Isaac Paredes leads way as Rays blast Rangers in series opener

Tribune Content Agency

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Isaac Paredes tends to get overlooked among the Rays’ big swingers.

Randy Arozarena gets the fan idolization. Wander Franco has the big hype and bigger contract. Jose Siri is flashy. Yandy Diaz is a core member of the lineup. Josh Lowe and Luke Raley are having breakout seasons.

All Paredes does is contribute.

Usually it’s quietly.

But not so much Friday, when he hit two home runs as part of a career-high six-RBI night to lead the Rays past the Rangers 8-3.

The series was billed as a test for the Rays — maybe even more so than May meetings with the Yankees, Orioles, Brewers and Dodgers, or the most recent matchup vs. the Twins.

The Rangers came in with the second-best record in the majors behind the Rays, ranking first in runs, batting average and run differential. And Texas was just behind Tampa Bay in overall and starters’ ERA.

But the opening game wasn’t much of a challenge, as Rays starter Tyler Glasnow held the Rangers to one run over six innings. Relievers Kevin Kelly and recently called-up Luis Patino took it from there.

The Rays (47-19) took the lead from the start, as Harold Ramirez reached on a two-out error and scored on a Paredes double in the bottom of the first.

The Rangers tied it in their half of the third, and the Rays answered with three runs. With two outs, Ramirez doubled, Randy Arozarena walked and Paredes launched a three-run shot.

The Rays broke it open with a four-run sixth that included a two-run homer by Paredes for his fifth multihomer game.