Rays get 71st win, a franchise record
SEATTLE -- The Tampa Bay Rays set a franchise record with their 71st win, an 11-3 rout of the Seattle Mariners on Sunday.
Tampa Bay’s previous best record came in 2004 when the Rays finished the season 70-92. After winning three of four in Seattle, the Rays are 71-46 and have a 4 1/2 -game lead over the Boston Red Sox in the East Division, their largest advantage since July 6.
“It’s going to take more than that,” Manager Joe Maddon said bluntly afterward.
The Rays have done a pretty good job this season of keeping the rest of the league speechless about their remarkable turnaround.
Even on the day they learned they’ll be without star outfielder Carl Crawford for at least two weeks, and possibly longer, it was again everyone in the lineup chipping in.
Willy Aybar started at third base in place of rookie star Evan Longoria, who sat out his third consecutive game because of a sore right wrist.
Aybar gave Tampa Bay a 3-0 lead in the second inning with his fifth homer. He also hit a solo homer in the seventh.
Shawn Riggans came through with two out in the fifth when he hit a three-run homer, his fifth of the season. He has played in only 18 of the Rays’ last 86 games, usually just to give starting catcher Dioner Navarro a day off. It was his first homer since June 29.
“You can’t really look at what we don’t have. You have to look at what we do have and the guys that we do have can produce,” Riggans said.