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Snell, Rays Repay Cubs To Salvage Split

ST. PETERSBURG (620 WDAE) -- Blake Snell threw seven shutout innings, and Steven Souza Jr. became the second Rays player this season to reach the 30 home run plateau as the Tampa Bay Rays salvaged both their two-game series and the season series with the Chicago Cubs 8-1 Wednesday at Tropicana Field.

Tampa Bay wasted little time getting to Cubs starter John Lester, as Souza took a 3-2 offering and blasted it into the seats for his 30th home run of the season.

The Rays continued to batter Lester in the second, with Wilson Ramos singling to start the inning.  Adeiny Hechaverria erased Ramos on a fielder's choice grounder, but the shortstop then stole second and following a walk to Cesar Puello, scored on a base hit by Brad Miller to make it 2-0.  Peter Bourjos then executed the first and third bunt play, used by the Rays often when Joe Maddon was managing, to extend the lead to 3-0, and a RBI single by Kevin Kiermaier made it a 4-0 contest.

Ramos chased Lester in the fifth with a two-run single after the pitcher loaded the bases with one out.  Justin Grimm relieved Lester, but his first pitch was missed by Willson Contreras for a passed ball and a 7-0 advantage.

Snell (4-6) allowed just a pair of hits and three walks while striking out five.

Ryne Stanek allowed Chicago to break the shutout with a double by Mike Freeman, followed by a base hit by John Jay, but Evan Longoria got the run back in the bottom of the inning with an RBI single to set the score.

The win improves Tampa Bay's record to four games under .500 at 74-78.

The Rays begin their final road of the season with the first of four games at Camden Yards against the Baltimore Orioles.  Matt Andriese (5-3, 4.44 ERA) will start Thursday's opener against Gabriel Ynoa (1-2, 4.18 ERA).  First pitch is scheduled for 7:05, with coverage on WDAE starting at 6:00 with The Inside Pitch presented by Sykes Lakeland.

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