I was frustrated with. But the guys were swinging. … Excited about the win."
Willy Adames' solo home run off Glenn Sparkman in the second inning hit the C-ring catwalk, giving Adames his seventh homer of the season and the Rays a 1-0 lead. Joey Wendle added a two-run triple in the fourth, and Tommy Pham had an RBI double in the sixth to push the lead to 4-1.
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
With runners on first and second and two outs in the fourth, Wendle lined a ball to right. Michael Perez and Pham scored on the play, and Wendle slid safely into third with his fifth triple of the season, giving the Rays some much-needed breathing room at 3-0.
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HE SAID IT
"It's a good run. This pitching staff is very, very talented. For them to do that, I'm not surprised. These guys can pitch. They compete and work every day." -- Snell, on the staff's 27 scoreless innings streak (to which he contributed four innings on Tuesday)
Ji-Man Choi will look to extend his career-best eight-game hitting streak Wednesday as the Rays face the Royals at 7:10 p.m. ET for Game 3 of the four-game series. Jakob Junis (6-11, 4.76 ERA) will get the start for Kansas City, and Tampa Bay will give the ball to Ryne Stanek (1-3, 2.68).
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2004.