ST. PETERSBURG (WDAE) -- The Blake Snell that won the 2018 American League Cy Young Award appears to have returned.
After struggling in a pair of starts after breaking a toe on his right foot, Snell allowed just one hit and struck out nine in six innings of work, and Tommy Pham hit a grand slam as the Tampa Bay Rays drubbed the Arizona Diamondbacks 12-1 Monday at Tropicana Field
Pham's grand slam capped off a five-run bottom of the second inning, which began with Nate Lowe and Avisail Garcia each reaching via base hit off Diamondbacks starter Merrill Kelly. Mike Zunino was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Daniel Robertson drove in the first run of the inning with a walk. Brandon Lowe struck out for the second out of the inning, and Pham took the second pitch of the at-bat and knocked it off the batters' eye uin center for his fifth home run of the season.
Tampa Bay added three more runs in the seventh thanks to a two-run double for Robertson and a RBI single by Brandon Lowe, then capped the scoring with a two-run homer by Avisail Garcia, his fifth of the year, off catcher John Ryan Murphy an inning later.
Snell (3-3) retired the first 17 batters he faced Monday, losing his perfect game bid with two out in the sixth on a base hit by Ildemaro Vargas. He then hit Tim Locastro with a pitch, but got Ketel Marte to ground out to him to end the threat.
Arizona's only run came in the top of the ninth, when Andrew Velazquez's throwing error on a ground ball by Adam Jones allowed Blake Swihart to score from second base for an unearned run.
The win improves Tampa Bay back to ten games over .500 on the season and maintains their two-game lead over the Yankees.
Tampa Bay Rays (22-12) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (20-15), 7:10 pm first pitch, with coverage on WDAE beginning at 6:00 with The Inside Pitch.
Rays starter: RHP Ryne Stanek (0-1, 2.81 ERA)
Orioles starter: RHP Taylor Clarke (0-0, 0.00 ERA)