The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Texas Rangers 8-3 (box score) in Friday night's series opener between the teams with the two best records in Major League Baseball. The Rays entered the night with a 46-19 mark on the year, while the surprising Rangers were 40-21 coming into play.
Tampa Bay third baseman Isaac Paredes had the most notable performance of the night. He notched three hits, including two home runs, and drove in a total of six runs. Paredes opened the scoring in the first inning with an RBI double. He then delivered a three-run shot in the third, and a two-run shot in the sixth. Paredes' home runs carried a combined 775 feet, according to Statcast.
The night's pitching matchup saw Tyler Glasnow face off against Andrew Heaney. Glasnow put forth the better effort, surrendering just one run on a hit and three walks over the course of six innings. He struck out six batters in what served as his third start of the regular season. Heaney, for his part, worked five innings and allowed four runs (three earned) on four hits and two walks.
A subplot to this series is the matchup between the Lowe brothers: Rangers first baseman Nathaniel and Rays outfielder Josh. Nathaniel walked but was otherwise hitless. Josh did not appear in the game. Both brothers were drafted by the Rays organization back in 2016. Nathaniel was later traded to the Rangers as part of a six-player deal in December of 2020.
The Rays and Rangers will play game two of three on Saturday afternoon. Rookie sensation Taj Bradley is expected to get the nod for the Rays while Cy Young Award candidate Nathan Eovaldi takes the ball for the Rangers.