ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Blake Snell struck out 12 over six innings for just his second win in 10 starts and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Texas Rangers 6-2 on Sunday.
Snell (5-7) gave up three hits during an 80-pitch outing. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner had an 11.94 ERA (17 1/3 innings, 23 earned runs) in five previous starts this month.
Tommy Pham homered for the Rays, who won consecutive games for the first time since June 9-10. The first AL wild card leaders went 13-16 in June.
Four Tampa Bay relievers completed a four-hitter.
Texas got a two-run homer from Joey Gallo.
After Kevin Kiermaier had an RBI single and Willy Adames added a run-scoring single off Jesse Chavez (3-3) the fourth, Pham’s fifth-inning solo shot made it 4-2.
Chavez allowed four runs and five hits in six innings.
Kiermaier had an RBI triple in a two-run eighth.
Gallo’s two-run homer in the fourth off Snell got stuck on the “D-Ring” catwalk, which is approximately 70-feet above the right-field seats.
The only other ball remaining on that catwalk was hit by Boston’s David Ortiz on Sept. 17, 2008.
Gallo had the only Texas hit through three innings, a leadoff bunt single in the second against a shift that had four outfielders and three infielders on the first-base side of second.
He was thrown out on another bunt attempt in the seventh with a runner on first and no outs, and Texas trailing 4-2.
Rays manager Kevin Cash was ejected by plate umpire Bruce Dreckman in the second for arguing after Avisail Garcia took a called third strike.
Rays two-way player Brendan McKay could hit before the All-Star break. “If there’s an opportunity to get him in there where we feel it’s a fit with his workload we’ll do that,” manager Kevin Cash said. McKay allowed one hit in six innings Saturday to get the win in his debut against Texas and is scheduled to pitch against the New York Yankees Friday night.
Rangers: 2B Rougned Odor, hurt Friday running the bases, was scratched due to lingering left hamstring tightness but pinch-hit in the ninth. … 3B Asdrubal Cabrera sat out with lower back tightness.
Rangers: AL ERA leader Mike Minor (8-4, 2.40) will face Los Angeles Angels LHP Jose Suarez (2-1) Monday night. Minor has gone eight-or-more innings, including a complete game Wednesday at Detroit, while allowing one run in two straight starts.
Rays: A starter for Monday night’s game against Baltimore has not been announced. Orioles RHP Dylan Bundy (3-10) looks to stop a four-game skid in which he has allowed 15 runs over 20 1/3 innings.