ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Shane McClanahan became baseball’s first six-game winner and the Tampa Bay Rays routed the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-1 on Wednesday night.
In a matchup of small-budget teams off to big starts, the major league-best Rays topped the NL Central-leading Pirates for the second consecutive day.
McClanahan (6-0) gave up one run on five hits over six innings, striking out nine and lowering his ERA to 2.03. Josh Lowe and Wander Franco homered off Pittsburgh relievers as the Rays improved to 25-6.
Since 1961, only the World Series-winning 1984 Detroit Tigers (26-5) had more wins through 31 games.
Tampa Bay has outscored its opponents 207-94. The Rays lead the majors with 64 home runs.
Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton was ejected in the fourth. He was yelling from the dugout apparently at plate umpire Quinn Wolcott before coming out to talk with crew chief and third base umpire Adrian Johnson. First base umpire Manny Gonzalez joined the discussion and followed Shelton down the foul line toward the plate before it appeared he redirected the manager back toward the bench.
The Pirates felt the umpires missed a number of calls in Tuesday night’s 4-1 loss to the Rays, including a pitch-clock violation and a balk.
Andrew McCutchen homered for the Pirates (20-11), who have their first three-game losing streak of the season.
Pittsburgh went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position and is hitless in 17 at-bats in those situations during the series.
Yandy Díaz got the first Rays hit off Mitch Keller (3-1) with two outs in a three-run third with a single and later scored when shortstop Rodolfo Castro was charged with an error after misplaying Harold Ramírez’s grounder.
Brandon Lowe made it 3-1 with a two-run double.
McCutchen had hit a solo homer in the top of the third. From Fort Meade, Florida, which is about 75 miles away, he has five homers in 15 games at Tropicana Field.
Tampa Bay went ahead 5-1 in the fifth when Franco was credited with an RBI when second baseman Ji Hwan Bae was given an error for booting a grounder and Ramírez had a run-scoring single.
Bae had two hits and a walk, and also stole his 12th and 13th bases.
Keller allowed five runs — one earned — and five hits in five innings.
Josh Lowe had a sixth-inning solo homer, and Franco went deep in the seventh.
LONG AND SUCCESSFUL DAY
New Rays right-hander Chase Anderson was acquired from Cincinnati on Wednesday and allowed two hits over three innings to get his first major league save. The 35-year-old Anderson had been scheduled to start a morning game for Triple-A Louisville at Omaha but instead got up around 4:30 a.m. to fly to Florida, and arrived at the ballpark at 2 p.m. It was also his 200th big league appearance, and 17th in relief.
Rays closer Pete Fairbanks went on the 15-day injured list with forearm inflammation near his right wrist.
Pirates RHP Vince Velasquez (4-2) and Tampa Bay RHP Zach Eflin (3-0) are Thursday’s starters.