The Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher was brilliant in his 5.2 innings on Tuesday in Game 1 of their Wild Card Series, confounding Toronto's batters en route to a 3-1 win.
Randy Arozarena got the Rays on the board in the bottom of the fourth after hitting a triple and scampering home on a wild pitch by Robbie Ray.
Manuel Margot's two-run dinger in the seventh gave Tampa the insurance it would need.
Toronto got the game-tying run to the plate in the top of the ninth, but Peter Fairbanks closed the door, earning the save.
The Rays, who won the season series between the teams 6-4 and posted an impressive 20-9 record at home, will now have two cracks to win another game and advance to the ALDS.
Blake Snell, TB: 5.2 innings, one hit, two walks, nine strikeouts, zero runs allowed, 82 pitches.
Rays bullpen: 3.1 innings, four hits, one strikeout, one run allowed
Randy Arozarena, TB: 1-for-4, one run
Manuel Margot, TB: 2-for-3, two-run homer
Matt Shoemaker, TOR: 3.0 innings, two hits, two strikeouts, no runs allowed
Robbie Ray, TOR: 3.0 innings, one hit, one walk, five strikeouts, one walk allowed
A.J. Cole, TOR: 0.1 innings, one hit, one walk, one strikeout, two runs allowed
Bo Bichette, TOR: 0-for-3, one RBI
Snell Was En Fuego and the Bullpen Finished His Masterpiece
When you strike out nine batters in 5.2 innings, you are dealing. When you carry a no-hitter through five innings and only allow three baserunners total, you are really dealing.
Here's what made Snell's fantastic performance so important: The Rays bullpen is so good that the team is 29-1 when leading after six innings, per the TBS broadcast. If you don't generate offense early in a game against this team, the Rays become borderline impossible to beat.
The Rays followed their blueprint to success perfectly on Tuesday night thanks to Snell's fantastic performance. Toronto needs to jump on Tyler Glasnow early in Wednesday's Game 2 to have a shot.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Toronto's Offense Better Wake Up Fast
When your top six hitters—for Toronto, that's Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette, Randal Grichuk, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Teoscar Hernandez—combine to go just 3-for-19 with two walks and Bichette's eighth-inning sacrifice fly, well, it isn't much of a recipe for success.
Obviously Tampa Bay is a fantastic team with a brilliant pitching staff, particularly in the bullpen. A great pitching performance will always foil a dangerous lineup. But Toronto is going to have to adjust something in their approach on Wednesday. If their top five hitters barely muster any offense again, this best-of-five series will be over.
The teams will meet again Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET on TBS, with Glasnow expected to face Toronto's Hyun-Jin Ryu.