The good news: Barring a wild finish to the AL Wild Card race, the Cleveland Indians will not have to face Blake Snell and Ji-Man Choi again this season.
The bad news: The Tampa Bay Rays’ starting pitcher and designated hitter, respectively, were able to deliver one last punch to the Tribe, prevailing 3-1 in the series finale.
Snell, in particular, sought to humiliate the Tribe, pitching six no-hit innings before Jose Ramirez broke up the no-hitter and the shutout with a solo home run to left field. The Rays ace, who you might remember was only named to the All-Star Game earlier this season as an alternate, looked every bit the AL Cy Young candidate that he is this season.
The Rays have now won his last eight consecutive starts, including one against the Tribe earlier this month. In that game, Snell struck out nine, walked one, and allowed two runs to score over 6.2 innings pitched. His start this afternoon was almost identical, as he struck out nine, walked two, and allowed one run over seven innings of work.
It was Choi who put the Rays on top with a two-run homer in the first inning, less than 48 hours after delivering a walkoff two-run homer to stun the Indians on Monday.
Choi’s home run was one of a few blemishes in an otherwise solid outing from Tribe starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco. Cookie allowed six hits and three earned runs over seven innings of work, walking two and striking out five. Unfortunately, the Indians’ run support was MIA.
Not that Snell needed the help, but manager Terry Francona saw fit to trot out a lineup that included Brandon Guyer, Rajai Davis, Roberto Perez, and Erik Gonzalez. So I can’t say I’m all that surprised that Snell flirted with a no-hitter. The Indians have yet to officially clinch the division, but Tito doesn’t seem to want to wait for that formality before resting his starters.
Josh Donaldson pinch-hit for Gonzalez in the eighth and grounded into a double play, so the wait for his first hit as a member of the Indians continues.