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Rafael Devers chasing MLB history after setting Red Sox home run record

BOSTON -- Rafael Devers launched himself into the Red Sox record books on Monday night. Now the Boston third baseman has his sights set on some MLB history.

With his two-run blast in the top of the fourth inning of Boston's 5-0 win over theTampa Bay Rays, Devers set a new Red Sox record by homering in his sixth consecutive game. There was nothing cheap about it, as Devers took a 97 mph fastball from Tampa righty Taj Bradley and sent it 382 feet into the left field stands at Tropicana Field for an opposite-field shot.

Devers knew it was gone as soon as it left his bat, and he really leaned into his home run trot for the historic blast, with an epic bat flip mixed in for good measure.

Any why not? Devers separated himself from the sextet of Sox players who had homered in five straight games -- Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams, Dick Stuart, George Scott, Jose Canseco, and most recently, Bobby Dalbec in 2020 -- and is the first player to homer in six straight games since Angels superstar Mike Trout went seven straight with a dinger late in the 2022 season. Joey Votto (2021) and Paul Goldschmidt (2019) also homered in seven straight games, and Devers will look to join that exclusive group on Tuesday night. 

"Of course, I'm very proud to be in that conversation with [Trout] and in that position," Devers said Monday night in Tampa. "Obviously, we know the type of superstar he is. He's a future Hall of Famer and a superstar. To be on the same level with him is very nice."

Devers will face Zack Littell on Tuesday night, and he's already got a good idea at what the Tampa righty has to offer. He took Littell deep last Thursday for an opposite-field shot into the Monster seats at Fenway Park for his second homer of this current streak. 

And if Devers homers again Tuesday, he'll have a shot to tie the MLB record on Wednesday. Only three players ever have homered in eight straight games: Ken Griffey Jr. in 1993, Don Mattingly in 1987, and Dale Long in 1956. 

After a slow start to the season, Devers has been swinging a hot bat for nearly a month. Since his return from a bone bruise in his knee on April 24 -- Devers fittingly homered in his first game back after a five-game absence -- he's slashing .333/.410/.667 with eight homers, seven doubles, 18 RBI and 18 runs scored. He's currently riding a 10-game hitting streak, though he sounds slightly disappointed that he's only hitting .293 over that stretch.

In Devers' mind, he's only just warming up.

"I've been only getting one hit per game and that's not me," Devers said Monday. "I like to get more singles and I feel like I've been missing a lot of my pitches. So for me to be myself I need to get more hits every game instead of just one per game. Of course, the [homers] are very important hits. But at the same time, I'm not up there yet."

Now that's great news for the Red Sox offense, and a scary proposition for the rest of baseball. 

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