Eflin picks up 8th victory, Raley slugs 11th HR as MLB-leading Rays beat Twins 7-0
Published 10:48 am Wednesday, June 7, 2023
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Zach Eflin pitched into the seventh inning and earned his eighth win, Luke Raley tripled and homered, and the MLB-best Tampa Bay Rays beat the AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins 7-0 on Tuesday night.
Eflin (8-1) scattered three hits and struck out nine over 6 2/3 innings. Only teammate Shane McClanahan (9-1) has more wins in the majors.
“They threw a guy that’s having one of the better seasons on the mound of anyone in the American League,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said. “That sinker and cutter, and curveball combo he has going the way he wants right now. He threw a ton of strikes. He looked like he was pounding the zone.”
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Eflin is 7-0 with a 1.85 ERA in seven home starts.
“He’s just a really good pitcher that knows how to execute pitches at a level that’s really, really high.” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
Raley got his first career three-base hit, coming in his 102nd big league game, and scored in a three-run fourth. In the fifth inning, he connected on a two-run shot off Louie Varland (3-2) that made it 5-0.
“It feels good to put some runs on the board for Eflin,” Raley said. “I mean, he was absolutely incredible today.”
Jose Siri added a solo shot in the seventh inning and Randy Arozarena drove in two runs for the Rays (44-19), who are 27-6 at home. Tampa Bay is 11-0 in home series openers, the best run since the 2013 Detroit Tigers (13 straight), according the Elias Sports Bureau.
Varland, coming off seven shutout innings in a win at Houston on Wednesday, gave up seven runs and six hits in six-plus innings as Minnesota dropped to 31-30.
“I felt decent. … Just a bad day,” Varland said.
Twins shortstop Carlos Correa, who reaggravated the plantar fasciitis in his left foot on Thursday, returned to the lineup. He had a double and struck out three times.
The Twins were limited to four hits in a game that took 2 hours, 7 minutes.
“It was a tough day all around,” Baldelli said.
Minnesota’s Byron Buxton was placed on the 10-day injured list with a bruised left rib.
Buxton, an All-Star last year, is hitting .220 with 10 homers and 23 RBIs in 50 games this season. He was hurt on Thursday, when he was hit by a pitch from Guardians rookie Tanner Bibee.
“The pain is still there,” Baldelli said. “It’s a serious contusion. The initial scans say no break. He’s banged up pretty good.”