ST. PETERSBURG -- Riding an eight-game losing streak into Saturday's game against the Mariners, Tampa Bay needed a stopper. Blake Snell proved to be exactly what Rays manager Kevin Cash needed.Snell threw six solid innings, scattering seven hits for two runs -- one earned -- in a 7-3 win over
ST. PETERSBURG -- Riding an eight-game losing streak into Saturday's game against the Mariners, Tampa Bay needed a stopper. Blake Snell proved to be exactly what Rays manager Kevin Cash needed.
Snell threw six solid innings, scattering seven hits for two runs -- one earned -- in a 7-3 win over the visiting Mariners. The win also ended a five-game losing streak against Seattle on the season.
"We've complimented him all year on the way he's continued to progress, and tonight was another big step in that direction," Cash said. "We needed that stopper performance and we got it from him."
Snell started off a little rough in the top of the first after allowing a leadoff single to Jean Segura. Snell then uncorked a wild pitch on ball four to Nelson Cruz to put men on the corners. Despite a near double play, thanks to a diving stop and flip to second by Joey Wendle, Kyle Seager's fielder's choice put the Mariners on the board. Despite not having his best stuff -- he walked two and struck out one -- Snell was able to keep Seattle from putting together any big innings on his way to picking up his eighth win of the season.
"For what I had out there today, I'd say it was good," Snell said. "Defense picked me up huge today. That's a tough lineup, so when you don't have anything going and to get through six, you have to be happy with it, but still searching to get better, always."
The only other offense the Mariners mustered against Snell came on a solo home run by Cruz in the fifth, which ended Snell's string of consecutive innings without allowing an earned run at 24 2/3.
After batting just .213 as team during their losing streak, the Rays' bats came alive against Mariners, putting up runs in each of the first three innings against starter Felix Hernandez. Jake Bauers, who got the start at first base, collected his first big league hit, a double to the gap in right-center, with one out in the bottom of the first. He came around to score easily on a double by Matt Duffy for the Rays' first run of the game.
"I feel about 45 pounds lighter to be honest with you," Bauers said of the first hit. "I went to sleep last night and that was all I could think about -- and a win -- so to knock them both out tonight felt great."
Bauers finished the day 2-for-4.
The Rays continued to batter Hernandez after starting off the second with consecutive singles by Mallex Smith and Christian Arroyo. A bloop single by Rob Refsnyder that landed between a trio of Mariners defenders brought in Smith, giving the Rays a lead for the first time in their last 55 innings. A pair of RBI groundouts by Daniel Robertson and Jesus Sucre made it 4-1.
Tampa Bay tacked on two more in the third after Smith tripled off the top of the wall in right, scoring Carlos Gomez. Smith scored on an RBI single by Arroyo, who finished the game 2-for-4 with a run scored.
"We've been battling together, taking losses together so getting this win is uplifting for everybody." said Smith, who finished the day 3-for-4 with two runs scored.
Former Ray Denard Span doubled in the second and finished the day 2-for-4 for Seattle.
In the top of the second, Snell hit Segura in the left hand with a high inside fastball. It was the first time Snell had hit a batter in 57 career starts at the Major League level. He also uncorked a pair of wild pitches, his seventh and eighth of the season.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
With two outs and Seattle threatening in the top of the seventh, Ryon Healy popped a Diego Castillo fastball high and toward the Rays' bullpen down the right-field line. Gomez and Bauers both converged on the ball at full speed, colliding in the process. With Bauers on top of him, Gomez was able to make the catch and hold on to it as the two became entwined near the catcher's pit. Both Gomez and Bauers were shaken up on the play, but stayed in the game.
"The end result was what it was, but that's a big boy, so I think I'm going to feel that one tomorrow," Bauers said.
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Smith nearly had his first home run of the season in the bottom of the third. After a walk by Gomez put a runner on board, Smith turned on a high inside fastball from Hernandez and sent it to deep right field. The ball ricocheted off the top rail of the wall and into no-man's land in right, enabling Smith to reach third base standing up. The umpires signaled for a home run. However, a crew chief-initiated review overturned the call and Smith returned to third.
The Rays will wrap up their four-game set against the visiting Mariners with a 1:10 p.m. ET matinee. Nathan Eovaldi (1-1, 3.27 ERA) will make his home debut with the Rays opposite Seattle's James Paxton (5-1, 2.95). Eovaldi, who has allowed just one earned run in 12 career innings against Seattle, said that he is getting more comfortable with his offspeed stuff heading into his third start since coming back from elbow surgery.
J. Scott Butherus is a contributor to MLB.com based in Tampa Bay.