Editors Note: revises eighth graf to reflect Athletics’ loss
Tampa Bay left-hander Blake Snell went where only one Rays pitcher has gone before, winning his 20th game of the season as the visiting Rays shut down the Texas Rangers 4-0 on Tuesday night.
Snell, the majors’ winningest pitcher at 20-5 and a prime candidate to win the American League’s Cy Young Award, allowed just one hit in five innings as he won his eighth straight start. He hasn’t lost a game since July 12.
Snell, who lowered his ERA to 1.97, behind only Boston’s Chris Sale at 1.92, walked two and struck out five, giving him 200 strikeouts for the season. He threw 92 pitches before giving way to Chaz Roe to start the sixth inning.
Since the Rays began play in 1998, their only other 20-game winner was lefty David Price, who found Cy Young glory when he went 20-5 in 2012.
Tampa Bay scored three runs off Rangers starter Yovani Gallardo (8-6) in the fourth inning.
Kevin Kiermaier drew a two-out walk, and Willy Adames smacked a 91 mph fastball for a long home run to center field. The Rays then scored on back-to-back doubles by Jesus Sucre and Joey Wendle, the second of Wendle’s career-high four hits.
Gallardo went five innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and three walks. He struck out three.
The win pushed the Rays to a major-league-best 22-5 since Aug. 19 and left them 84-66 overall and a season-high 18 games over .500. They also kept up their long-shot pursuit of an AL wild-card berth, climbing within 5 1/2 games of the Oakland A’s.
Tampa Bay padded its lead in the seventh against former Rays pitcher Matt Moore on Wendle’s second double of the game and an RBI grounder by Ji-Man Choi.
Sucre also had three hits, and Matt Duffy and Tommy Pham had two apiece as the Rays finished with 15.
Roe, Jalen Beeks and Ryne Stanek worked the final four innings for the Rays, allowing three hits, no walks and two strikeouts.
The Rangers (66-87), who lost for the ninth time in their last 12 games, finished with four hits. Hanser Alberto was the only Rangers player to get into scoring position, when he doubled with one out in the eighth.
—Field Level Media