The American League East-leading Rays, who started a three-game series with the Miami Marlins on Friday night, clinched a postseason spot Thursday.
Franco was second in the lineup and started at shortstop. He walked in the sixth inning to extend his on-base streak to 40 games as the Rays won 8-0.
"Actually, I feel like it's my debut," Franco said through an interpreter before the game. "It's similar to that feeling. So I'm ready to help the team win."
The 20-year-old Franco's on-base stretch is the second-longest in major league history by a player under 21. Frank Robinson set the record with a 43-game string in 1956.
Infielder Taylor Walls was optioned to Durham in a corresponding move.
Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said that reliever Ryan Thompson, who has been on the injured list since June 30 with a right shoulder injury, will undergo thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. A date for the procedure has not been set.
Reliever Matt Wisler, sidelined by right middle finger inflammation, is scheduled for a bullpen session Sunday and if all goes well could return next week.
Catcher Mike Zunino is getting extra rest with the playoffs looming, including Friday.
"A little beat up," Cash said. "Trying to get him fresh. We'll see how the next couple days go."