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Rays set a modern MLB record with their 14th straight home win to start a season

Wander Franco, right, celebrates with Tampa Bay teammate Christian Bethancourt after scoring against the Astros during the third inning Monday night at Tropicana Field.
AP
Wander Franco, right, celebrates with Tampa Bay teammate Christian Bethancourt after scoring against the Astros during the third inning Monday night at Tropicana Field.

Tampa Bay had shared the mark dating to 1901 with the 2009 Dodgers. The Rays are now 20-3 overall, and only the 1911 Tigers and 1955 Dodgers had better starts at 21-2.

The Tampa Bay Rays set a modern era Major League Baseball record with their 14th consecutive home win to begin a season, beating the Houston Astros 8-3 on Monday night at Tropicana Field.

Tampa Bay had shared the mark dating to 1901 with the 2009 Los Angeles Dodgers.

It had been first thought that the modern record was 15, held by the 1907 New York Giants. Research by the Elias Sports Bureau found that the Giants forfeited their first home before the 15-game streak, which officially counted as a loss.

The longest streak in MLB history was 21 in a row, set by the 1880 Chicago White Stockings, who became the Cubs, according to Elias.

The Rays are 20-3 overall. Only the 1911 Detroit Tigers and 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers had better starts at 21-2 since 1901. They have outscored their opponents, 157-64.

“You look on the scoreboard, it seems like there's a new record broke everyday, It means a lot. So, it's like, what's tomorrow?" said Rays rookie starting pitcher Taj Bradley, who won his third consecutive start to begin his big-league career.

The 22-year-old Bradley allowed three runs and four hits with six strikeouts and no walks in five innings. In 15 1/3 innings this season, the right-hander has struck out 23 and waked two.

Rays shortstop Wander Franco had four hits and made an outstanding recovery catch on Martín Maldonado's fifth-inning foul ball down the left-field line when he overran the ball but was able to make the grab with his bare hand. The catch occurred about 315 feet down the line in foul territory.

"That was sick, man," Bradley said. "I was looking up in the air. It was hanging up there for a long time. He's hauling. He comes up with it. I think he popped it out of his glove and caught it with his bare hand."

Franco, 22, boosted his average to .318 and moved into a tie for third in the majors with 15 extra-base hits.

"Wander's just a very talented player.," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "The catch, the amount of ground that he covered. I can't tell if he caught it bare-handed by design or his glove just couldn't go any farther that way and the hand was there to help. We'll take it. He was excited."

Franco, through a translator, said he couldn't reach the ball with his glove and his hand just happened to be there and it fell right into it.

“I couldn't believe it until I caught it,” Franco said.

Franco's catch reminded Astros manager Dusty Baker of an over-the-shoulder catch by Kevin Mitchell when the two played together with the Giants in 1989.

“The last time I'd seen it, it was when Kevin Mitchell did it when I was in San Francisco,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “That was a real tough play even to catch it and get out to it. And then when he overran it, I guess that's just a natural reaction to put your other hand out.”

Tampa Bay and Houston play again at 6:40 p.m. Tuesday night at Tropicana Field in the second meeting in their three-game series.