No need to have Sergio Romo open for Blake Snell. The Rays’ lefty struck out the first seven batters he faced in Sunday’s start against the Mariners, retiring Dee Gordon, Jean Segura, Mitch Haniger, Nelson Cruz, Kyle Seager, Ryon Healy, and Guillermo Heredia on strikes. Denard Span broke the streak, grounding out to second base for the second out of the third inning.
Seven straight strikeouts to open a game ties an American League record also held by Joe Cowley (White Sox, 1986) and Carlos Rodon (White Sox, 2016).
The modern record is held by Jim Deshaies (Astros, 1986) and Jacob deGrom (Mets, 2014), who each struck out eight consecutive batters to open a game.
Despite Snell’s effort, the Rays still lost 2-1. Snell tossed six scoreless innings, giving up just two hits with no walks and 12 strikeouts, lowering his ERA to 2.36 in the process.