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Rays lose, but are pleased with the debut of pitcher Blake Snell

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Try not to think about the way it ended. For the Tampa Bay Rays, it was all about the start.

Rookie Blake Snell, in his major league debut, was good enough to make you think about the future Saturday afternoon. Snell threw five innings of two-hit baseball against the New York Yankees, leaving with a 2-1 lead. He struck out six and walked only one, even though he was charged with two wild pitches.

The Rays, however, could not hold the lead. The Yankees won on a walk a home run by Brett Gardner with two out in the ninth.

“I feel good about it,” Snell said.

“When I went out there. I was around, trying to see everything. I felt jittery, anxious to get it going. I kind of enjoyed it.”

The Rays, however, had only six hits, half of them off the bat of Corey Dickerson. Kevin Kiermaier had a home run.

For the Yankees, Gardner had three hits, including also knocking in the game-tying run. It was the second straight game the Yankees beat the Rays with a late push.

The teams play the series finale today. Drew Smyly of the Rays pitches against Michael Pineda.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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