CINCINNATI (AP) — Yandy Díaz homered on the third pitch of Levi Stoudt’s big league debut to spark a six-run first inning, and the Tampa Bay Rays routed the Cincinnati Reds 8-0 Wednesday to improve to a major league-best 16-3.
Tampa Bay pitched its second straight shutout and has six this season, more than half the Rays total of 10 for all of last year. The Rays tied for the most shutouts in a team’s first 19 games, matching the 1876 St. Louis Brown Stockings, 1966 Cleveland Indians and 1981 Texas Rangers.
Tampa Bay tops the big leagues with 133 runs and has allowed 50, tied for the big league low entering the day.
Reds manager David Bell was ejected in the ninth inning by plate umpire Erich Bacchus after coming onto the field to argue. Pete Fairbanks threw his first pitch to Stuart Fairchild behind the batter’s head, then threw a 2-0 pitch up and in.
The entire three-game series drew 31,794, including 10,205 for the series finale and 7,375 for the series opener, the Reds lowest for a home game since May 1, 1985, at Riverfront Stadium, according to baseballreference.com.
Drew Rasmussen (3-1), given an early cushion, allowed three hits and three walks in five innings with seven strikeouts. Josh Fleming pitched three innings and Fairbanks finished a five-hitter.
“It’s electrifying,” Rasmussen said of Tampa Bay’s offense. “When you get six in the first, you can’t complain. It’s awesome. We’ve got a lot of depth. It’s a terrifying lineup.”
Cincinnati dropped to a season-worst four games under .500 at 7-11 and was held scoreless in consecutive games for the first time since three in a row in April 2019 against Milwaukee and Pittsburgh. The Reds totaled nine hits in their last two games, all singles.
Randy Arozarena had three hits and is hitting .333 for the Rays, who have won three of four following consecutive losses.
“When we lost those two games, we didn’t hit very well, but we came back,” Díaz said through a translator. “You have to keep battling.”
Stoudt (0-1), a 25-year-old right-hander acquired from Seattle in last summer’s trade that sent Luis Castillo to the Mariners, allowed seven runs, nine hits and one walk in four innings with three strikeouts, leaving him with a 15.75 ERA. He threw 36 pitches in a top of the first that took 16 minutes.
“It was kind of a haze,” Stoudt said. “The first inning, I kind of came out of it, like what happened. There were a lot of emotions. The game sped up on me a little bit. I think the biggest thing is I came back and fought through those last three innings. I am going to take away the positives.”
Díaz turned on an up slider and drove a line drive over the left-field wall for his sixth homer this season, Tampa Bay’s big league-high 42nd. The Mariners have homered in each of their first 19 games, one behind the record for a season’s start set by the 2020 Mariners.
Isaac Paredes had an RBI double, Josh Lowe a two-run single and Manuel Margot an RBI double. Stoudt also balked home a run.
“We take the same approach — see the pitch and attack it — and that’s we did,” Díaz said.
Díaz’s leadoff homer was his second of the season and sixth of his career. He led off with a homer against the Red Sox in a 9-3 win on April 13.
Jason Vosler moved from first base to pitch the ninth, allowing a single to Arozarena before retiring three in a row. He averaged 57..8 mph with his fastball. The Reds have used position players to pitch in three of their last four games.
Rays: SS Wander Franco got Wednesday off after starting every Tampa Bay’s first 18 games.
Reds: RHP Lucas Sims made season debut after opening the season on the 15-day IL (lower back spasms) and walked his first batter before retiring three in a row.
Rays: RHP Calvin Faucher (0-0) starts Friday’s homestand opener against the Chicago White Sox.
Reds: RHP Luke Weaver (0-0) is scheduled to be activated from the 15-day injured list (right forearm tightness) and start the opener of a four-game series on Thursday in Pittsburgh.