Rays ace Blake Snell ties AL strikeout record

The Rays may have found a new ace.

Blake Snell tied an American League record Sunday in an outing against the Mariners by striking out the first seven batters he faced. Snell matched the mark set by former White Sox pitcher Joe Cowley of the White Sox from 1986, and was matched by Carlos Rodon in 2016.

The all-time record is nine strikeouts to start a game, set by Mickey Welch for the New York Gothams in 1884.

Snell ultimately struck out 12 batters in six scoreless innings, giving him 88 punchouts already this season. With a sterling 2.36 ERA, Snell has looked like a Cy Young contender so far this year.

Having allowed two runs or fewer in all but two starts this season, Snell, 25, not teammate Chris Archer, has looked like the dominant pitcher teams may try to acquire before the July 31 trade deadline.

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