Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco (5) celebrates with right fielder Manuel Margot (13) after the team defeated the Boston Red Sox during a baseball game Wednesday, April 12, 2023, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Rays chase history after beating Red Sox, 9-7

The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Boston Red Sox 9-7 on Wednesday night to win their 12th straight game to start the season. The Rays are one game short of one of the best major league starts since 1900. Both the 1982 Atlanta Braves and the 1987 Milwaukee Brewers had 13-0 starts. The 12-game winning streak by Tampa Bay is equal to the mark achieved by the squad in June 2004.

Wednesday’s game was also the Rays’ 12th consecutive win over Boston at Tropicana Field, a period of domination dating back to last year.

Atlanta Braves 1982 13 89-73 Lost NLCS
Milwaukee Brewers 1987 13 91-71 Missed postseason
Oakland Athletics 1981 11 64-45* Lost ALCS
Tampa Bay Rays 2023 12 (and counting) TBD TBD
Brooklyn Dodgers 1955 10 98-55-1 Won World Series
Pittsburgh Pirates 1962 10 93-68 Missed postseason
Cleveland Indians 1966 10 81-81 Missed postseason

(Table courtesy of CBS Sports)

Nine in Three

  • The Rays got off to a flying start off Randy Arozarena‘s WBC-hot bat. Arozarena made it 3-0 with an opposite-field homer off Chris Sale (1-1) in the first. Tampa Bay leads the majors with 30 home runs, joining the 2019 Seattle Mariners (32) and the 2000 St. Louis Cardinals (31) as the only teams to hit at least 30 homers in their first 12 games of a campaign. Shortstop Wander Franco was 3-for-5 with two runs batted in and two runs scored, upping his batting average to .340. Franco has four home runs.

  • Rafael Devers, who had been hitless in 10 at-bats with six strikeouts in the series, pulled Boston to 8-7 on a three-run homer off Colin Poche in the seventh.

  • Arozarena’s sacrifice fly made it 9-7 in the eighth.

Rays’ Keys to Success

With their most expensive free-agent signing in club history, starter Zach Eflin, sidelined with a back injury, the club unveiled top prospect Taj Bradley to keep their unbeaten start to the 2023 season alive. And after Bradley and a potent lineup staked them to a five-run lead, Tampa Bay never looked back.

Bradley allowed three runs on five hits in five innings of work with eight strikeouts and one walk.

The Rays lead the majors in runs scored, total bases (230), and on-base plus slugging percentage (.945). Despite the absence of Tyler Glasnow the Rays pitchers have the lowest batting average against (.194) and the lowest earned run average (2.17) in MLB, tied with the Minnesota Twins.

Tampa Bay Looks Ahead

As for Tampa Bay’s road ahead, they have one more game against the Red Sox at home, and then their biggest test of the season comes with a three-game road series against the Blue Jays that starts on Friday. Potentially that series opener against the Jays will occasion the Rays’ attempt to break the record shared by the ’82 Braves and ’87 Brewers.

About Rafael De Los Santos

Junior studying Journalism - Sports & Media at the University of Florida

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