Starter Blake Snell struck out 9 batters scattered six hits over seven innings while picking up his 12th win of the season as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Mets 3-0 on Saturday afternoon. The Rays, who left 11 men on base & got just two hits with runners in scoring position, were led by a two RBI game for catcher Wilson Ramos.
Snell (12-4) ranks among the league leaders in several pitching categories, including leading the majors with 16 starts where he’s allowed two runs or less. The win on Saturday afternoon also meant Snell won his fourth straight start & in those four starts, he has thrown over 28 innings allowing two runs 14 hits with 35 strikeouts & 15 walks.
The Rays started the game by loading the bases in the top of the first with an infield single by centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier & two walks but shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria ended the threat by flying out to right field. And then in the second the Rays got the leadoff man on again when right fielder Carlos Gomez doubled to right-center. But Gomez only got as far as third base & was left there when third baseman Matt Duffy grounded out to end the inning.
The Rays had runners in scoring position again in the third & fourth inning but again weren’t able to get the run scoring hit. Actually the Rays were hitless in eight at bats with runners in scoring position in the first four innings. And the Mets weren’t much better with their scoring opportunities going hitless in their three at bats with runners in scoring position in the same time frame. But in the fifth the Rays were able to get the first run across without getting a hit with a runner in scoring position when Duffy got their second leadoff double in the first five innings. And with the infield in, catcher Wilson Ramos grounded a ball to shortstop Ahmed Rosario, who bobbled the ball & had to settle on getting Ramos out at first.
That lone run seemed like a five run lead for Tampa Bay because after the Mets threatened in the second inning, Snell showed little signs of struggling. The Rays lefty threw 16 pitches while striking out two batters in the third inning. Then he got 1-2-3 innings in both the fifth & sixth, throwing a total of 22 pitches.
The fifth & sixth inning pitch counts were keys in giving Snell the chance to pitch deep into the game after needing 19 pitches to get out of the first inning. Snell finished the game throwing 112 pitches in seven and 1/3 innings, matching his career high & turning the game over to the Rays bullpen, who were left to get five outs. And after Snell gave up a lead-off double to pinch-hitter Jose Reyes, manager Kevin Cash turned to reliever Diego Castillo to get Mets right fielder Jose Bautista to pop out. Then Cash used lefty reliever Jose Alvarado to get switch hitter shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera to fly out to center to end the eighth. Rays reliever Sergio Romo gave up a leadoff single to Mets leftfielder Michael Conforto but then retired the next three batters in the 9th to pick up his 9th save of the year.
On Sunday Tampa Bay will look to take the rubber game of the series & try to end their two city road trip at .500 when the two teams play again. The Rays will send righty Nathan Eovaldi (2-3 3.92) to the mound while the Mets give the ball to right-hander Chris Flexen (0-1 10.80) who will be making his first start of the season. Coverage begins on 620 WDAE with Steve Carney & The Inside Pitch at 11am, followed by the Rays Radio Network coverage at 11:30am then first pitch to follow at 1:10pm.