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McClanahan, Siri Lead Rays To Opening Day Shutout of Tigers

Photo: Will Vragovic/Tampa Bay Rays

Shane McClanahan and three relievers combined to throw a six-hit shutout, and Jose Siri and Wander Franco each homered as the Tampa Bay Rays blanked the Detroit Tigers 4-0 to begin the 2023 regular season Thursday at Tropicana Field.

“A very Rays-like win,” manager Kevin Cash remarked after the game.  “We’ll sign up for those type of wins a lot.”

McClanahan (1-0) allowed four hits and a walk in his six innings of work, but did not allow a runner past second base, striking out six to earn the victory.

I thought he threw some errant fastballs up, but you would expect that on opening day,” Cash said of his starter.  “But he was able to harness it, get it back in the zone. [He] made just a lot of really quality pitches and gave us a start that we will never complain about.”

After getting a first-inning single by Franco in the first, and a walk from Brandon Lowe in the second, Siri got Tampa Bay on the board with a line-drive solo homer leading off the third.

The game remained 1-0 until the home half of the sixth when Yandy Diaz led off the frame by drawing a walk from Rodriguez, and two batters later moved into scoring position on a base hit by Isaac ParedesJason Foley then allowed both inherited runners to score thanks to run-scoring singles by Randy Arozarena and pinch-hitter Luke Raley.

Detroit’s best chance to get on the scoreboard came in the seventh against Colin Poche, who allowed a two-out double to Miguel Cabrera and a walk to Jonathan Schoop, but Manuel Margot robbed Ryan Kreidler of what would likely have been a two-run triple to end the inning.

The play certainly impressed his manager and showed that any questions of lingering injury should be unfounded.

“He looks healthy,” Cash said.  “That was kind of the Manny that before he got injured, that’s what he did.”

Franco’s solo homer, off reliever Mason Englert, set the score at 4-0.

Tampa Bay will have Friday off, and can secure a series win Saturday.  Zach Eflin (3-5, 4.04 ERA in 2022 with Phillies) will get the start, taking on Spencer Turnbull (4-2, 2.88 ERA in 2021), who missed all of 2022 due to injury.  First pitch is scheduled for 4:10.

NOTES:

  • The shutout is just the third time in franchise history the Rays help their opponent without a run on Opening Day, and first time they performed the feat at home, after blanking the Miami Marlins 1-0 April 1, 2021 and the Minnesota Twins 7-0 on April 3, 2000.
  • Franco’s home run in the eighth made him the second youngest Rays player to go deep on Opening Day at 22 years, 29 days old.  Only Carl Crawford, whose three-run walkoff homer against Boston in 2003 was younger (21 years, 238 days).
  • Pete Fairbanks, who pitched a scoreless ninth inning Thursday, extended his scoreless inning streak to 23 consecutive frames.  Only Seattle’s Casey Sadler and Houston’s Cristian Javier had longer streaks coming into the day.
  • Cabrera’s seventh-inning double was his 3,089th career hit, tying him with Ichiro Suzuki for 23rd most all-time (Suzuki’s total does not include his time in Japan)

Written By

Steve Carney is the founder and publisher of St. Pete Nine. One of the people most associated with baseball coverage in Tampa Bay, he spent 13 seasons covering the Rays for flagship radio station WDAE, first as producer of Rays Radio broadcasts, then as beat reporter beginning in 2011. He likes new analytics and aged bourbon, and is the owner of one of the ugliest knuckleballs ever witnessed by baseball scouts.

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