Paredes doubles twice, drives in 3 runs to lead Rays to 5-3 win over Marlins

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Paredes Doubles Twice In Rays Win
Tampa Bay Rays' Isaac Paredes hits a RBI double to score Randy Arozarena and Brandon Lowe during the first inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Wednesday, June 5, 2024, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

MIAMI (AP) — Isaac Paredes doubled twice and drove in three runs and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Miami Marlins 5-3 on Wednesday night to sweep their two-game series.

Brandon Lowe had two hits and an RBI for the Rays, who have won 23 of 26 against Miami since the start of 2019.

Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena walked twice and singled in his first three plate appearances, extending his on-base streak to eight after reaching five times Tuesday. The string ended when Arozarena popped out to second to end the seventh.

“Randy’s at bats over the last three or four games have been really impressive,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “That might be the most encouraging thing, the way he is seeing the ball. He’s taking good swings and driving some balls down the line.”

The Marlins dropped to an NL-worst 21-41. They have started June with four straight losses after going 14-13 in May.

Rays starter Zach Eflin returned from the injured list and worked four innings of two-run ball. Limited to a pitch count, Eflin allowed three hits and struck out three. The right-hander, who missed three weeks with lower back inflammation, finished his 55-pitch outing by retiring 10 straight.

“Felt good, first inning I felt I was getting my feet wet again. But the longer I was out there the more comfortable I got,” Eflin said. “Look forward to more pitches next time.”

Five relievers followed Eflin including Richard Lovelady (2-4) who pitched a perfect sixth. Pete Fairbanks pitched the ninth for his eighth save.

Paredes hit a two-run double against Miami starter Braxton Garrett (2-1) and scored on Josh Lowe’s double to put Tampa Bay ahead 3-0 in the first.

“I have been recognizing the strike zone and that has helped me a lot,” said Paredes, who went 4 for 9 in the series. “It makes me feel more confident.”

Jesús Sánchez’s RBI double and Otto López’s run-scoring single in the bottom half narrowed the gap for Miami.

The Rays ended Garrett’s outing in the third on Brandon Lowe’s run-scoring single and Paredes’ RBI double.

“You always want to be up early and stay on ahead,” Brandon Lowe said. “I feel we do it more for our pitchers than for our hitters. Our guys are always going to have great at-bats. They’re going to try their best. They’re going to try their hardest.”

Josh Bell got the Marlins within 5-3 with an RBI single in the fifth.

Garrett gave up five runs and six hits in 2 2/3 innings. In the two-game set, the Rays scored 14 runs and had 15 hits over seven innings against Miami’s starters.

“He didn’t have many first pitch strikes and that’s unlike him,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said of Garrett. “He’s usually commanding all four quadrants and I feel he didn’t have the feel for any pitch.”

Academy Award-winner Will Smith and co-star Martin Lawrence, who are in Miami promoting the release of their film “Bad Boys: Ride or Die,” made an appearance by the Marlins dugout before the game and posed for pictures with fans. With Smith’s encouragement, Lawrence also threw a ceremonial first pitch to Marlins outfielder Nick Gordon.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rays: LHP Colin Poche (mid-back tightness) threw a scoreless inning during a rehab outing with Triple-A Durham on Tuesday and is scheduled for another appearance on Thursday.

Marlins: INF Jake Burger had the night off. Burger played in 24 consecutive games since returning from a three-week absence because of a left intercostals muscle sprain.

UP NEXT

Rays: RHP Aaron Civale (2-4, 5.37) will start the opener of a four-game home series against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday.

Marlins: LHP Ryan Weathers (3-5, 3.41) will start the opener of a three-game home series against Cleveland on Friday. RHP Ben Lively (5-2, 2.84) will start for the Guardians.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb