The Tampa Bay Rays took one more step to equaling the record for the longest unbeaten start to a Major League Baseball season with another victory on Tuesday night.
The Rays beat the Boston Red Sox 7-2 to move 11-0 this season. In doing so, they became the third team to start the season with 11 consecutive wins and the first since the 1987 Milwaukee Brewers.
Only the 1987 Brewers and the 1982 Atlanta Braves have begun their seasons with longer unbeaten streaks, both beginning with a record 13 straight wins.
“Probably a lot of people don’t expect it from us, and they’re probably saying: ‘How are they winning all these games?’” Rays’ Yandy Díaz, who finished Tuesday’s game with a home run, a walk and three runs, said. “And they’re looking at us just playing baseball.”
Tuesday’s victory was the Rays’ second successive over the Red Sox and marked the halfway point of a four-game series with Boston.
It means that Tampa Bay will match the record if they can complete the four-game sweep of the Red Sox.
They play the Red Sox on Wednesday evening and again on Thursday.
The Rays have played 99 innings this season and only trailed after five of them, all of those coming in the game against the Washington Nationals on April 4.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Tampa Bay is just the third team to trail at the end of five or fewer of the first 99 innings of a season. The other two were the 1884 New York Gothams and the 1884 St. Louis Maroons.
Díaz’s home run paired with Brandon Lowe’s 417-foot moonshot in the fifth inning were catalysts for the victory on Tuesday.
In doing so, the Rays matched the MLB record for the most home runs in the first 11 games of a season with 29, tied with the 2000 St. Louis Cardinals.
“The history of it’s not lost on us, we can say that. We understand what’s happening,” Lowe, who has equaled his career high of hitting home runs in four straight games, told reporters.
“We’re not putting any added pressure on anything. We’re not staring at our schedule, staring at our record right now. We’re just a bunch of guys in our locker room going out there playing the game we love and letting things take care of itself.”
Tuesday’s win also tied the second-longest winning streak overall in franchise history.