BOSTON — Nelson Cruz homered twice and at 41 years old, became the oldest player in major league history to hit 30 home runs in a season, helping power the Tampa Bay Rays past the Boston Red Sox 12-7 on Tuesday night.
Cruz hit a two-run homer in the third inning and a solo drive in the fifth, giving him 447 in his career and his eighth 30-homer season.
He passed David Ortiz (38 in 2016) and Darrell Evans (34 in 1987), who were both 40 when they hit the mark.
“That’s definitely a privilege. David Ortiz means so much to baseball, also he’s Dominican,” said Cruz, another star from the Dominican Republic. “So, it’s an honor to be by his side.”
Cruz also doubled and singled, driving in four runs and scoring three. Acquired from the Minnesota Twins in late July, he is batting .375 with four homers in September, scoring 11 runs with 10 RBIs.
At the younger end of the roster, Rays rookie Wander Franco went 0-for-4 with a walk to extend his on-base streak to 37 games and pass Mickey Mantle (1951-52) for the longest by an American League player under 21 years old. The 20-year-old Franco now trails only Frank Robinson, who reached in 43 straight in 1956.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.