ST. PETERSBURG — Lefty Blake Snell led the way as the Rays put a good finish on a disappointing season, working seven dominant innings in the 6-0 win over the Orioles on Sunday.
Though missing the playoffs and finishing with a losing record for the fourth straight season, the Rays did win their last four to finish 80-82.
Snell sizzled from the start, retiring the first 12 Orioles before allowing a hit. He gave up only one other hit over the seven innings while striking out 13, two shy of the Rays team record shared by James Shields and Chris Archer.
Catcher Curt Casali, who spent the full minor-league season at Triple A, put the Rays ahead with a homer leading off the fifth.
The Rays added five in a messy eighth, getting an RBI double by Evan Longoria, a run-scoring single by Logan Morrison, back-to-back bases-loaded walks by Trevor Plouffe and Casali then a sac fly by Mallex Smith.
For Snell, it was a good rebound from his rough Tuesday in New York, when he didn't get out of the second inning, allowing all six batters he faced in the second to reach, and walked two with the bases loaded.
And it allowed him to put a good finish on a season that started badly as he was twice demoted to the minors. He was sent down after going 0-4, 4.71 in his first eight starts. Returning after a six-week exile to Triple A, he wasn't any better, going 0-2, 5.34 over his next six starts. He was slated to be sent down again but got a reprieve when veteran Alex Cobb was put on the DL.
Snell took full advantage of his second chance at a second chance, going 5-1, 2.84 over his final 10 starts, an encouraging sign for next season.
Brad Boxberger worked the eighth and Chaz Roe, who has a chance to win a 2018 job, the ninth.
Sunday's game was played fairly crisply, as many of the Rays spent the morning — as well as the past few days — packing their stuff to make quick getaways Sunday night or Monday morning.
The 80 wins match the 2015 total as the most of the past four seasons and the best in the three seasons under manager Kevin Cash.
The Rays will hold their season wrapup media session Monday with Cash and senior vice presidents Chaim Bloom and Erik Neander.
Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]. Follow @TBTimes_Rays.