CLEVELAND — Blake Snell moved into a tie for the major league lead with his 17th win as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Cleveland Indians 5-3 on Saturday night.
Snell (17-5) allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings, giving up both runs in the second with one being unearned thanks to a throwing error by third baseman Matt Duffy. The left-hander worked around trouble early in the game, but retired nine of the last 10 hitters he faced and struck out the side in the sixth.
Snell is tied with New York’s Luis Severino and Cleveland’s Corey Kluber — two other top candidates for the AL Cy Young Award — for the most wins in the majors. Snell is 5-0 in his last six starts.
Tampa Bay scored four times in the sixth off Shane Bieber (8-3). Matt Duffy tied the game with a two-run double. Tommy Pham’s RBI double put the Rays ahead before Kevin Kiermaier added a run-scoring single.
Brandon Lowe homered off the foul pole in right field to in the ninth.
Jason Kipnis, whose playing time will decrease after the Indians acquired third baseman Josh Donaldson from Toronto on Friday, started the ninth with a pinch-hit home run off Chaz Roe.
Roe retired the next two hitters and Adam Kolarek got pinch-hitter Yonder Alonso for his second save.
Duffy’s two-base error on Brandon Guyer’s ground ball started Cleveland’s rally in the second. Melky Cabrera and Yan Gomes drove in runs with back-to-back doubles. Snell retired the next two hitters before Michael Brantley singled to center. Gomes was waved home, but was an easy out at the plate on Kiermaier’s throw.
Cleveland’s lead quickly disappeared in the sixth. Brandon Lowe singled and took third on Joey Wendle’s double. Duffy’s double down the right field line tied the game. Pham’s one-out double to left-center gave Tampa Bay the lead and finished Bieber.
Kiermaier’s single off Tyler Olson scored Pham with the run being charged to Bieber. The rookie right-hander allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings.
Donaldson arrived at the ballpark shortly before game-time after having flight issues Saturday that delayed him getting into town. The 2015 AL MVP was given a loud ovation and waved to the crowd when he was shown from the dugout on the scoreboard in the seventh inning.
Donaldson has been sidelined for three months by a strained calf and it’s not clear when he’ll make his Indians debut. Donaldson will play third base with All-Star Jose Ramirez moving to second.