ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Shane McClanahan became the first eight-game winner in the majors and the Tampa Bay Rays rebounded from a 19-run loss to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-3 on Wednesday night.
McClanahan (8-0) allowed one run, four hits and struck out seven in seven innings. Tampa Bay is 10-1 when the left-hander takes the mound.
“As long as I help this team and put them in a good situation to win, that’s really and truly all I care about,” McClanahan said. “Everything else will take care of itself.”
McClanahan joins Matt Moore (2013) and Charlie Morton (2019) as the only Rays pitchers to start 8-0 as Tampa Bay improved to 23-5 at home.
Luke Raley and Jose Siri homered for the major league-best Rays (36-15), who lead the big leagues with 97 homers.
Raley, a first baseman, pitched 1 2/3 innings Tuesday night in a 20-1 loss to the Blue Jays in which he allowed seven runs, including a grand slam by Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
“I rather be at the plate than on the mound,” Raley said. “It feels better to hit them than watch them go over.”
The announced crowd was a season-low 8,699. The Rays started the day averaging 17,478, which was ninth in the American League.
Toronto, which lost for the eighth time in 10 games, got a pinch-hit homer by Cavan Biggio during a two-run eighth off Jason Adam that made it 5-3.
Kevin Kelly replaced Adam with two on and got an inning-ending double play from Matt Chapman on a hard grounder to second.
Tampa Bay regained a four-run lead, at 7-3, on eighth-inning RBI singles by Siri and Wander Franco.
Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen left in the fifth with left groin tightness.
“We’ll see how he feels tomorrow,” Toronto manager John Schneider said. “We’re just trying to be a little bit proactive with it. Just kind of taking it literally minute by minute right now.”
Raley and Siri hit solo homers in the second off Yusei Kikuchi (5-2) as the Rays took a 3-0 lead. Isaac Paredes had a first-inning RBI single.
McClanahan retired his first 10 batters before Bo Bichette doubled with one out in the fourth and scored on Guerrero’s single. Guerrero drove in six runs Tuesday.
“He’s unbelievable,” Raley said. “Every time he’s out there we know we have a great chance of winning a baseball game.”
Tampa Bay went ahead 5-1 in the fourth when Manuel Margot had a run-scoring triple and came home on Franco’s single.
Franco had three hits and stole his 15th base. He stopped a career-long 12-game stretch without an RBI.
Kikuchi, who became the 11th Japanese-born pitcher to reach 100 MLB starts, gave up five runs and eight hits over five innings.
“I think just mistakes in the middle,” Schneider said. “It looked like they were kind of hunting pitches. Didn’t get away with any mistakes today.”
Kikuchi had been 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in six previous games against the Rays.
The Rays selected from Triple-A Durham former New York Yankees reliever Ben Heller, who last pitched in the majors on Sept. 4, 2020.
“There’s been a lot of times in the last three years that I doubted if I’ve ever get another chance,” said Heller, who has been limited to 23 minor league games since a right elbow stress fracture in 2021. “Been getting a little emotional thinking about it.”
Rays: 1B Yandy Díaz is away addressing a family matter. … 2B Brandon Lowe (stiff neck) should start Thursday after being out of the lineup two days.
Toronto RHP Alek Manoah (1-4) and Rays RHP Zach Eflin (6-1) are set to start Thursday.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Mark Didtler, The Associated Press