CLEVELAND — Top Rays prospect Blake Snell did a better job Tuesday in his third big-league start.
He just didn't get much help from his friends in a 6-0 loss to the Indians.
The Rays managed just one hit through the first eight innings against dazzling Corey Kluber and three total, while making two errors that factored into the first three Cleveland runs. RHP Steve Geltz allowed a pair of homers — his eighth and ninth of the season — for the other three.
"I was really happy with the way Blake threw the ball," manager Kevin Cash said. "Fastball command eluded him a little bit, but I thought he did a real nice job. He doesn't waver. When we had a couple of defensive plays out there that were difficult, didn't get made, he doesn't change his approach."
Snell, 23, wasn't overly sharp, throwing only 57 of 104 pitches for strikes, just 13 of 29 first pitches. But using his fastball and what he called his best changeup, the lefty found ways to limit the damage while working a season-high, minors or majors, 62/3 innings.
"I wanted to be more aggressive, but I was definitely happy that I was around the zone a lot more than my previous starts, so definitely a positive there," Snell said. "I'm just going to get better from it. I feel like I was around (the zone) more, next outing I'll be in it more. It'll be a lot better."
GOING, GOING, GELTZ: Cash said he felt for Geltz, who, just recalled Friday, has now allowed nine homers in 182/3 innings. "He's had kind of a bad string of luck to go on top of probably not making the best pitches," Cash said.
GAME STUFF: The Indians got two in the third thanks to a costly error. With a man on and two outs, a Jason Kipnis single took an unusually high hop — Cash guessed it hit a sprinkler head — and went by CF Desmond Jennings, and by the time he chased it down, Kipnis had raced home. … An error by SS Brad Miller preceded Lonnie Chisenhall's RBI single in the sixth. … 3B Evan Longoria made a dazzling play in the fifth. … An Indians run was taken away on a replay appeal of a Taylor Motter throw to the plate in the fourth. … Snell praised C Hank Conger for his game management.
MEDICAL MATTERS: INF Steve Pearce hoped a few days rest would be enough to for his right hamstring issue, but just the way he walked into the clubhouse Tuesday made it obvious the injury more severe.
He ended up on the DL and headed home today for an MRI exam and potentially a cortisone injection by Dr. Koco Eaton, hoping to be out two weeks but looking more likely at at least three.
"It's definitely frustrating," Pearce said. "But it's baseball, it happens. I'm going to take this time to get it right and come back ready to go."
The Rays did get somewhat good news on OF Mikie Mahtook, whose left hand was fractured by a Josh Tomlin pitch Monday. An exam in St. Petersburg by specialist Dr. Doug Carlan showed it was not displaced and won't require surgery, meaning he could be back in as soon as six weeks.
STARRY-EYED: Though Longoria, hitting .277 with 18 HRs and 43 RBIs, hasn't made it to even the top five in the fan voting, Cash said there is no doubt he is All-Star worthy: "It's very unfortunate. He's an All-Star as far as we're concerned, and I don't even think I need to pull up other third basemen's numbers in this league. I know what his are, and they're awesome."
PITCHING IN: RHP Matt Andriese will start one game in Saturday's doubleheader, RHP Jake Odorizzi the other. With Cash saying RHP Erasmo Ramirez will be used less frequently, the Rays used Pearce's roster spot to recall RHP Ryan Garton, who was sent down Friday, to add an extra arm. They can add a 26th man for the DH.
MISCELLANY: INF Nick Franklin was called up from Triple A to replace Mahtook and will get some playing time as Cash wants to rest some regular infielders. … The Chamberlain High basketball team was at the game as part of its summer bonding trip.