ST. PETERSBURG, Florida, USA – The Tampa Bay Rays clinched their second straight title in the AL East on Saturday, thanks to a 7-3 win over the Miami Marlins.
Mike Zunino hit a home run for the lead, while Brandon Lowe added a pair of doubles.
Reliever Pete Fairbanks retired Lewis Brinson with a foul balloon when the bases were full for the final out. The Rays thus had the opportunity to celebrate the pennant in their field.
By afternoon, Tampa Bay’s “magic number” for the division title had been reduced to one game when the New York Yankees beat Boston.
23,783 spectators gathered at Tropicana Field, the most the Rays have seen this year. And most stood up to cheer for the Yankees’ victory, which was announced after the top of the sixth inning.
Tampa Bay improved to a 96-59 record and won its fourth division title since entering the majors for the 1998 season. The club debuted under the Devil Rays moniker and donned jerseys with its old emblem during this significant victory. .
The Rays, who lost the World Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games last season, have never been Major League monarchs.
Shane McClanahan (10-6) allowed one run and six hits in five innings for the win.
The setback was for the Dominican Sandy Alcántara (9-4).
For the Marlins, Venezuelans Miguel Rojas 4-1 with one run scored and one produced, Sandy Leon 4-0. The Dominicans Bryan de la Cruz 4-3 with an RBI, Jesús Sánchez 5-3 with a run scored, Lewin Díaz 4-1.
For the Rays, the Cubans Randy Arozarena 3-0, Yandy Díaz 4-2 with one scored and one produced. The Dominican Nelson Cruz 1-0.