Zach Eflin got off to a terrific start after signing the largest free agent contract in history with the Tampa Bay Rays, who beat the Detroit Tigers 12-2 on Saturday.
Eflin covered five innings with authority and had plenty of support from the hitter.
Cuban Yandy Díaz and Dominican Wander Franco had three hits and three RBIs per head. The Rays scored seven runs in the third inning to spoil right-hander Spencer Turnbull’s first major league appearance for the Tigers since June 4, 2021.
Jose Siri and Josh Lowe added two-run doubles in the third off Turnbull (0-1), who allowed seven runs and eight hits in 2 1/3 innings.
Turnbull had missed the second half of the 2021 season and all of 2022 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Eflin (1-0) started last season in Philadelphia’s rotation. He helped lead the Phillies to the World Series, but as part of the bullpen after being sidelined for more than two months with a bruised right knee.
His three-year, $40 million contract with the Rays surpassed the five-year, $35 million contract the club signed with Venezuelan Wilson Álvarez before the team’s inaugural season in 1998.
For the Tigers, Puerto Rican Javier Báez 3-0. Venezuelan Miguel Cabrera 3-1 with an RBI.
For the Rays, Cuban Díaz went 4-3 with three runs scored and three RBIs. The Mexicans Isaac Paredes 2-0, Randy Arozarena 3-1 with two scored one pushed. The Dominicans Franco 4-3 with a run scored and three produced, Siri 5-1 with a run scored and two RBIs Francisco Mejía 4-1 with two runs scored and an RBI.