EditorsNote: Adds dropped word “into” in last paragraph.
Blake Snell pitched seven innings of one-hit ball and struck out nine en route to his major league leading 19th victory as the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the visiting Cleveland Indians, 3-1, on Wednesday afternoon.
Snell (19-5) held the Indians to just two walks over the first six innings before Jose Ramirez led off the seventh with his 38th homer of the year, a towering 391-foot shot to left field. It ended a 23-game home run drought for Ramirez, dating back to an Aug. 17 game against Baltimore.
Snell, who lowered his ERA to 2.03, departed after the seventh inning. He threw 104 pitches, 61 of which were strikes, in winning his seventh consecutive start. Jose Alvarado struck out two during a perfect ninth inning to pick up his eighth save.
Ji-Man Choi homered and had two hits and Tommy Pham singled, walked and scored a run while extending his hitting streak to 16 games, the longest active hitting streak in the majors, as Tampa Bay won for the 18th time in its last 22 games. Kevin Kiermaier and Brandon Lowe each added triples for the Rays, who won for the 13th time in their last 14 home games.
Carlos Carrasco (16-9) took the loss, allowing three runs on six hits over seven innings. He walked two and struck out five as Cleveland’s magic number to clinch the AL Central title remained at three.
Choi, who won the series opener on Monday night with a two-out, two-run walkoff homer in the bottom of the ninth inning off Brad Hand, gave the Rays a 2-0 lead in the first inning when he clobbered his ninth home run of the season to dead center, driving in Pham, who had singled.
Tampa Bay made it 3-0 in the fourth when Lowe led off with a triple down the right field line and scored on a sacrifice fly by Kiermaier.
Ramirez then ended the no-hit drama in the seventh, smacking a 3-2 curveball deep into the left field bleachers to make it 3-1. It was the 99th RBI of the season for Ramirez.
—Field Level Media