ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Shane McClanahan pitched six sharp innings, Jose Siri and Wander Franco homered and the Tampa Bay Rays opened their silver anniversary season with a 4-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Thursday.
Miguel Cabrera, beginning what he has said will be his last season, had one of Detroit’s six hits — a seventh-inning double — that moved him into a tie with Ichiro Suzuki for 23rd on the all-time hit list with 3,089.
McClanahan (1-0) gave up four hits, struck out six and walked one in his second opening day start,
Randy Arozarena and Luke Raley also drove in runs charged to Eduardo Rodriguez (0-1), who yielded Siri’s homer in the third inning.
Franco provided added insurance with a solo homer in the eighth.
For the Rays, who’ve made the playoffs the past four seasons, Thursday was the start of a celebration of the team’s first 25 years.
They wore throwback Devil Rays jerseys the team donned during the first decade of its existence, hosting the same opponent Tampa Bay faced in the first-ever regular season game at Tropicana Field on March 31, 1998.
More than a decade after last throwing a pitch in a Tampa Bay uniform, former big leaguer James Shields was invited to return to “symbolically” retire from the franchise he helped transform from a perennial loser into a playoff contender.
Shields, who spent parts of seven seasons with the Rays before being traded to the Kansas City Royals in December 2012, also wore a throwback jersey, too, and threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
The 41-year-old was a draft pick of the Devil Rays in 2000 and was the leader of a pitching staff that was one of the keys to a surprising run to the World Series in 2008 — the year the franchise dropped the “Devil” from their nickname and made the playoffs for the first time.
The Rays routinely rank near the bottom of the major leagues in attendance, but again announced a sellout of 25,025 on opening day. Excluding 2020, when fans were not allowed into stadiums due to the coronavirus pandemic, the team has sold out 17 consecutive home openers.
LAST TIME AROUND
Cabrera is in his 21st season, 16th with the Tigers. Appearing in his 2,700th career game, he batted seventh and finished 1 for 4. Former Rays player Austin Meadows was 3 for 4 with a double for Detroit.
Friday is an off day. The three-game series resumes Saturday, with off-season acquisition Zach Eflin making his debut for the Rays and RHP Spencer Turnbull scheduled to start for the Tigers.