Zach Eflin, Isaac Paredes lead Ray over Rangers 5-2

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- — Zach Eflin took a shutout into the seventh inning, Isaac Paredes hit a three-run homer in a four-run fifth and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Texas Rangers 5-2 on Tuesday night.

Eflin (1-1) allowed three of his five hits and lone run in the seventh, then was removed after Jonah Heim's one-out RBI single. Heim also had a two-out run-scoring single in the ninth off Pete Fairbanks, who retired Leody Tavares on a game-ending flyout near the left-field wall with with two on.

“He really sets a tone for our rotation,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "We needed a start like that. He easily was the right guy to provide it.”

Tampa Bay had been outscored 18-5 in losing its previous two games.

“It was to kind of get back on track and (try to) take that momentum into tomorrow,” Eflin said.

Tampa Bay has a home run and stolen base in each of its first six games, matching Cleveland in 1998 as the only teams since 1901 to accomplish the feat.

Yandy Díaz, hitless in his previous 11 at-bats, put the Rays up 1-0 with a third-inning RBI single that deflected off pitcher Andrew Heaney’s glove and into right field.

Heaney (0-1) struck out his first two batters in the fifth before first baseman Jared Walsh was charged with an error for dropping Díaz’s pop fly in shallow right. Heaney was removed after Harold Ramírez’s single on his 90th pitch.

Randy Arozarena hit a two-out, run-scoring single on a 3-2 pitch off Yerry Rodríguez and Paredes drove the next pitch into left-field seats.

Walsh's error was the Rangers' first on the road since last Aug, 22 at Arizona and ended a 22-game streak.

“He just got to it and you know, just dropped it,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s a tough place to catch popups, especially as far as he went. He felt horrible, trust me. It happens and and we couldn’t pick him up.”

Heaney allowed three runs — one earned — and four hits over 4 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts in his first start this season.

“I was really happy with how he threw the ball,” Bochy said. “He had good stuff, good command. He just ran out pitches. Terrific job. We just couldn’t get some runs for him.”


Rangers: 3B Josh Jung (broken right wrist) was scheduled to have surgery Tuesday and is expected to miss around six weeks.

Rays: RHP Shane Baz, coming back from Tommy John surgery, reaggravated an oblique injury from spring training in a simulated game last week and is to be re-evaluated on Thursday. … Highly-regarded infield prospect Junior Caminero strained his left quadriceps with Triple-A Durham and could be out a few weeks,


Texas RHP Nathan Eovaldi (0-0) and Tampa Bay RHP Aaron Civale (1-0) are Wednesday’s starters.