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Rays Pitcher Blake Snell Strikes Out 7 to Start Game vs Mariners, Ties AL Record

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 4, 2018

SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 3: Starter Blake Snell #4 of the Tampa Bay Rays delivers a pitch during the second inning of a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on June 3, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. The Mariners won 2-1. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell struck out seven Seattle Mariners batters to start Sunday's game, which tied an American League record, according to ESPN.com.

Snell finished one strikeout short of tying the modern-day MLB record, a mark first hit by Jim Deshaies for the Houston Astros in 1986 and then matched by New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom in 2014.

Snell exited after six scoreless innings. He struck out 12 batters in total. MLB.com's Greg Johns noted why Sunday's dominant performance will have felt more special for the 25-year-old left-hander:

Greg Johns @GregJohnsMLB

Blake Snell seems to be enjoying his first start in his hometown. Has struck out first six Mariners he's faced. How big a Mariners fan was he growing up? He's got a labrador retriever named "Junior."

"It was good to throw in the hometown," Snell said after the game, per MLB.com's Erik Erickson. "It was cool. I was just happy to see all the support I got here. Just cool that most people came out to support. It's cool but it's tough when we lose."

Tampa Bay squandered Snell's historic start. He left while the Rays were holding on to a one-run lead. Run-scoring singles by Denard Span and Dee Gordon gave the Mariners a 2-1 advantage in the bottom of the eighth, and Seattle closer Edwin Diaz set down the Rays in order in the ninth to end the game.