ST. PETERSBURG -- Blake Snell didn't have his best stuff, but Tuesday's outing against the Braves was another step in the right direction for the young lefty. Even though Snell picked up the loss in the Rays' 1-0 defeat at Tropicana Field, manager Kevin Cash said he was pleased with
ST. PETERSBURG -- Blake Snell didn't have his best stuff, but Tuesday's outing against the Braves was another step in the right direction for the young lefty. Even though Snell picked up the loss in the Rays' 1-0 defeat at Tropicana Field, manager Kevin Cash said he was pleased with what he saw.
"I thought Blake was really good," Cash said. "I think that's a sign of a pitcher [who's] starting to come into his own because he certainly didn't have crisp stuff that we've seen in the past, but he found a way to battle."
Snell delivered his sixth consecutive quality start, giving up just one run over 6 1/3 innings. The lefty dropped to 4-2 on the season with a 2.40 ERA. It's the second consecutive game that the Rays have lost despite getting a quality start.
The one run that Snell gave up, however, was a loud one. Before Tuesday's game, Cash praised the Braves' young duo of Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuna Jr., but mentioned he hoped the pair did most of their damage during batting practice.
It didn't take long for the Rays to see why Acuna is considered one of baseball's future stars. The 20-year-old outfielder had the decisive hit with a third-inning homer off Snell. Acuna's homer traveled 434 feet according to Statcast™.
"I liked the pitch. It's my fault for getting 3-2 on him," Snell said. "I think it would have played out differently if I was ahead. I feel that way with anyone. He made a good swing and made me pay for it. Good job to him."
As for the Rays offense, they were held quiet by Atlanta starter Sean Newcomb, who struck out six in six innings. The Rays had runners on first and second in the 8th inning, but Atlanta reliever Dan Winkler struck out Matt Duffy to end the threat.
In a strange play, Rays infielder Adeiny Hechavarria had to leave the game in the 8th inning after being hit by a ball that initially struck the Tropicana Field catwalk. Hechavarria suffered a left eye contusion and is unsure if he will be in the Rays lineup on Wednesday.
With Tuesday's loss, the Rays have now lost two consecutive one-run games and have a league-leading 12 one-run losses this season. Cash said he doesn't mind playing close games, but the team needs to find ways to come out on the winning side of the result.
"It'll be fine if we were winning them," Cash said. "But we're not winning them."
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Snell and Rays reliever Ryne Stanek combined to strike out four hitters in the 7th inning. Snell struck out Ender Inciarte before being pulled for Stanek, who went on to strike out Johan Camargo, Culberson and Albies. Culberson reached on a wild pitch after the ball got by Rays catcher Jesus Sucre. The last time the Rays recorded four strikeouts or more in an inning was on May 10, 2013, by Alex Cobb.
HE SAID IT
"He's still got 93 [mph] and it's still moving. It kind of looks like old Jonny to me. Nothing has really changed. His delivery is the same and his stuff is really live." -- Braves manager Brian Snitker, on Rays reliever Jonny Venters
Ryan Yarbrough is coming off a dominant five-inning, one-hit relief performance against the Blue Jays on Friday and has picked up the win in each of his last two outings. He has never faced the Braves, who will send right-hander Julio Teheran to the mound for the 7:10 p.m. ET contest on Wednesday at Tropicana Field.
Juan Toribio is a reporter for MLB.com