CHICAGO -- Kevin Cash told reporters before Tuesday's game that Blake Snell had "a chance to be a special pitcher." The Rays manager's words sounded prophetic after the Rays defeated the White Sox, 6-5, at Guaranteed Rate Field.Snell maneuvered through the White Sox's lineup without allowing a hit through four
CHICAGO -- Kevin Cash told reporters before Tuesday's game that Blake Snell had "a chance to be a special pitcher." The Rays manager's words sounded prophetic after the Rays defeated the White Sox, 6-5, at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Snell maneuvered through the White Sox's lineup without allowing a hit through four innings, en route to his first win of the season.
"You just don't see too many 6-foot-5 lefties that throw 95, 96 mph with four offspeed pitches," Cash said. "He's shown the ability to have them all of them at one time. That's when we've seen him dominate games. Finding that consistency, he could be special."
Snell pitched well, and received solid backing from his teammates, like Joey Wendle, who stole a hit from Tyler Saladino when he backhanded a shot through the middle and made a successful throw to first for the out in the third inning. And for the third consecutive day, the Rays' offense chipped in to score five or more runs.
Snell threw a career-high 114 pitches, using his final pitch of his six-inning outing to strike out Nicky Delmonico swinging, notching his 10th strikeout of the game.
A Saladino ground-rule double in the fifth was the only hit off Snell, who held the White Sox to 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position, working out of jams in the fifth and sixth. While the finished result looked good, Cash and Snell saw room for improvement.
"I thought he was good," Cash said. "We needed a good start from him. But if we're being honest, there was some good and there was some not so good. The strikeouts were great, the pitch efficiency, we've got to get better. We have to do better as an entire staff. [But] we needed a quality start from him. He provided that."
Snell said that he felt good before adding that he was "frustrated a little bit with the command issues."
"I had about five 0-2 to 3-2 counts," said Snell, who walked five. "So frustrated with that. But just trying to be too nasty. And that's what I've been frustrated with. I need to be nasty in the zone. But overall, looking at it, it's a good outing to build on for sure. But just upset with the inconsistencies."
In the ninth, the White Sox muscled out of their recent offensive slumber. After Tim Anderson had already scored, an error and a walk opened the door for a Jose Abreu three-run home run off Rays closer Alex Colome. Ultimately, the rally came up just short, with Omar Narvaez lining out to right field to end the game.
While the Rays appeared to hang on for dear life at the end, Cash couldn't get too upset about how they won as long as they won.
"We're not going to get picky," said Cash, allowing himself a chuckle. "We get one in the win column given what's happened in the last week. We'll take it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Gift run: After Daniel Robertson and Denard Span walked to start the third, Wendle stepped to the plate and promptly slashed a single to left to drive home Robertson. When left fielder Delmonico let Wendle's hit get past him, Span scored, too. The Rays have had trouble scoring runs thus far in 2018, so having a 2-0 early lead gave them a boost on Tuesday.
Going deep: The Rays aren't hitting home runs at the rate they were last year, but Carlos Gomez came through with one at the right time on Tuesday. The White Sox had just scored a run against Snell in the bottom of the fifth. Gomez answered by homering to center field on a 1-0 pitch from from Hector Santiago, giving the Rays a 5-1 lead. The veteran slugger gave himself a pat on the helmet as he rounded second base.
"To me, today, [Colome] threw the ball really well. The pitch Abreu hit, that was not a bad pitch. It was low. You have to give credit to the hitter. In that situation, that was a good pitch, almost in front of me." --Rays catcher Wilson Ramos on Colome's performance
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Snell became the first Rays pitcher to record a quality start this season, and he became the first Rays pitcher to throw at least six innings since Chris Archer on Opening Day against the Red Sox.
The Rays wrap up their three-game series in Chicago, and their eight-game road trip Wednesday afternoon at Guaranteed Rate Field in a 2:10 p.m. ET contest. For the fourth time this season, the Rays will go with a bullpen day. Yonny Chirinos will start, coming off a performance against the Red Sox where he allowed no runs in five innings of work.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.