The Devil Rays had a club record 12-game winning steak as they were near the .500 mark in June and July before slumping to a 27-45 record after the All-Star break.
Tampa Bay got its 69th victory in the opener of this three-game series Friday night, matching the team mark set in 1999 (69-93) and tied in 2000 (69-92).
However, they lost the middle game of the series 5-1 on Saturday as Detroit’s Marcus Thames had his first two-homer game and drove in three runs, and Craig Monroe also homered. The Tigers set a major league record by having 11 players with at least 10 homers.
Detroit also showed tremendous improvement this season, after going 49-119 in 2003 to narrowly avoid matching the major league record for losses. The Tigers upgraded their offense, resulting in 23 more wins and the home run record.
“I’m glad it happened, no question,” Detroit manager Alan Trammell said. “It’s nice when things like that happen.”
Seven teams previously had 10 players in double figures, including this year’s Texas Rangers. The Tigers had 10 with at least 10 homers in 1999.
Thames’ second homer, leading off the seventh, gave the Tigers the record.
“I’m pretty sure he wasn’t trying to hit them,” Carlos Pena said. “He was just trying to hit the ball hard and look what happened. It’s great for him. He had a great game today.”
Tampa suffered a blow when centerfielder Carl Crawford was carried off the field on a stretcher after injuring his left knee sliding into a base in the first inning. Crawford is hitting .296 with 11 homers, 55 RBIs and an AL-leading 59 stolen bases.