Zach Eflin, Randy Arozarena fuel Rays past Blue Jays

Zach Eflin, Randy Arozarena fuel Rays past Blue Jays

Zach Eflin logged seven strong innings to lead the Tampa Bay Rays to a 6-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday afternoon in the finale of a four-game series in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Eflin (7-1) allowed just one run on six hits to pick up his third consecutive win. He walked two and did not record a strikeout.

Randy Arozarena had two hits and two RBIs for Tampa Bay, which won three games in the series to improve to 5-2 during its current 10-game homestand.

Luke Raley, Taylor Walls and Wander Franco each stole two bases while Arozarena had one as the Rays matched a season high with seven steals.

Alejandro Kirk recorded three hits and Brandon Belt went 1-for-2 with an RBI and two walks for Toronto, which has lost seven of its last eight games.

Belt got the Blue Jays on the board in the top of the first inning after lining a single to left field to plate Daulton Varsho.

Tampa Bay wasted no time pulling ahead, going up 2-1 in the home half of the first. Franco tripled and scored on a base hit by Arozarena, who later came home on a fielder’s choice by Harold Ramirez.

Josh Lowe upped the Rays’ lead to 3-1 in the second inning with an RBI double.

Despite not tallying a hit in the third inning, Tampa Bay still managed to tack on two more runs. Walls and Raley each drew walks and executing a double steal, with a poor throw to third from catcher Kirk allowing Walls to score. Manuel Margot’s groundout then brought home Raley and made it 5-1.

Toronto starter Alek Manoah (1-5) was pulled at the start of the fourth after allowing five runs (four earned) on three hits in three innings. He walked five and struck out six.

Trevor Richards held the Rays at bay with three hitless innings of relief, but Tampa Bay added an insurance run in the seventh when Arozarena shot an RBI single up the middle.

After the Blue Jays loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, Bo Bichette’s bases-loaded walk and Ernie Clement’s sacrifice fly pulled Toronto within 6-3. However, Colin Poche got Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to ground out to notch his first save.