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Snell Struggles In Return As Rays Drop Middle Game

Whatever Blake Snell is doing at Triple-A isn't working at the big league level.

Snell allowed six runs in just five innings of work in his return to Tampa Bay, as the Pittsburgh Pirates beat up the left-hander for a 6-2 decision Wednesday at PNC Park to even the three-game series.

Snell started out about as good as you could expect, retiring the first two batters in the bottom of the first inning on just five pitches after Evan Longoria spotted him a 1-0 lead with an RBI double.  But Snell would throw 31 more pitches in the inning, with Pittsburgh scoring a run on a ground-rule double by Jose Osuna, another on a wild pitch, and two more on a base hit by Elias Diaz.

Wilson Ramos inched closer in the third with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2, but Josh Bell homered leading off the home fourth to push the lead back to 5-2, and a RBI double by Osuna in the fifth to make it a 6-2 game.

Snell (0-5) exited after being pinch-hit for in the top of the sixth inning after giving up the six runs on four hits and walking five, becoming the first Rays pitcher to lose his first five decisions of the year since 2007, when Dan Wheeler started 0-5 and Edwin Jackson began 0-8 for the then-Devil Rays.

Tampa Bay had chances to try and get closer, but stranded a runner at third in both the sixth and seventh inning to keep the deficit at four runs.

Ivan Nova (8-5) worked the first five innings to earn the win, with Daniel Hudson, Tony Watson, Juan Nicasio and Felipe Rivero each working a scoreless inning of relief to close out the contest.

The loss drops Tampa Bay back to two games over .500 at 41-39.

Chris Archer (6-4, 3.97 ERA) will look to take the series with a win in Thursday's rubber match, taking on Jameson Taillon (3-2, 3.33 ERA).  First pitch is scheduled for 7:05, with coverage on WDAE beginning at 6:00 with The Inside Pitch presented by Sykes Lakeland.

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