By DICK SCANLON Associated Press
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays just keep adding to their perfect start, one sweet swing at a time.
The Rays ran their season-opening win streak to 11 games, using another homer from Brandon Lowe and a strong performance by Shane McClanahan to beat the Boston Red Sox 7-2 on Tuesday night.
Yandy Díaz and Lowe hit back-to-back solo shots with two out in the fifth inning. Lowe extended his homer streak to four straight games.
Isaac Paredes and Josh Lowe also connected for the Rays, and McClanahan (3-0) struck out nine while pitching five-plus innings of one-run ball.
The four homers brought Tampa Bay’s total to 29, matching the major league record through 11 games set by the 2000 St. Louis Cardinals. It was the Rays’ third four-homer game of the young season.
Tampa Bay’s win streak is one game short of the franchise record set in 2004, and the Rays became one of only four teams since 1901 to win the first 11 games of a season.
“The history of it is not lost on us,” Brandon Lowe said. “We understand what’s happening, but we’re not putting any added pressure on anything. We’re not staring at our schedule or staring at our record right now. … And it’s not one guy doing it. It’s nice knowing that it’s one through nine, and if you don’t get the job done, the next guy will.”
McClanahan surrendered two hits, but he walked four. The left-hander has 21 strikeouts in 17 innings so far this season.
Rafael Devers opened the Boston sixth with a leadoff walk. He advanced to third on Justin Turner’s single before McClanahan was replaced by Garrett Cleavinger.
Devers then scored when Masataka Yoshida bounced into a double play. It was the first run allowed by the Rays since Friday, a franchise-record streak of 32 scoreless innings.
“On the pitching side of it, they have something figured out,” said Alex Verdugo, who had one of Boston’s six hits. “A lot of their guys are a little bit different. They all have something that’s just really good for them and makes them unique. But right now we’re just pressing.”
Paredes’ third homer of the season made it 3-0 in the fourth. Josh Lowe led off the seventh with a drive to right-center against Kaleb Ort for his second homer.
“We’re making in-game adjustments off pitchers. That’s not easy to do,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Whatever they’re learning in that first at-bat, they’re putting to use in their second and third at-bats. And as far as the pitching goes, the overall execution has been pretty remarkable.”
Garrett Whitlock (0-1) permitted five runs and eight hits in five innings in his season debut for Boston.
Reese McGuire hit an RBI single in the ninth for the Red Sox.
Rays: RHP Zach Eflin was placed on the 15-day injured list with lower back tightness. … Díaz, who had three hits and scored three runs, left in the eighth with an apparent shoulder injury, but Cash said he will be in the lineup Wednesday. … INF Taylor Walls, who has missed two games with left elbow tendinitis, expects to return Wednesday.
Whitlock, who had hip surgery in September, said it was good to be part of the team again. But he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“(The Rays) are capitalizing on mistakes, and it’s our bad for making them,” he said. “But you just try and build on it and go forward.”
Taj Bradley, called up from Triple-A Durham to replace Eflin on the roster, will make his major league debut Wednesday night against Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale (1-0, 11.25 ERA).
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports