Snell outpitched 340-game winner Roger Clemens to lead Pittsburgh in a 7-0 victory over Houston on Monday. The 23-year-old right-hander gave up three singles over eight innings, striking out five.
“I’m going to cherish this for a long time,” said Snell, who had gone 0-3 with a 12.38 ERA in four career starts, including three this year. “He’s a pitcher I grew up idolizing and wanted to be like.”
Snell needed 17 major league appearances before showing his potential as one of the Pirates’ top prospects. He had gone 11-3 with a 3.70 ERA in 18 starts at Triple-A Indianapolis and 58-19 overall in the minors. He didn’t look intimidated going against a pitcher some call the best in major league history.
“I faced Chris Carpenter in my last start, and he’s probably going to win the Cy Young Award, so it didn’t faze me at all,” Snell said.
In his lone career appearance against Los Angeles, Snell was roughed up for six runs in two innings of a 6-4 loss on Aug. 7. In his only other start this season, he gave up five runs and 10 hits in five innings of a 9-3 defeat to Houston on July 19.
Rookie Brad Eldred hit a three-run homer as the Pirates evened the series with the Dodgers 8-3 on Saturday. Rookie Ryan Doumit had a career-high four hits for the Pirates, who snapped a four-game skid.
The loss was the seventh in eight games for the defending NL West champions and mathematically eliminated the Dodgers from postseason contention. They trail the first-place Padres by nine games with eight remaining.
Derek Lowe, who will take the ball for the Dodgers, looks to bounce back after matching his shortest outing of the season in a 4-1 loss to Arizona on Tuesday. The right-hander gave up three runs in the first inning, throwing 50 pitches in the frame, and was forced to leave after three. He had been 3-0 in his previous four starts, allowing two runs in a combined 31 2-3 innings.
“It’s tough for a whole team when a starting pitcher throws that many pitches,” he said. “It kind of takes the air out of your balloon. It kind of takes the whole momentum and puts it on their side, even though it’s only 3-0.”