ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays matched the best start to a major league season in 20 years, routing the Oakland Athletics 11-0 Sunday for a 9-0 record as Drew Rasmussen combined on a one-hitter and Brandon Lowe hit a grand slam.
Tampa Bay has outscored opponents 75-18, scoring the most runs in the big leagues and allowing the fewest. The 2003 Kansas City Royals had been the previous team to start 9-0.
The Rays have won every game by four or more runs, trailing only a 13-game run by the 1884 St. Louis Maroons of the Union Association as the longest at a season’s start. The streak is the longest at any point of a season since 10 by the 1939 New York Yankees.
The longest winning streak at a season’s start is 13 by the 1982 Atlanta Braves and 1987 Milwaukee Brewers.
Oakland has lost seven of nine. The Athletics were outscored 22-0 in the final two games of the series and limited to four hits, dropping their batting average to .192.
Wander Franco and Harold Ramírez also homered for the Rays, who have hit a big league-leading 24 times.
Rasmussen (2-0) allowed his only runner on Ramon Laureano’s two-out double in the second and has given up three hits over 13 scoreless innings in two starts. He struck out eight and walked none.
Ryan Thompson got three straight outs, and Jason Adam worked around a leadoff walk in the ninth.
James Kaprielian (0-1) allowed seven runs, seven hits and three walks over 4 2/3 innings. Oakland pitchers walked seven and hit two batters.
Lowe’s drive was the only hit in the fourth to leave the infield as Tampa Bay took a 5-0 lead.
Isaac Paredes was hit by pitch starting the fourth, and Ramírez was credited with a single when third baseman Jace Peterson looked at second after fielding a ball and threw late to first.
Christian Bethancourt reached on a two-out fielder’s choice when Ramírez beat Aledmys Díaz’s throw to second base from deep in the shortstop hole. Lowe then connected for his his third career slam.
Paredes drew a two-out walk in the fifth and came on Ramírez’s homer.
Randy Arozarena had a RBI single in a two-run sixth that was set up when second baseman Tony Kemp caught a pop up by Franco but threw to an undercovered first base trying to double up Lowe.
Franco had a solo shot in the first.
Athletics: OF Seth Brown didn’t play after feeling side discomfort on a check-swing on Saturday.
Rays: INF Taylor Walls (left elbow) will undergo tests Monday. … RHP Tyler Glasbow (left oblique) could throw off a mound next week.
Athletics: LHP JP Sears (0-0) will face Baltimore RHP Kyle Gibson (2-0) on Monday night.
Rays: LHP Josh Fleming (0-0) and Boston RHP Nick Pivetta (0-1) are Monday night’s starters.