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Rays rookie Snell shows dominant stuff, composure vs. Yankees

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) after being relieved in the sixth inning of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 31, 2016.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) after being relieved in the sixth inning of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 31, 2016.

ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Blake Snell became the first member of the rotation to not complete at least six innings in the past 11 games, but he did enough during his time on the mound to help the Rays to a 5-3 victory against the Yankees on Sunday.

"The young man's got really good stuff," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I've seen him twice, and my opinion is still the same."

Snell, facing a team for the second time for the first time during his young big-league career, allowed five hits and matched his career high with nine strikeouts in 51/3 innings. He allowed two runs on DH Carlos Beltran's homer in the sixth.

Snell once again baffled the Yankees with his slow curveball. He used his changeup to get back into pitcher's counts.

"The whole game I felt good," Snell said.

What impressed Rays manager Kevin Cash the most was Snell's ability to escape jams in the third and fourth innings with inning-ending double plays.

"No panic," Cash said. "He's not trying to get a strikeout on two pitches. He lets the defense work behind him. The way our defense has played here as of late, the pitchers are showing some confidence. 'I'm gonna let these guys put this in play and turn a couple of double plays.' "

Snell did not finish the sixth inning, so the Rays' run of quality starts ended at 10. That was okay with Cash.

"Go out there and give us a chance to win, and that's what they're doing right now," he said.

REMOVE THE ASTERISK: SS Brad Miller hit his 17th home run of the season, a 429-foot blast that landed on the netting above the touch tank.

Miller thought the ball might strike a catwalk. That happened Saturday to RF Steven Souza Jr., whose blast hit the B ring and was caught by Yankees SS Didi Gregorius for an out.

"It landed where it needed to land," Miller said.

It was Miller's 16th homer as a shortstop, which is one more than Julio Lugo (2004) and Asdrubal Cabrera (2015) hit while starting games at that position. Miller's 16th homer overall came Saturday when he served as the DH.

'BOXY' RETURNS: RHP Brad Boxberger made his first appearance since being activated Friday from the disabled lost. It was only his second appearance of the season. He strained his oblique during his first.

Boxberger allowed two hits and struck out two during his one inning.

"He looked really good," Cash said.

INJURY UPDATES: LF Desmond Jennings (left hamstring strain) could be activated today. … RHP Chase Whitley (Tommy John surgery) will remain with Double-A Montgomery and is scheduled to throw a bullpen Tuesday. … RHP Alex Cobb (Tommy John) is scheduled to throw a bullpen today.

MILITARY MONDAY RETURNS: Tonight marks the return of Military Monday. All active-duty military, retired and honorably discharged veterans receive two free tickets to Monday home games for the rest of the season. The promotion includes spouses, children and widows of military personnel.

NOTEWORTHY: RHP Alex Colome (25 saves) recorded a save in four straight games for the third time this season. … C Luke Maile is 4-for-8 with runners in scoring position. … 2B Tim Beckham's hitting streak ended at six games. … Utilityman Nick Franklin made his second start of the season at 1B. … The Rays were 9-16 in July for the second straight year.

Rays rookie Snell shows dominant stuff, composure vs. Yankees 07/31/16 [Last modified: Sunday, July 31, 2016 10:20pm]
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