The Tampa Bay Rays became only the third team in modern baseball history to start the season with 13 straight wins after routing the Boston Red Sox 9-3.Yandy Diaz and Brandon Lowe belted solo homers while Tampa Bay’s batting line-up piled on seven runs in a fifth inning rally as the Rays remarkable start to the season saw them roll into the record books at Tropicana Field.
The Rays 13-0 start to the campaign ties the best winning streak to start a season, achieved by the Atlanta Braves in 1982 and Milwaukee Brewers in 1987.
The only other longer opening streak in baseball was by the St. Louis Maroons who went 20-0 in 1884 when playing in the defunct Union Association league.
Baseball’s all-time record winning streak, at any stage of the season, stands at 26 games set by the New York Giants in 1916.
“Pretty amazing, congrats to all of our guys,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said after Thursday’s history-making victory.
“I’m glad that we did it at home because we had tremendous support from our fans. They really got loud when they needed to and our guys were energised by that.
“There’s not one part of our game right now that we don’t feel good about.”
The only shadow on the Rays record-equalling performance was an injury to pitcher Jeffrey Springs, who left the game in the middle of the fourth inning. The team later said Springs was suffering from “ulnar neuritis”.
Springs is the third member of Tampa Bay’s rotation to go down with an injury following Tyler Glasnow in spring training and Zach Elfin earlier this week.
On Thursday however it was the Rays free-scoring batting line-up that came to the team’s rescue.
Rob Refsnyder put the Red Sox 1-0 up in the first inning with a home run to left field before Diaz leveled in the bottom of the first with his own homer.
The Red Sox then tagged on two more runs in the fourth and fifth inning to lead 3-1.
But any chance of a Boston upset was snuffed out in the bottom of the fifth as Tampa Bay’s bats broke the game open with seven runs to open up an 8-3 lead.
Francisco Mejia, Randy Arozarena, Manuel Margot and Lowe all drove in run-scoring singles before Harold Ramirez cleared the bases with a three-run double.
Lowe bagged a solo home run in the seventh inning to extend the lead.