ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Beyond ace lefty Blake Snell, the small-market Tampa Bay Rays are light on household names.
On the postseason stage, the American League’s No. 1 seed showed just where all that dominance is coming from.
“Tonight was a pretty good representation of the Tampa Bay Rays — our players, how we go about winning games,” manager Kevin Cash said. “We found success being really good in tight games. Pitching, the defense, and timely hits are the reasons for it.”
With Snell taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning, shortstop Willy Adames making splashy defensive plays and Manuel Margot delivering a two-run homer, the AL East champions opened the playoffs Tuesday with a 3-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Rays will try to advance in the best-of-three wild-card matchup Game 2 at Tropicana Field, where seats will be empty with the exceptions family and friends from both teams.
“I think the biggest thing is not to press, not to really panic. That’s probably the worst thing we can do as a team,” Blue Jays third baseman Cavan Biggio said.
“It’s a bigger stage right now and not a lot of our guys have really played in the playoffs before,” the son of Hall of Famer Craig Biggio added, “but I think we learned from this one today.”
Snell allowed just two baserunners until Alejandro Kirk singled leading off the sixth. The 27-year-old lefty retired the next two batters, but Cash didn't give him a chance to finish the inning.