ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Rays became the first major league team since the 1987 Milwaukee Brewers to open the season with 10 straight wins, getting a solo homer from Brandon Lowe in the eighth inning to beat the Boston Red Sox 1-0 on Monday night.
The 1987 Brewers and 1982 Atlanta Braves share the major league record for the best start to a season at 13-0. The Rays are the seventh team since 1901 to begin the year with 10 or more wins.
“It’s cool to be part of it,” right fielder Luke Raley said,
Lowe homered for the third straight game, sending a 3-2, one-out pitch from Chris Martin (0-1) into the right-field stands. Lowe has nine RBIs over his last three games.
“This is the first night where it’s kind of quiet offensively,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “I kind of felt like at any given moment somebody could knock one out of the ballpark. Probably the right guy with Brandon.”
Tampa Bay has outscored its opponents 76-18.
In a matchup of the AL’s top two scoring teams, pitching and defense prevailed. This was the Rays’ first win by fewer than four runs as Tampa Bay fell one short of the 1939 New York Yankees, the most recent team to win 10 consecutive games by four or more at any point in a season.
Tampa Bay opener Jalen Beeks allowed one hit over two innings, and Josh Fleming gave up one hit over the next four. After Garrett Cleavinger worked a perfect seventh, Colin Poche (1-0) worked out of bases-loaded, two-jam in the eighth by striking out Rafael Devers.
“He made some good pitches and got Rafie out,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “They pitched well, we pitched well. There was good defense. Obviously we didn’t win the game but as far as the game, it was great.”
Pete Fairbanks completed the three-hitter and got his first save.
Red Sox starter Nick Pivetta gave up three hits in five scoreless innings. Josh Winckowski allowed one hit in two innings.
The Rays were coming off consecutive 11-0 wins over Oakland in which the Athletics were limited to four hits overall. Boston had a three-game weekend sweep over Detroit in which the Red Sox outscored the Tigers 24-9.
BY THE NUMBERS
This is the first time Tampa Bay has recorded three consecutive shutouts. … The Rays have won 10 straight home games against Boston.
Boston center fielder Rob Refsnyder, one of several players who will be filling in for the injured Adam Duvall, saved a pair of runs with a sliding catch on the warning track that took away an extra-base hit from Randy Arozarena in the third.
Duvall, hurt attempting a diving catch on Sunday, was placed on the 10-day injured list before the game with a fractured left wrist. Cora said Duvall will not need surgery and the wrist will be placed in a cast. There is no timetable for his return.
Bobby Dalbec, recalled from Triple-A Worcester to take Duvall’s roster spot, had a pinch-hit single in the eighth.
Cora said “there’s a good chance” RHP Garrett Whitlock (hip surgery) will make his season debut Tuesday night against Rays ace Shane McClanahan (2-0, 1.50 ERA).