ST Petersburg, Fla. — Zach Eflin pitched seven strong innings and became the AL’s third hitter in 11 games as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Baltimore Orioles 3-0 on Friday in a matchup between the NFL’s top two teams.
Baltimore leads the AL East with a .608 mark compared to Tampa Bay’s .604, a 4-3 win in 10 innings Thursday night in the first game of a four-game series. The Orioles trailed the Rays by 6 1/2 games in early July.
Eflin (11-5) allowed two hits, struck out eight and walked one, improving to 10-1 in 11 home starts. The right-hander is tied with Shane McClanahan and Texas’ Nathan Ewaldi with 11 hits.
After Colin Boche struck out three in the eighth, Pete Fairbanks picked up the slack with two hits for 11 saves in 12 chances.
Mexico’s Isaac Paredes and Jose Siri were instrumental for the Rays, who snapped a five-game losing streak and improved to 4-12 in July.
Paredes made it 2-0 with his solo homer off Kyle Bradish (6-5) in the sixth.
Orioles, Mexican Ramon Urias 1-0. Venezuela’s Anthony Santander is 4-0.
For the Rays, Colombian Harold Ramirez was 3-2 with an RBI. Mexican Isaac Paredes is 4-2, with one goal and one draw. Cuban Yandy Diaz 3-1. Dominican Manuel Margot 1-0, Jose Siri 3-1, one goal and one RBI. Panama Christian Bethancourt 3-0.