Brendan McKay’s MLB debut was nearly perfect. It’s not often that a pitching prospect can translate superlative minor league results to the majors, but McKay managed to stun the competition there as well, firing 5 1/3 perfect innings in the Rays’ 5-2 win over the Rangers.
After pitching to a pristine 1.08 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, and 9.4 SO/9 in Triple-A Durham, the 23-year-old southpaw was recalled for his first big league gig on Saturday. Against a noisy Rangers’ lineup — one that hadn’t taken a loss in six straight games — McKay delivered five scoreless innings, retiring 13 straight batters before getting his first MLB strikeout in the fifth.
Eventually, however, McKay’s luck ran out. He induced a fly out from Asdrubal Cabrera to start the sixth inning, then watched Danny Santana grab an 0-1 curveball and return it to right field for a single, the Rangers’ first of the game. In the next at-bat, the lefty labored through a nine-pitch battle against Shin-Soo Choo and wound up issuing his first walk of the afternoon, too. By the time he wrapped up his first major-league outing at the end of the sixth, he had one hit, one walk, and three strikeouts under his belt — a little shy of perfect, but hardly shabby for such a highly-anticipated debut.
The Rays, meanwhile, supplemented the rookie’s efforts with an RBI double from Joey Wendle and a handful of home runs from Avisaíl García, Willy Adames, and Travis d'Arnaud. The win boosted them to a 47-36 record, still good for second place in the AL East and a full seven games behind the first-place Yankees.