Snell struggles in 1st home start, Rays lose 6-4 to Mariners

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla, (AP) — Blake Snell expects to learn from an early exit in his first start at Tropicana Field.

Dae-Ho Lee drove in three runs, James Paxton went six effective innings and the Seattle Mariners avoided a three-game sweep by beating Snell and the Tampa Bay Rays 6-4 on Thursday.

A 23-year-old Seattle native, Snell was recalled from Triple-A Durham before the game. Snell (0-1) allowed five runs — one earned — and eight hits over 3 1/3 innings in his second big league start.

“I want to be aggressive in the strike zone, and I felt like I wasn’t,” Snell said. “I was trying to be too pretty. Something I can definitely learn from and get better.”

Rays manager Kevin Cash said Snell will make another start next week in Cleveland.

“Good stuff, fairly erratic I think is fair to say,” Cash said of Snell’s 92-pitch outing. “They had a pretty good approach against him because from the side it looked like he was featuring some pretty nasty weapons. They were either laying off of it or not trying to do too much.”

Seattle wasted a four-run lead in Tuesday’s 8-7 loss to the Rays. The Mariners took a two-run advantage Wednesday before dropping a 3-2, 13-inning decision.

“We found some ways to win this series, obviously we didn’t today,” Cash said. “If we keep winning series, we’re going to be just fine.”

Lee had an RBI single in a three-run first and drove in two with a double during the fourth.

Paxton (1-2) gave up three runs and seven hits. Steve Cishek, the third Seattle reliever, pitched the ninth for his 15th save in 19 chances.

After Lee singled with two outs in the first, another run scored when Rays shortstop Tim Beckham misplayed Kyle Seager’s grounder. A single by Chris Iannetta made it 3-0.

Ryan Garton, who replaced Snell with the bases loaded in the fourth, struck out Nelson Cruz for the second out. Lee followed with a two-run double that put Seattle up 5-2.

Seager hit a solo homer with two outs in the ninth.

Brad Miller cut the Rays’ deficit to 5-4 on a two-out, bases-loaded single in the eighth off Joaquin Benoit, who then struck out Steve Pearce on a 3-2 pitch.

“Every game was tough to get through it, but we’re lucky to get out of here with a win today,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “There were no easy innings today.”

Pearce had three hits and is hitting. 514 (18 for his 35) this month.

Seattle had 17 baserunners though five innings but hit into three double plays over the stretch.

Pearce had an RBI single during a two-run third. Curt Casali drove in a run on a fourth-inning grounder.

Tampa Bay went 3 for 15 with runners in scoring position.

“The big hit kind of eluded us,” Cash said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rays: 3B Evan Longoria (left forearm soreness) didn’t play. . RHP Alex Cobb (Tommy John surgery) will throw 15 fastballs Saturday in his first batting practice session. . RHP Ryan Webb (right pectoral strain) might return next week. . OF Brandon Guyer (strained left hamstring) will start running this weekend.

ROSTER TIME

RF Steven Souza Jr., hurt diving for a ball Tuesday, was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hip. Snell took his roster spot. . Garton was optioned to Triple-A Durham after the game. A corresponding move will be announced Friday.

UP NEXT

Rays RHP Chris Archer (4-7) will face San Francisco RHP Jeff Samardzija (7-4) before a crowd that may be around 40,000 at Tropicana Field Friday night on Pride Night, which has been dedicated to the victims of Sunday’s mass shooting in Orlando. The Rays put all open seats on sale Tuesday for $5 with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting the Pulse Victims Fund. Seats normally covered in the upper deck will be used.

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