Stat of the Day: Homers coming in clutch

3:57 AM UTC is keeping track of a Stat of the Day for the Rays this season, highlighting a unique, interesting or fun nugget from each game.

June 23: Rays 8, Red Sox 2 -- Timely homers
The Rays improved to 39-16 this season when hitting a homer and 17-5 when going deep at least twice. With a trio of homers from Austin Meadows, Mike Zunino and Brandon Lowe, the Rays improved to 10-1 on the year when they hit three home runs in the same game. The timeliness of their homers continued a trend, too: All three came with a runner or runners on base, as 50 of their 91 homers this season have, a Major League-high rate of 45.9 percent. Additionally, Meadows' two-run shot in the first inning erased a one-run deficit and set Tampa Bay on its way to the club's 20th comeback win of the season, second most in the Majors behind Boston's 25.

June 22: Red Sox 9, Rays 5 (11) -- Wander-ful fun facts
Wander Franco became the seventh Rays player to homer in his Major League debut, the first with a game-tying homer in his debut and the only Tampa Bay player with at least three RBIs in his first game. At 20 years and 113 days old, he was the eighth-youngest player in the American League or National League to homer in his first career game and the youngest since Jurickson Profar went deep at 19 years and 195 days in 2012.

Additionally, he became the second-youngest Rays player at the time of his debut, behind only B.J. Upton (19 years, 347 days), and the youngest player to debut as a starting infielder against the Red Sox since an 18-year-old Alex Rodriguez took the field for the Mariners in 1994. Finally, Franco became the youngest player to make his MLB debut batting first or second in the starting lineup since the Braves' Andruw Jones (19 years, 114 days) on Aug. 15, 1996.

June 20: Mariners 6, Rays 2 (10) -- Automatic runners an issue
Since the start of June, the Rays' bullpen has allowed 16 runs -- 10 earned and six unearned. All six of those unearned runs were scored by the automatic runners starting on second base in extra innings. The Rays are 0-4 in those extra-inning contests.

June 19: Mariners 6, Rays 5 (10) -- Skid the longest of '21
The Rays' fifth straight loss gave them their longest losing streak of the season. They had not lost five in a row since July 29-Aug. 2 last year, a five-game skid that marked their longest losing streak of 2020. The Rays' longest losing streak of 2019 was also five games, taking place from July 16 to 20.

June 18: Mariners 5, Rays 1 -- Bullpen lowers AL-best ERA
Despite being on the wrong end of two walk-off losses the previous two nights, the Rays bullpen has remained a bright spot during their four-game losing streak. After Andrew Kittredge and Collin McHugh combined for 4 1/3 scoreless innings, Tampa Bay lowered its American League-best bullpen ERA to 2.95 this season. (In the Majors, only the Cubs and Padres bullpens have put together a lower mark.) Over the last 14 games, Rays relievers have allowed only six earned runs in 59 innings -- good for an 0.92 ERA.

June 17: Mariners 6, Rays 5 -- Arozarena's unconventional hit
When Randy Arozarena laced an infield single, it was unlikely for a number of reasons. Chief among those was the fact that he essentially flung his bat at the ball, just making enough contact to put the ball in play. But if you look at the breakdown of how that hit came to be, it makes the end result even more crazier. Per Statcast, the hit had a -48 degree launch angle with an expected batting average of just .130. The ball traveled just three feet after contact with an exit velocity of just under 63 mph. Arozarena sprinted at 29.5 feet per second, just five feet per second under the 30 feet per second "elite" threshold to make it to first base.

June 16: White Sox 8, Rays 7 (10) -- South Side series loss
The White Sox handed the Rays their fifth walk-off loss of the season, including their third in extra innings. The Sox also dealt the Rays their first series defeat in more than a month, as Tampa Bay had not dropped a series since losing two of three to the Yankees from May 11-13 at Tropicana Field. The Rays are 7-1-2 in their past 10 series heading into a four-game set in Seattle.

June 15: White Sox 3, Rays 0 -- A hard team to blow out
Tuesday night marked the Rays' first loss by more than two runs since May 8 in Oakland, when they took a 6-3 defeat. That snapped a stretch of 32 consecutive games of not losing by three runs or more, the longest single-season streak in the Majors since the Indians (37) from Aug. 24-Oct. 1, 2017. It was the second-longest streak in franchise history, behind only a 33-game run from Aug. 5-Sept. 9, 2012. Still, 53 of the Rays' last 56 games have ended either with them winning or with them losing by fewer than three runs.

June 14: Rays 5, White Sox 2 -- Kings of the road
With the victory over the White Sox, the Rays own the Majors' best road record at 24-10. They lead all of MLB with 202 runs scored on the road, an average of 5.94 runs per road game, and they are now 8-3 in road series openers. They will enter Tuesday's game with a chance to clinch another series, improving a road series record that currently stands at 7-2-1. And they'll hope to add to their Major League-leading total of four road sweeps. They've been particularly hot of late, winning 13 of their last 16 road games and 17 of their last 22.

June 13: Rays 7, Orioles 1 -- Wins vs. the O's
The Rays completed their second sweep of the season against the Orioles on Sunday, improving to 6-0 on the year against their American League East opponent and 12-1 in their last 13 meetings. It was the 16th time in Rays history that they have swept the Orioles in a series of three games or more. They have outscored Baltimore 48-21 this season. The Rays also have more wins in their last 28 games (23) than the Orioles have in 64 games this season (22).

June 12: Rays 5, Orioles 4 -- A season-best 17 games over .500
With their 41st win of the season, the Rays reached a season-high 17 games above .500 (41-24) as they continue their quest to reach the World Series again. Tampa Bay holds the best record in baseball.

