ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Randy Arozarena hit a homer in the first inning as the Tampa Bay Rays set a major league record by going deep in each of their first 21 games, then hit a 10th inning single for his fourth RBI , which lifted his club to a 4-3 win over the Chicago White Sox on Saturday.
Tampa Bay is 18-3, its best start in the major leagues since the New York Yankees in 2003. The Rays are 12-0 at Tropicana Field, their best start at home since the Los Angeles Dodgers won their first 13 games in 2009 .
Arozarena hit a two-run homer in the first off from Dylan Cease, and the Rays surpassed the previous mark of homers in the Seattle Mariners’ first 20 games of 2019. Arozarena’s RBI single against Keynan Middleton put Tampa Bay 3-2 in in the fifth lead, but pinch hitter Gavin Sheets equalized with a homer in the eighth inning on Jason Adam.
“Randy has been so supportive of us all year,” said Rays starter Shane McClanahan. “It was fun to watch.”
Going 3-3 in 10th, Jimmy Lambert (1-1) purposely led Wander Franco with an out and a runner in second, and Arozarena lined a single from first to the right for his team-best 22nd RBI.
“We liked the matchup,” said White Sox manager Pedro Grifol. “We liked the duel between Lambert and Arozarena. We were good with that.”
Garrett Cleavinger (1-0) finished in a perfect 10th in front of a crowd of 22,333, the largest crowd in the trop since opening day.
It was Tampa Bay’s second straight win, and in this year of early headlines it was another. June 24-25, 2022 against the Pittsburgh Pirates was the last time the Rays had walk-off wins in consecutive games, according to research from ESPN Stats & Information.
Eloy Jimenez and Yasmani Grandal also scored for the White Sox, who lost eight of 10. Chicago fell 7-14 in their most under-.500 games since the 2019 season ended, 72-89.
“We play hard, we compete, we had a chance to win both games,” said Grifol. “We have a good team. We’ll just keep doing what we’re doing.”
The White Sox dropped the opener of the series 8-7 on Friday night when the Rays scored three times in the ninth.
McClanahan, who won his first four starts, allowed two carries, three hits and hit 10 in six innings as his ERA went from 1.57 to 1.86. According to MLB Statcast, he missed 32 on 49 swings, at 65.3%, the highest breath rate for at least 25 swings since pitch tracking began in 2008.
Tampa Bay first baseman Yandy Díaz left the field as Adam was warming up for the eighth start and needed help getting down the dugout steps. The Rays announced that Díaz had left due to dehydration.
“I felt like I had a little bit of tightness in my chest, but I think it was just more that I needed some water,” Díaz said through an interpreter. “I was a little worried just because I’ve never felt pain like this before, but now I feel a lot better.”
Diaz said he believes he can play on Sunday.
Cease gave up three carries and six hits in more than four innings. The 101-pitch outing ended a 24-game streak in which the right-hander went five or more innings.
Jimenez homered for the second straight game, a second inning leadoff drive to left center estimated at 434 feet with an exit speed of 107.5 mph.
Grandal connected it to 2 with his homer leading the fifth. It was his first home run since March 30, a 16-game span.
McClanahan hasn’t homed in his last five starts since his last appearance last year.
Chicago midfielder Luis Robert Jr. has struck in all four plate appearances and is 0-for-10 with six strikeouts in the streak.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.