Zac Eflin took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, Harold Ramirez smacked a three-run homer and the visiting Tampa Bay Rays moved into a virtual tie for first place in the American League East with a 7-1 win against the Baltimore Orioles Friday night.
Brandon Lowe also homered and Manuel Margot and Randy Arozarena had three hits apiece for the Rays (92-57), who have won seven of eight and are tied with the Orioles atop the division for the first time since July 21.
Eflin (15-8) went seven innings, allowing a run on one hit. He struck out eight and did not walk a batter while becoming the American League’s first 15-game winner.
Rookie Heston Kjerstad broke up the no-hitter with his first major league hit, a home run leading off the sixth inning for the Orioles (91-56), who have lost four straight games while scoring a total of six runs.
Baltimore starter Jack Flaherty (8-9) continued to struggle, giving up three runs on six hits over four innings. He has given up three or more earned runs and at least one home run in each of his last six starts.
Oriole leadoff batter Gunnar Henderson reached on an error in the first inning but was erased on an inning-ending double play, and Eflin cruised through five innings.
Brandon Lowe broke a 0-0 tie when he homered leading off the fourth. Arozarena followed with a double and Isaac Paredes walked. Flaherty struck out Josh Lowe but Margot lined a single to left, scoring Arozarena to make it 2-0.
Rene Pinto singled leading off the Tampa Bay fifth and went to third on a single by Yandy Diaz. Flaherty was lifted in favor of Jacob Webb and Brandon Lowe flied out, with Pinto scoring to increase the lead to 3-0.
Back-to-back doubles by Josh Lowe and Margot made it 4-0 in the sixth before Taylor Walls reached on a bunt single. Bryan Baker came on to face Ramirez, who sent Baker’s first-pitch fastball out to left-center and the Rays led 7-0.
Kjerstad’s homer cut the deficit to 7-1.
–Field Level Media
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