ST. PETERSBURG -- The Red Sox's lineup had been picked apart. Mookie Betts was on the bench, so too was David Ortiz. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia had taken a seat along with first baseman Hanley Ramirez. The game was a blowout, and this was a chance for some rest.
But Tampa Bay's lineup remained untouched in its 13-7 victory. From top to bottom, no one had been removed from the lineup. Everyday players Evan Longoria, Logan Forsythe and Logan Morrison stayed in for all three hours and 29 minutes. They'd been there for each of the Rays' 11 losses during their worst losing streak in seven years. They were going to be there when it ended, too.
"It is important for [them] to be out there when you win a ballgame like this," manager Kevin Cash said. "That core right there, among others, has been through it there the past 10 days or so. Happy for them to get to shake hands walking off the field."
The Rays scored just 29 runs during the 11-game losing streak, but the bats sprang to life on Monday at Tropicana Field. It tied the largest offensive outburst of the season. The Rays suffered through a streak where they couldn't put everything together. On Monday, they finally did.
Five Rays players had at least three hits. Nick Franklin had five RBIs and joined Logan Forsythe as players that finished just a triple shy of the cycle. They got to the Red Sox's bullpen early and did damage throughout the game. Blake Snell picked up his first MLB win and the bullpen shut it down.
"I think we were just going out and having fun," said Franklin, who hadn't posted a hit before Monday's game. "Anytime that we win and put up 13 runs with 18 hits, that's pretty special."
The Rays were a team that had made 24 roster moves this month. They'd lost their entire starting outfield to the disabled list. Their bullpen had an 11-game stretch with an ERA of 8.80.
They were four games shy of the worst losing streak in franchise history. The 11-game streak matched the longest in MLB this season.
When the ballgame ended, the players celebrated by blasting music in the clubhouse and shouting so loudly it permeated through the underground concourse. It wasn't much different than any other celebration, but it was one that they had to wait for. Twelve days. Eleven games. Three series. One road trip.
Earlier in the day, Cash fielded questions about job security. Now, he could finally talk about a win.
Cash couldn't say for sure if it was the beginning of a winning streak or a run back to playoff contention. It might not have been the beginning of something good, but he knew it was the end of something bad.
"It's been quiet here lately," catcher Curt Casali said. "Not to celebrate small victories, but we definitely enjoyed tonight -- during the game and after the game."
Sam Blum is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.