ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)
The Tampa Bay Rays extended Major League Baseball's best start in 20 years behind Jeffrey Springs' seven innings of three-hit ball and Randy Arozarena's four RBIs, routing the Oakland Athletics 11-0 Saturday for an 8-0 record.
Tampa Bay is the first big league team to open 8-0 since the 2003 Kansas City Royals won their first nine games. The Rays have outscored opponents 64-18 and are the first team to win its first eight games by four or more runs since the 1884 St. Louis Maroons of the Union Association did it in their first 13.
“When you’re winning games like this, a lot of things got to be going well,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. “So, I think we’re all pretty impressed with every facet out there.”
No team had won eight straight games by that margin at any point in a season since the 1939 Yankees did it 10 times in a row.
Isaac Paredes and Brandon Lowe had three RBIs each for the Rays.
Springs (2-0), coming off six, no-hit innings in his season debut against Detroit, gave up a leadoff single in the first to Esteury Ruiz. He struck out seven, raising his total to 19 in 13 innings.
“Early on kind of fought mechanics,” Springs said, “It was a grind. Overall, I felt alright, not great, but it helps a lot when my offense is doing what they're doing,”
Shintaro Fujinami (0-2) allowed five runs, three hits, four walks and hit a batter over 4 1/3 innings in his second major league start. The right-hander didn't allow a hit until Wander Franco's infield single with one out in the fourth.
“I started off pretty well in the first three innings," Fujinami said through a translator. “But the fourth inning I walked a guy, and from there it kind of went down.”
Fujinami, who signed as free agent in January after pitching 10 years for Hanshin of Japan's Central League, allowed eight runs over 2 1/3 innings in a 13-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels in his big league debut on April 1. His next start could be at home against the Mets' Kodai Senga.
“It's sort of the same storyline from his first start,” Oakalnd manager Mark Kotsay said. “Again, it's the ability to control the strike zone and throw strikes and challenge hitters. He only gave up three hits, but when you give up five free passes it's generally not going to go well especially against good quality teams.”
Oakland, which had just three hits, has lost six of eight and is batting .209. The team ERA is 7.00.
Tampa Bay scored three times in the fifth to go up 5-0 on three hit batters, two walks and a single. Arozarena ended Fujinami's day on a two-run single, and Paredes picked up an RBI when hit by a pitch from Sam Noll.
Arozarena had a two-run homer in the ninth off Carlos Pérez, usually a catcher.
Manuel Margot had a solo homer and Lowe added a three-run drive in the sixth off Domingo Acevedo.
Athletics: RHP Paul Blackburn (right middle finger avulsion) started a rehab assignment Friday night with Class A Stockton and now will join Triple-A Las Vegas.
Rays: CF Jose Siri was placed on the 10-day IL with a strained right hamstring. Cash said it is a grade one strain, which is the mildest.
Tampa Bay RHP Drew Rasmussen (1-0) and Oakland RHP James Kaprielian (0-0) are Sunday’s starters,
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
Copyright 2023 STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.