June 11: Rays 4, Orioles 2 -- First to 40
The Rays became the first team in the Majors to reach 40 wins. It's the second straight season they were the first American League team to reach that mark, as they finished last year's shortened season with a 40-20 record. Fridayt's victory, their 21st in 26 games, contained a number of the ingredients they've used to reach that round number, too. 1) They erased a 2-0 deficit, making it their 18th come-from-behind victory. 2) They allowed three runs or fewer for the 38th time this season, improving to 30-8 when doing so. 3) They improved to 36-12 when hitting a home run.

June 9: Nationals 9, Rays 7 -- Bullpen gives up a run
The Rays' bullpen has been a huge strength during their recent run of success. Their relievers have held leads. They've kept close games close, always leaving the lineup within striking distance and enabling the eight comeback wins Tampa Bay has engineered over the last 25 games. And the Rays have done it all with a bunch of pitchers filling a bunch of different roles. But they finally cracked on Wednesday, snapping a 19-inning scoreless streak when Ryan Zimmerman hit a two-run homer off lefty Jeffrey Springs in the fifth inning of the Rays' 9-7 loss at The Trop. It was the first run the bullpen had allowed since an 11th-inning walk-off homer by Clint Frazier on June 1 in New York. Andrew Kittredge went on to allow two runs (one earned) in the 10th, and Diego Castillo did the same in the 11th. Despite that, their relievers combined to strike out 14 with only two walks and five hits allowed in eight innings.

June 8: Rays 3, Nationals 1 -- Glasnow's strikeouts at home
Tyler Glasnow struck out 11 batters on Tuesday, giving him double-digit strikeouts in each of his first six home starts this season. It's the longest streak of double-digit strikeout games at The Trop in franchise history, having already passed Chris Archer (four in 2017) and David Price (four in '14). He is the sixth pitcher in the Wild Card era (since 1995) with at least 10 strikeouts in six straight home starts; the others were Johan Santana (eight in 2004), Gerrit Cole (six in '19), Max Scherzer (six in '18), Randy Johnson (six in 1998-99) and Curt Schilling (six in '97). Additionally, Glasnow is the first player in the modern era to strike out at least 10 batters in each of his first six home starts of the season.

June 6: Rays 7, Rangers 1 -- Yandy ends homer drought
A few days ago, Rays manager Kevin Cash said he wasn't worried if muscular corner infielder Yandy Díaz, who routinely grinds out some of the team's best at-bats, was hitting home runs or not. But there was clearly a sense of relief from Díaz and his teammates when he launched a two-run homer into the Rays' bullpen in the ninth inning. Díaz said he felt "free," and for good reason: He went 62 games and 210 at-bats between home runs. His last one came on Aug. 21, 2020. It was the second longest homer-less streak of his career, behind only a 69-game stretch to begin his career from 2017-18.

June 5: Rays 3, Rangers 0 -- Meadows' hit streak at nine
Austin Meadows extended his hitting streak to nine games with a two-run single in the first inning. During his streak, Meadows is hitting .394 (13-for-33) with five homers, two doubles, one triple and 17 RBIs, with as many walks (six) as strikeouts. He also leads the Majors with 37 RBIs since the start of May. His two-run single was his 16th hit with runners in scoring position this season, tying him with Manuel Margot for the team lead.

June 4: Rangers 5, Rays 4 -- Can't win 'em all
The Rays' 5-4 loss to the Rangers on Friday night was just their fourth loss in the last 21 games. During that stretch, they have outscored their opponents, 138-70, and their four losses have been by a combined five runs. Their comeback effort fell short in the ninth inning on Friday, but they have come from behind to win seven times and overcome multi-run deficits five times during this 21-game stretch.

June 3: Rays 9, Yankees 2 -- Yarbs goes the distance
Ryan Yarbrough ended several streaks with his complete game. Most notably, it was Tampa Bay's first complete game since Matt Andriese shut out the A's at Tropicana Field on May 14, 2016. It was also the first time a Rays starter recorded an out in the ninth inning since Yarbrough nearly went the distance in Seattle on Aug. 11, 2019, an outing that ended after 100 pitches and 8 2/3 innings. Finally, it was Yarbrough's first win as a starting pitcher since that 1-0 victory in Seattle, ending a 24-start streak without an individual victory.

That stretch for him pales in comparison to the 731 games the Rays waited for a complete game, however: Yarbrough's effort leaves the longest active streak in the Majors at Toronto's 231 games, a full 500 fewer games than the streak Tampa Bay just ended. Yarbrough also became just the second Rays pitcher to throw a nine-inning complete game against the Yankees, joining Chris Archer, who shut out New York on July 27, 2013.

June 2: Yankees 4, Rays 3 -- Rare loss vs. lefty
The Rays fell to 13-8 against left-handed starting pitchers this season when they lost, 4-3, to southpaw Jordan Montgomery and the Yankees on Wednesday night. Tampa Bay had won six straight games against left-handed starters before dropping the decision at Yankee Stadium. The last time it came up short against a left-handed starter? May 11 at Tropicana Field, also against Montgomery and the Yanks. That was also the first half of the Rays' most recent two-game losing streak before this one, as they lost to New York ace Gerrit Cole the next day before going on an 11-game winning streak and taking 16 of their next 17 games overall.

June 1: Yankees 5, Rays 3 (11 inn.) -- Kiermaier feasts on Yanks
Kevin Kiermaier doesn't homer often, but when he does, the Yankees are usually on the wrong side of it. Kiermaier hit a solo shot in the fifth inning on Tuesday for his first home run of the season, and just his fourth in 85 games since the start of the 2020 season. Dating back to Sept. 24, 2019, when Kiermaier homered off Yankees reliever Stephen Tarpley, four of the center fielder's past five home runs have come against New York.