MLB milestone set with nine Latino hitters in Rays' lineup

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The Tampa Bay Rays became the first team in Major League Baseball history to start nine Latin American hitters in their batting lineup on Thursday, in a game at Toronto.

The historic move came on what MLB celebrates as Roberto Clemente Day in tribute to the late Puerto Rican slugger for the Pittsburgh Pirates who died in a 1972 plane crash trying to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

Half of the Rays' roster, including all nine historic starting hitters for Tampa Bay, chose to wear jersey number 21 in a tribute to Clemente's number.

In the contest, Tampa Bay pitcher Shane McClanahan allowed only three hits and struck out five over five scoreless innings as the Rays routed Toronto 11-0.

Tampa Bay's historic lineup featured Cuban players Yandy Diaz and Randy Arozarena, the Dominican Republic's Wander Franco, Manuel Margot and Jose Siri, Colombian Harold Ramirez, Venezuela's David Peralta and Rene Pinto and Mexico's Isaac Paredes.

Diaz smashed a three-run home run in the second inning and Paredes added a solo homer in the seventh inning.

Clemente was the first player from Latin America inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

"It's a very important day for us, because he's special for every Latin guy," Ramirez said. "They feel proud of him because of everything he did inside and outside of baseball."

"Our guys were pretty passionate about it," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.