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Blake Snell ties AL record by opening Sunday’s start vs. Mariners with seven consecutive strikeouts


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.

Brewers have 3 positive COVID tests at alternate site

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MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.

Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.

The entire camp was placed in quarantine.

“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”

Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.

The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.

“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”