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Thursday, Sep 21, 2017
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Rays journal: Blake Snell pitches well enough to earn first win of season

TORONTO — LHP Blake Snell is making the most of his second chance at a second chance.

Snell delivered a second straight strong outing after his demotion to Triple A last week was aborted with RHP Alex Cobb going on the DL. For working six mostly solid innings against the Blue Jays, he earned his first win of the season.

"Looking at all of his starts this year, you can probably make the argument that that might have been his best one," manager Kevin Cash said.

His point was that the first run Snell allowed was on an outfield misplay, the other three on a homer by Josh Donaldson, who hits a lot of them. But otherwise Cash was impressed by what Snell did and how he did it, specifically with the use of his fastball.

"I thought his stuff was really good," Cash said.

Snell insisted he wasn't that concerned about the 0 on the left side of his record, though he was the only pitcher in the majors to make as many as 15 starts without a W. On Tuesday he could have tied Jason Hammel's franchise record 17-start winless streak.

He said the hitters made it easy for him, that "pitching with a lead, a 6-1 lead, is fun." And he appreciated Cash allowing him to go back out for the sixth after giving up the three-run homer in the fifth.

Overall, Snell focused on the progress he made since rejoining the Rays in late June following his first demotion to Triple A.

"I think since I've been recalled it's been a whole different me," Snell said. "Feel a lot more confident. I just feel I know what I'm doing, I know why I'm doing it."

Something familiar

Why it took so long may be a fair question, but C Wilson Ramos said that after taking a quick look at his 2016 highlights video on Sunday, it was clear he needed to make a fairly simple adjustment to get back to the form that served him so well with the Nationals. And after lowering his hands so he could get to the ball quicker, he saw immediate results, homering in the first of several good at-bats Monday (ending a 74 at-bat power drought) then going deep again in his first at-bat Tuesday. "Finally I took a look at my video, and I'm more relaxed with my hands now," Ramos said. "I could see what I was doing wrong and now I feel very comfortable at the plate in my batting stance. That's why I wasn't hitting."

Sleeping with one eye open

When RHP Jake Faria last pitched at the Rogers Centre on June 13, he was making just his second big-league start and unsure, even after a strong winning effort, if he was sticking around or headed back to Triple-A Durham.

He takes the mound there tonight having established himself with a dozen mostly solid starts as a steady member of their rotation, but not feeling any sense of accomplishment.

"I try not to let myself get comfortable just because once you get comfortable, you stop working," Faria said. "So it's (being) more acclimated, more of knowing what I need to do. And that always changes. Things change. Teams change. So it's more acclimated and understanding the way things work a little better."

Perhaps idyllically, Faria, just 24, says he will never change, even with a big contract someday.

"I don't ever want to let myself feel like I've made it to the point where I'm untouchable because that's never going to happen," he said.

Medical matters

CF Kevin Kiermaier (hip, back) went 0-for-3 with a strikeout while playing five innings for advanced Class A Charlotte in his first rehab action in the field since July 27. He is eyeing a return to the Rays this weekend. … Cobb (turf toe) felt better playing catch at the Trop and will throw a bullpen session today, with the potential to rejoin the rotation next week. … RHP Matt Andriese (hip) will make the second of three planned rehab starts Friday with the Stone Crabs in Port Charlotte.

Miscellany

. RHP Chase Whitley welcomed his return to the majors and resuming his long relief role, having made two outings with Triple-A Durham during his two-week stay and hoping to remain. "Just want to keep doing what I was doing," he said.

. The Double-A Montgomery Biscuits have won eight straight, their longest such streak since 2015.

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