Snell (19-5, 2.03), a dark-horse candidate in the American League Cy Young race, bolstered his case for the award by striking out nine Cleveland batters in dominating fashion. With the victory, he becomes the first 19-game winner in the big leagues this season.
"He's got the whole package," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Snell. "He's got velocity, breaking ball, changeup. Just seeing how he's improved from one year to the next, that's pretty special stuff."
Ramirez led off the seventh by driving a Snell curveball 391 feet to the seats in left for his 38th home run. It was the first longball for Ramirez since Aug. 17 against Baltimore.
Francona said it was good to see Ramirez shake off his recent struggles.
"You know it's there and you know he's going to get hot," Francona said. "Especially off a guy like that, that'll do (Ramirez) some good."
Tommy Pham reached base on a two-out single in the first inning and scored on a two-run homer by Ji-Man Choi to put the Rays ahead 2-0. That appeared to be all Snell would need as he retired eight of the first nine Indians he faced and 14 of the first 16.
Brandon Lowe led off the fourth inning with a triple against Cleveland's Carlos Carrasco (16-9, 3.43) and scored on a sacrifice fly by Kevin Kiermaier for a 3-0 Tampa advantage.
Carrasco fanned five and walked two, scattering six Tampa hits in seven innings of work. He is winless in his last three outings, including two losses to the Rays and a tough-luck no-decision against Toronto.
Andrew Miller pitched the eighth inning in relief of Carrasco and registered his second consecutive strong outing since returning from the disabled list Monday. Miller threw 12 pitches (10 strikes) and allowed one hit while striking out two.
"He commanded all of his pitches," Francona said. "His breaking ball is almost devastating. And he's throwing his fastball through the glove, certainly better than he did before."
The Indians return home with a chance to clinch the American League Central division at Progressive Field in a three-game series vs. the Detroit Tigers.
Cleveland’s magic number is three prior to Minnesota’s 8:10 p.m. game vs. the Yankees on Wednesday. With Corey Kluber being pushed back to get on a postseason schedule, the Indians will start RHP Josh Tomlin (1-5, 6.63) vs. LHP Matthew Boyd (9-12, 4.11) at 7:10 p.m. Friday.
Sportstime Ohio, and WTAM 1100 and WMMS 100.7 FM will carry the game.
In a 3:10 p.m. game on Saturday, RHP Mike Clevinger (11-8, 3.16) starts for the Indians vs. RHP Michael Fulmer (3-11, 4.56). In Sunday’s 1:10 p.m. series finale, it will be RHP Shane Bieber (10-3, 4.32) vs. LHP Francisco Liriano (4-10, 4.65).