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Snell cruises, Cron erupts as Rays take series

Lefty is 8-2 with a 2.74 ERA since last Aug. 8; DH belts pair of homers
MLB.com @wwchastain

ST. PETERSBURG -- Blake Snell is maturing into the pitcher the Rays thought they had when he blew through the organization's farm system in 2015, a left-hander with four pitches and electric stuff.

Saturday he ran that stuff out against the Twins and came away with his third consecutive quality start in a 10-1 win at Tropicana Field that saw C.J. Cron fuel the offense with a pair of two-run homers.

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ST. PETERSBURG -- Blake Snell is maturing into the pitcher the Rays thought they had when he blew through the organization's farm system in 2015, a left-hander with four pitches and electric stuff.

Saturday he ran that stuff out against the Twins and came away with his third consecutive quality start in a 10-1 win at Tropicana Field that saw C.J. Cron fuel the offense with a pair of two-run homers.

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The Rays' third consecutive win gave them back-to-back series wins after they defeated the Rangers twice in a three-game series earlier this week.

Video: MIN@TB: Cron hits two homers against the Twins

Snell limited the Twins to one run on five hits while striking out six to move to 3-1 with a 2.54 ERA on the season. For the second consecutive game, the left-hander did not walk a batter.

"I'm happy about [no walks]," Snell said. "I was frustrated about the first inning, 20 pitches. Wasn't in the zone as much as I wanted to be. So it was good to adjust from that."

Snell credited his batterymate, Wilson Ramos, for his work behind the plate.

"Me and Wilson got in a rhythm again," Snell said. "It's nice when you know the pitch you want to throw and he's already calling it. I don't think I've had to shake him the last two games at all. When I did, I ended up throwing a pitch he wanted, because he ended up being right. Just being able to trust him so much, it's really helped a lot."

Snell is 8-2 with a 2.74 ERA in 15 starts since his Aug. 8 recall. During that stretch, opponents have hit just .194 against him. Snell believes he can reach higher.

"There's still more," Snell said. "I know there's more. I'm not going to be satisfied with it. I want to be better. I know I can be. It's definitely in the right direction, especially from a walk standpoint. But I still know that there's a lot that I can grab and grasp onto, and really be a better all-around pitcher."

Cron gave the Rays a 2-1 lead in the third when he homered with a man aboard on an 0-2 pitch from Kyle Gibson. He then put the finishing touches on a five-run seventh with his second two-run homer of the game, that one coming against Gabriel Moya to give the Rays a six-run lead.

Cron now has nine career multi-homer games. The previous one came on Aug. 29, 2017, when he played for the Angels against the A's.

"It was just nice to contribute to a good team win," Cron said. "We scored a lot of runs there and I think one through nine [in the batting order], we had our best offensive day of the year. I think we're going to keep clicking here, and thankfully they found the first row."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Rays held a 3-1 lead in the seventh inning when Denard Span faced Moya with two outs and runners at second and third. After falling behind 1-2, Span fouled off three pitches and took a ball before lacing an 84-mph slider back through the middle to drive home two. Cron then capped the inning with his second home run of the game.

Video: MIN@TB: Span tacks on two runs with a single

SOUND SMART
The Rays scored 10 runs, their most since Sept. 4, 2017, vs. Minnesota (11), and hit three home runs, their most since Sept. 28, 2017, against the Yankees in New York (3).

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
With one out in the seventh and the Rays leading 2-1, the Twins had Robbie Grossman at third with one out. Mitch Garver then blooped a ball into shallow right field. Rays second baseman Joey Wendle and right fielder Carlos Gomez converged. Wendle reached over his shoulder to make the catch, then pivoted and threw home to prevent Grossman from scoring. Snell then struck out Ehire Adrianza to end the inning.

"We had infield in," Wendle said. "That was a big run at that point. He hit a flare, and I hightailed it as quick as I could, picked a spot and was able to get to it."

Video: MIN@TB: Wendle makes a nice over-the-shoulder catch

HE SAID IT
"Danny Farquhar, the Farquhar family, the Rays' thoughts, prayers, everything, a lot of positive thoughts going that way. It's not good news. He played for us for two years. We support him. Can't imagine what the White Sox are going through, but most importantly, his wife, his children and his extended family, and especially Danny. A lot of thoughts going his way and hope for good news to come in the coming days."
-- Rays manager Kevin Cash, on former Tampa Bay pitcher Danny Farquhar, who is in critical but stable condition after suffering a ruptured brain aneurysm Friday night while pitching for the White Sox

UP NEXT
The Rays aim to wrap up their three-game series against the Twins with a sweep on Sunday afternoon in a 1:10 p.m. ET contest at Tropicana Field. Yonny Chirinos will start after officially getting inserted into the Rays' rotation. Chirinos did not allow a run in his first three outings (14 1/3 innings), but was touched for six in 5 2/3 innings last time out against the Rangers. The Twins will counter with right-hander Phil Hughes.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2004.

Tampa Bay Rays