The Tampa Bay Devil Rays have never won 70 games.
They’ll continue their pursuit of that goal in the finale of a three-game series with the Kansas City Royals at Tropicana Field.
Since their inception in 1998, the Devil Rays have never won more than 69 games, doing so in ’99 before matching that total the following year. Tampa Bay will need to go 6-7 the rest of the way to nail down its first 70-win season.
The Devil Rays are also trying to avoid finishing last in the AL East for the first time in their seven-year history. Tampa Bay came from behind to beat Kansas City 7-4 on Tuesday, moving two games ahead of fifth-place Toronto in the division.
Jorge Cantu hit a go-ahead, two-run double during a five-run eighth inning to help Tampa Bay end a five-game home losing streak. Jose Cruz Jr. and Rocco Baldelli homered for the Devil Rays, who had lost five of six overall.
“It feels good to smile after a ballgame,” Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. “It was a nice win.”
While the Devil Rays shoot for franchise-record win total, Royals starter Darrell May will try to slow down his rapid progression toward 20 losses.
The left-hander, who went 10-8 with a 3.77 ERA last season, has dropped six straight decisions, falling to 9-18 on the season.
May allowed three runs and six hits over 6 1-3 innings Wednesday, striking out a season-high eight in a 3-0 loss to the New York Yankees. He is one loss from tying Paul Splittorff’s team record for losses in a season, and two defeats from becoming baseball’s second 20-game loser in as many seasons.
Last year, Detroit’s Mike Maroth lost 21 games, becoming the first major leaguer to lose 20 since Oakland’s Brian Kingman in 1980.
Kansas City had won three of four before Tuesday.