Rays start unprecedented all-Latin American lineup

TORONTO — The Tampa Bay Rays started an unprecedented nine Latin American position players Thursday on Roberto Clemente Day, going on to rout the Toronto Blue Jays 11-0.

Clemente, the late Hall of Fame outfielder from Puerto Rico, was a two-time World Series winner and National League MVP who played 18 seasons with Pittsburgh. The Blue Jays’ nine starting position players came from five countries: Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.

“Very happy, especially on a day like today,” said Yandy Diaz, who hit a three-run home run. “I think the Latinos are really putting a stamp on the game of baseball.”

Diaz was joined by Randy Arozarena, Wander Franco, Harold Ramirez, Manuel Margot, David Peralta, Isaac Paredes, Rene Pinto and Jose Siri.

All nine Rays starters, as well as bases coaches Chris Prieto and Rodney Linares, wore No. 21 to honor Clemente. The nine starters posed for a photo on the field after the game.

Diaz said he hoped to put his jersey and a lineup card in a frame to remember the historic day.

Rays manager Kevin Cash said the lineup was based on the batters he wanted to face Toronto right-hander Kevin Gausman.

“Gausman we’ve got as a reverse-split guy, so load up the righties,” Cash said. “It just worked out that they were all the Latin background.”

Diaz homered in a four-run second inning, his ninth. Paredes made it 5-0 with a leadoff blast in the seventh, his 19th, and added an RBI single. Arozarena had three hits, including an RBI single in the ninth, and Margot added a three-run double later in the six-run frame.

The Rays (80-63) won the fifth and final game of the series to pull within a half-game of the Blue Jays in the wild-card chase.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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