Rays unable to finish off sweep in Blake Snell’s return, close out homestand with loss to Royals
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Blake Snell was frustrated with his performance, but at least his toe came through OK.
“It’s fine,” Snell said of his toe. “Happy to get back out there. It was a game where I felt just different. I felt good but it was weird. I spiked some fastballs and I never do that.”
The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, who hurt the toe attempting to move a decorative display in his bathroom on April 14, allowed three runs, five hits and two walks and struck out three during a 65-pitch outing.
“Probably the only good thing to come out of this game was that Blake got to 65 pitches, so he should be pretty close to full-go his next time,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “From a health standpoint he was a 100-percent fine.”
The left-hander (2-2) had given up one run and nine hits over 19 innings in three starts before the injury.
Adalberto Mondesi hit a three-run homer and drove in four runs, Billy Hamilton had two hits and two RBIs and Jakob Junis gave up one run and four hits in five innings for the Royals, who stopped a five-game losing streak.
Junis (2-2) bruised his right hand on Yandy Diaz‘s drive that resulted in an inning-ending double-play in the fifth.
His hand was swollen but tests showed no fracture.
“Just a little nerve in there that’s pinching,” Junis said.
Snell, signed to a $50 million, five year contract on March 21, said Tuesday that he still had some discomfort in the toe when he walks, but not when throwing off a mound.
The Rays decided that Snell was ready to return despite throwing just an 18-pitch bullpen session Saturday and eight pitches off a mound Monday.
Snell was replaced by Ryan Yarbrough with a runner on third and one out in the fourth.
“I knew they were a selective team but they were aggressive to start and then went back to selective,” Snell said. “I threw a lot of good pitches that, they just almost looked like they knew what was coming.”
Kansas City greeted Yarbrough with consecutive bunt singles, including Cam Gallagher‘s that drove in a run, and Hamilton’s RBI double that made it 4-1.
Hamilton had a run-scoring triple and Mondesi hit his third homer, off Yarbrough, to put the Royals ahead 8-1 in the sixth.
“Smallball worked good for us with guys running all over the place, plus the power,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Yarbrough, who set a team rookie record last year with 16 wins, including 14 in relief, was optioned to Triple-A Durham after allowing seven runs and eight hit over 4 1/3 innings.
Hamilton is 3 for 37 overall against the Rays.
Mondesi added an eighth-inning RBI single.
Tampa Bay went up 1-0 on Joey Wendle’s RBI double in the first before the Royals tied it during the second when third baseman Daniel Robertson was charged with an error for an errant throw on a slow roller by Hamilton.
“None of it was by design,” Yost said. “It was just a total mess-up.”
Merrifield homered leading off the third.
Royals: 3B Hunter Dozier (lower back) was out of the lineup for the second straight game but could start Friday.
Rays: RHP Hunter Wood was transferred from the paternity list to the family emergency list and may rejoin the team Friday. Cash said Wood’s baby was born premature but is fine and being monitored. … Wendle was hit by a Jake Diekman pitch in the sixth and left with a fractured right wrist. He will go on the injured list and there is no timeframe for his return.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy will make his first start of the season Friday night against the Los Angeles Angels.
Rays: RHP Charlie Morton (2-0) will start Friday night at Boston. The Rays were swept by the Red Sox in a three-game series last weekend.