Zach Eflin returned to the rotation from the injured list and gave the Tampa Bay Rays five innings of work, and Luke Raley’s two-run homer extended the team’s Major League record for homering in consecutive games to begin a season, helping lead to a 4-1 win over the Chicago White Sox that capped a three-game sweep Sunday at Tropicana Field.
Raley’s blast, off White Sox starter Lucas Giolito, came after the right-handler hit Isaac Paredes with a pitch to begin the inning. The homer, his fourth of the year, snapped a personal 2 for 19 streak and extended the Rays’ major league record for homering in consecutive games to begin a season to 22 in a row.
It’s a no DOUBTER from Luke Raley!
442 feet! 2-0 Rays after 2 inning of play! pic.twitter.com/RgypsEhxzt
— Rays Radio (@RaysRadio) April 23, 2023
Harold Ramirez extended the lead to 4-0 an inning later with a solo homer off Giolito, his fifth of the year.
Chicago’s only run came in the top of the fourth, as Eflin (3-0) allowed doubles by Andrew Beninteni and Eloy Jimenez.
But the right-hander, pitching in his first game since April 7, would get through the fifth on 67 pitches before turning things over to Yonny Chirinos, who pitched three perfect innings of relief, and Pete Fairbanks, who worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his third save and to extend his franchise record consecutive scoreless innings streak to 29.
The Rays remain undefeated at home, now having won their first 13 contests at Tropicana Field.
Tampa Bay welcomes in the Houston Astros for a three-game series beginning Monday. Taj Bradley (2-0, 2.61 ERA) will get the start, taking on Jose Urquidy (1-1, 3.66 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 6:40.