MLB

Rays tie record after 20th straight outing with a home run, Smyly flirts with perfect game

By Sports Desk April 21, 2023

The Tampa Bay Rays tied the record for the most consecutive games with a home run to start a season as they went deep three times in Friday's 8-7 home win against the Chicago White Sox.

With the win, the Rays improved their MLB-leading record to 17-3, having hit at least one homer in each game to tie the 2019 Seattle Mariners for the record.

Home fans did not have to wait long for the action to heat up, as Josh Lowe connected on a two-run double in the first inning, before Harold Ramirez followed him with a two-run homer as the very next batter to take a 4-0 lead.

The White Sox came storming back with three runs in the second inning – from three RBI singles – and another three runs in the third, courtesy of two bases-loaded walks and a wild pitch.

An Eloy Jimenez solo home run put Chicago up 7-4 in the fourth inning, and while the Rays got one run back in the bottom of the fourth, they left their comeback until the very end.

Christian Bethancourt's lead-off home run in the bottom of the ninth cut the margin to 7-6, and after a Yandy Diaz single, Brandon Lowe stepped up and hit a walk-off home run.

It was the second blown save of the season for Reynaldo Lopez, failing to get a single out in the ninth, while Diaz, Lowe, Ramirez and Bethancourt all finished with two hits each for the Rays.

Smyly finishes six outs from perfection

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Drew Smyly pitched seven perfect innings before allowing his first baserunner in a 13-0 domination of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Smyly dismissed the first 21 Dodgers batters in order, before his bid for a perfect game was broken up in the eighth inning when Smyly tried to field a ball dribbling down the third-base line, but his catcher Yan Gomes crashed into him in his own effort to field it.

He ended up striking out 10 in his seven-and-two-thirds innings, allowing one run and no walks, while Nico Hoerner starred at the plate with four RBIs to go with his four-for-five day. 

Patrick Wisdom was one of five Cubs with multiple hits, including his ninth home run of the season to draw level with New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso for the league's most.

Ohtani dominates the Royals

Los Angeles Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani put together his best pitching performance of the season as he struck out 11 batters in a 2-0 win over the visiting Kansas City Royals.

With three-time AL MVP Mike Trout not suiting up, the Angels knew they had to keep the Royals' scoring down, and the combination of Ohtani (seven innings, two hits, two walks), Carlos Estevez (one inning) and closer Jose Quijada (one inning) restricted Kansas City to three hits for the game.

The only runs of the contest were produced by veteran catcher Chad Wallach in his first game of the season, connecting on a two-run homer with his first at-bat of 2023.

The win pulls the Angels' record even at 10-10, while Ohtani lowered his ERA to 0.64 from his 28 innings, and the Royals fell to an equal MLB-worst 4-16.

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