The Rangers won their season-high fifth straight, 9-0 over the hapless Devil Rays on Monday. Texas, which has won nine of 10, has outscored its opponents 34-16 during the streak and remains atop the AL West with the best record in the majors.
Texas showed no signs of slowing down after sweeping Boston in three games during the weekend.
“The Boston series is over,” Rangers infielder Michael Young said. “Our focus is on the team we’re playing.”
The Rangers pummeled Devil Rays’ starter Paul Abbott in the first inning, scoring eight runs with three homers—tying a team record for most homers in an inning. They have accomplished the feat 26 times, including this season on April 25 against Seattle.
Alfonso Soriano hit a two-run homer, and David Dellucci and Young each had three-run shots in the first as the Rangers won their eighth in a row at home. Soriano hit his second homer in as many at-bats and third of the season while Dellucci hit his fifth homer in his last 26 at-bats.
Starter Kenny Rogers continued the success of the Rangers rotation, who have won three straight decisions, with a milestone performance. The left-hander pitched a four-hitter and became the oldest Texas pitcher to throw a shutout since Nolan Ryan in 1991. Ryan was 44 when he pitched his last shutout on June 11, 1991.
The Devil Rays snapped a six-game losing streak with an encouraging 8-2 win against Oakland on Sunday, but remained the only team in the majors without consecutive victories through 25 games. That’s the longest such streak since Baltimore also failed to win two straight over the first 25 games in 1999.
Tampa Bay’s win on Sunday was a rare surge of offense, as it had totaled just 15 runs in its previous six games. The Devil Rays have 85 runs this season, the second-fewest behind the Montreal Expos.
Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella is pleased with the progression of his starters but run support is still a problem.
“Our last time through the rotation, we had a chance to win every game,” Piniella said. “Now we’ve got to score some runs, and we will.”