The Cleveland Indians have won 21 games in a row.

That’s just absurd.

The last time they lost was back on August 23rd.

To commemorate the Indians historic run, let’s look back at the top winning streak in Rays history. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t 21 games.

Back during the 2004 Devil Rays days, something bizarre happened. Out of nowhere, the team started winning. The offense came to life: veterans rediscovered their swings while young potential stars found their stride. The pitching went from being a scrapyard heap to being a scrapyard heap that somehow got major leaguers out.

The winning streak came during a phenomenal stretch from the club in which they won 30 of 40 games from May 20th to July 3rd, propelling them above the .500 mark in June for the first time in franchise history.

The winning streak started during the middle of this run.

Game One

San Francisco Giants

June 9th, 2004 – Tropicana Field

The Devil Rays were shut out by Jason Schmidt for the first seven innings, but the Giants weren’t having much luck against the Rays starter, Mark Hendrickson. After the Giants scored a run during the first inning, the two teams traded zeroes for seven innings. During the 8th inning, Julio Lugo would double in two runs, and Toby Hall would soon follow him with another run scoring single to give the Rays a 3-1 lead. Unfortunately, the Rays bullpen failed to close it out in the 9th and the game went into extras. Jose Cruz Jr would play the hero with a walk off single with the bases loaded in the 10th.

Game Two

San Francisco Giants

June 10th, 2004 – Tropicana Field

The Devil Rays were in much more control of this one against the Giants, with Victor Zambrano providing six quality innings, allowing one run before leaving in the 7th. Rocco Baldelli would provide the biggest offensive blow of the game, a three run shot of Kirk Rueter and the Devil Rays would go on to win, 5-2.

Game Three

Colorado Rockies

June 11th, 2004 – Tropicana Field

An incredible game where both sides just wouldn’t go away. The two teams exchanged runs, back and forth for the eight innings of the game. Entering the 9th, the Devil Rays clung to a one run lead, but Danys Baez failed to nail the door shut as Todd Helton launched a two run homer to give the Rockies a one run lead. This game continued to be insane though as the Devil Rays battled right back in the bottom half of the frame to tie things up. The following inning, Rays slap hitting second baseman, Rey Sanchez, hit a sinking liner into the right field corner that slipped past the outfielder allowing Sanchez to circle the bases for an inside-the-park walkoff home run.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Za35OwX1fAU?rel=0&]

http://www.fangraphs.com/

Game Four

Colorado Rockies

June 12th, 2004 – Tropicana Field

The Devil Rays tried to give this one away after taking a 5-1 lead into the sixth inning as they allowed the Rockies to come storming back with six runs. However, the resilient Rays fought back and overcame the Rockies, taking a 10-7 victory. John Halama pitched the final three innings, holding the Rockies in check while Toby Hall and Tino Martinez provided the winning blows for the Rays.

Game Five

Colorado Rockies

June 13th, 2004 – Tropicana Field

The Rockies and Devil Rays were engaged in yet another close contest during the finale of their three game set. The pitching settled down with Dewon Brazelton and Jeff Fassero engaging in a decent pitching duel. The two teams would take a tie game into the bottom of the 9th, setting the scene for Julio Lugo to single home Carl Crawford for yet another walkoff victory.

Game Six

San Diego Padres

June 15th, 2004 – PetCo Park

The Devil Rays traveled to the Padres’ new home of PetCo park with the hopes of continuing their winning ways. Mark Hendrickson pitched another great game, leaving with two outs in the 8th inning, having only allowed run thanks to a solo shot from Brian Giles. The Devil Rays would provide him with more than enough support with Aubrey Huff launching a three run home run in the fifth. The Devil Rays would take a 5-2 victory.

Game Seven

San Diego Padres

June 16th, 2004 – PetCo Park

The Devil Rays jumped in front early, but fell behind soon after and by the 7th inning, they were down 4-3. With their winning streak on the line, the offense broke out against Scott Linebrink with Fred McGriff and Carl Crawford singling home runs and then Jose Cruz Jr putting the exclamation point on the inning with a two run blast to put the Devil Rays up, 7-4. They’d go on to win, 9-6.

Game Eight

June 17th, 2004

San Diego Padres – PetCo Park

Another pitching duel the Devil Rays found some way to win as Chad Gaudin and Adam Eaton faced off. Both delivered solid-ish outings, but Eaton was left in an inning too long, facing Fred McGriff with a one run lead in the sixth. McGriff would send a ball into the seats in the right field corner (for what turned out to be his last career home run) to give the Devil Rays a 2-1 lead. They’d go on to win, 4-1.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsyYYWHht8w?rel=0&]

Game Nine

June 18th, 2004

Arizona Diamondbacks – Bank One Ballpark

Moving on to their expansion twin, the Devil Rays would be greeted by ‘The Big Unit’ Randy Johnson. It was no matter for the streaking Devil Rays. Jose Cruz Jr hit a three run shot during the 4th inning to give the Rays an early lead, which they’d easily hold on to as they defeated the Diamondbacks, 6-2.

Game Ten

June 19th, 2004

Arizona Diamondbacks – Bank One Ballpark

Dewon Brazelton did his best to snap the streak, but the offense would have none of it. Brazelton gave up three runs during the first inning, but the Rays would surge back during the next half inning as they sent 11 hitters to the plate, scoring seven runs. Brazelton would only last one more inning, before being relieved in the third by Rob Bell, who’d pitch the rest of the game scoreless for the Rays as they’d go on to win, 11-4.

Game Eleven

June 20th, 2004

Arizona Diamondbacks – Bank One Ballpark

Mark Hendrickson continued his run of solid starts as he held Arizona to one run over six innings pitched. The Devil Rays scored two runs off Brandon Webb over the first three innings and that’d be all the scoring in this contest as the Devil Rays defeated the Diamondbacks, 2-1.

Game Twelve

June 22nd, 2004

Toronto Blue Jays – Skydome (now known as Rogers Centre)

Back against an American League opponent, the Devil Rays were north of the border taking on the Blue Jays. Chad Gaudin had the start for the Rays and promptly walked four of the first five batters he faced, fortunately coaxing a ground ball double play between the walks. He’d be taken out of the game following the 5th batter and Tampa Bay would work out of the jam and go on to take a 5-1 victory.

The streak came to an end with a great Roy Halladay start on June 23, 2004. And despite this remarkable stretch the 2004 Devil Rays managed to win just 70 games that year, finishing last in the American League East.


Article first appeared on www.draysbay.com