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Rays snap skid behind Zach Eflin, tie Orioles again atop division

ST. PETERSBURG — Jose Siri flung his bat up the first base line and pounded his chest several times. The Rays centerfielder let out about a month’s worth of frustration before he completed his trip around the bases.

With home runs from Siri and Isaac Paredes and seven scoreless, two-hit innings from Zach Eflin, the Rays beat the Orioles 3-0 and were able to celebrate again for the first time in nearly a week.

The Rays, who surrendered their hold on first place in the American League East on Thursday night, snapped a five-game losing streak. Tampa Bay (61-40) moved back into a tie with the Orioles (59-38) for the division lead. There are six more head-to-head games this season, including two more at Tropicana Field this weekend.

It was just the fourth game the Rays have won this month.

The Rays’ struggles have come as their offense stalled. The home runs quickly helped that turn around Friday. Siri’s 359-foot shot to leftfield off Baltimore’s new reliever, Shintaro Fujinami, in the seventh inning was his team-leading 20th of the season. Paredes’ homer off Kyle Bradish in the sixth was his 18th, second most on the team.

The Rays had taken a 1-0 lead in the second when Brandon Lowed doubled with one out, then Harold Ramirez singled on a hard-hit grounder off the mound and into centerfield to bring the second baseman in.

Eflin looked completely different than his last start, the first after the All-Star break. Against the Royals on Sunday, he allowed five runs in just three innings of work.

But he’s nearly unbeatable at Tropicana Field this season. In front of a crowd of 19,703 Friday night, he won his 10th home game. He has just one loss at the Trop this season.

Friday, he went deep in the game, throwing seven innings for the third time this year. He struck out eight, one shy of his season high, and walked one batter. He allowed a double to Ryan Mountcastle in the second and a single to Ryan O’Hearn in the fourth.

This story will be updated.

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