Chris Archer Continues To Impress, Offense Shows Signs Of Life
The Tampa Bay Rays (29-45) defeated the Houston Astros (32-42) 5-0 to take the opening game of their four game series. It was the Rays fifth win in their last eight games after losing 14 of their previous 16.
Chris Archer  (4-4, 3.14 ERA) combined with Brad Boxberger , Joel Peralta , and Grant Balfour  to shut out the Astros allowing just three hits. It was the Rays eighth shutout of the season tying them for third in the American League. It marks the most shutouts in franchise history after 74 games.
Archer went the first 6.2 scoreless innings allowing three hits striking out eight and walking two. It was his first win at home since May 16th against the Los Angeles Angels and his first win at Tropicana Field since April 19th against the Yankees. The win improves the Rays record to 22-14 when the starting pitcher goes at least 6 innings (7-31 when he fails to do so).
The Rays have struggled to provide offense for their pitchers. Tonight was the 10th straight start Archer received 2 runs or fewer in run support while in the game…during this span (beginning May 1) his run support average of 1.95 R/9 IP (55.1-IP, 12-R) is the lowest in the majors.
He departed the game with 2-out in the top of the seventh inning with the Rays holding a narrow 2-0 lead thanks to scoring a pair of run in the fourth inning. The first came on a RBI single by Yunel Escobar  that scored James Loney  and was followed by a safety squeeze by Ryan Hanigan  to plate Brandon Guyer .
The Rays extended their lead in the bottom of the seventh on back-to-back homers by Kevin Kiermaier  (4) and Evan Longoria  (9). It was the fourth time this season that the Rays have hit back to back homers in a game and the first since Sean Rodriguez  and Desmond Jennings  Tuesday night against the Orioles.
Collin McHugh  (4-5, 2.76 ERA) made his second straight start versus the Rays and lost both games. He allowed 2 (unearned) runs over 6 innings, lowering his road ERA to 1.69 (37.1-IP, 7-ER) with 44 SO in 6 starts.