ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Shane McClanahan said he had never thrown eight innings. Not in the minors and not even during his sparkling career with USF.
On Thursday afternoon at Tropicana Field, the 25-year-old lefthander flummoxed the Cardinals for eight innings of a 2-1 win that gave the Rays a sweep of their three-game series.
With McClanahan and St. Louis’ Miles Mikolas (eight-inning complete game) locked in, the game took all of 1:54, tied for the second shortest nine-inning game in team history. The Rays’ record is 1:53 against Kansas City in 2011.
Ji-Man Choi’s two-run homer in the fourth inning would be enough on a day the Rays had only three hits.
McClanahan allowed only two hits, one unearned run, walked only one and struck out nine in picking up the win. He threw 94 pitches and improved to 7-2 with a 1.87 ERA.
“I thought I did a good job of kind of maintaining it and, honestly, maybe even improving a little bit toward the end,” he said of his pitches, including a four-seam fastball that was still registering 98-99 miles per hour in the eighth. “I think I am in a good spot moving forward.”
As far as going eight innings?
“I felt good,” he said. “It didn’t feel like eight, and it is a nice step in the right direction.
As for going for the complete game, manager Kevin Cash said he and pitching coach Kyle Snyder thought about sending McClanahan out for the ninth. However, eight was enough.
“I think that was the first time he was out there in the eighth inning in his career,” said Cash. “He already kind of checked the box with the seventh. I appreciate that he wanted to go back out there. Fully understand why. I’m glad it worked out and we got a win out of it.”
McClanahan went seven innings four times previously, most recently May 17 against Detroit.
Jason Adam pitched the ninth for his second save.