There was a real electricity in the air at Tropicana Field Tuesday night. It wasn't just because the Tampa Bay Rays were taking on the rival Boston Red Sox in a battle for first place in the division, it was for the man sporting #5 in blue.
Baseball's number one prospect Wander Franco made his MLB debut Tuesday, batting second and playing third base. There had been so much excitement and buzz around his arrival, and he lived up to every bit of it.
Franco drew a walk in his first at-bat and flied out in his second AB, but his third at-bat was what sent the crowd into a frenzy.
With the Rays trailing 5-2, Franco dug in against Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez with two runners on and promptly sent a slider into the left field seats, tying the game at five.
— MLB (@MLB) June 23, 2021
The Trop exploded as Franco rounded the bases for his first career hit, a line drive home run.
He added to his impressive game with a double in his fourth at-bat and finished the evening 2-4 plus the base on balls.
He also dazzled on defense with an impressive double play turn in the eighth inning.
In case you were wandering, he plays defense too. pic.twitter.com/XoJ6Z15wTI
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) June 23, 2021
Unfortunately, Franco's debut was spoiled by a Red Sox win in extra innings, marking the seventh straight loss for Tampa Bay.
Boston pushed across four runs in the 11th inning to take a 9-5 lead and Tampa Bay was unable to respond.
Game 2 of the series is Wednesday evening and the Rays will call on Rich Hill to try to snap the team's losing streak.
But it's a pretty safe bet Wander Franco will be in the lineup once again as he continues to build his legacy in Tampa Bay.