Chris Archer Delivers Quality Start In Rays 10-3 Victory
The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Los Angeles Angels by a final score of 10-3 to improve their record to 54-56. The win pulls the Rays to five games behind in the wild card race. The second wild card is held by the Toronto Blue Jays who fell to the Houston Astros by a final score of 8-2. Additionally, the Rays gained a game in the AL East standings and now trail the Baltimore Orioles who lost to the Seattle Mariners 6-3 by 7.5 games.
The victory was the Rays 12th in their last 15 games and they are 30-14 since June 11 which is the best record in the majors. The defeat of the Angels improves the Rays to 5-3 on their nine game homestand clinching their first winning homestand since going 4-2 from May 20th through 25th.
The Rays offense backed Chris Archer with 16 hits including home runs by Evan Longoria and Logan Forsythe. Ben Zobrist tied a season high with four hits, James Loney extended his on-base streak to 21 straight games, and Brandon Guyer reached base in all four of his plate appearances.
Chris Archer (7-6, 3.42 ERA) was the recipient of rare run support as the Rays pushed across six runs in the first two innings to give him room to breathe. In his previous 21 starts the Rays offense had only scored 55 runs (2.62 runs/game) while he was on the mound.
Archer delivered his 13th quality start of the season going six innings allowing three runs (all earned) on six hit striking out nine and walking two. His nine strikeouts were his second most in any start this season (11 on May 23rd versus Boston). He improves to 3-1 with a 1.30 ERA in five starts versus the AL West this season and has pitched to a 3.21 ERA (101IP/36ER) in 17 starts since the beginning of May.
C.J. Wilson (8-7, 4.74 ERA) was making his first start since July 9th against the Toronto Blue Jays allowing six runs (three earned) before exiting the game with an ankle sprain. He made one rehab start with the Angles Double-A affiliate Arkansas Travelers going 5.1 innings allowing two earned runs on four hits with two walks and seven strike outs.
In his return to the Angles he lasted just 1.1 innings allowing six runs (all earned) on six hits striking out two and walking two.
The Rays jumped on him with a pair of runs in the first inning. After retiring the first two batters he walked Brandon Guyer and then Evan Longoria delivered his 13th home run of the season to give the Rays the 2-0 lead.
They extended their lead to 6-0 in the bottom of the second inning and in the process knocked C.J. Wilson out of the game. After retiring the first batter of the inning James Loney singled, moved to second when Curt Casali walked, and came in to score on a RBI single by Logan Forsythe which also advanced Casali to third. Desmond Jennings followed with a perfect safety squeeze single to score Casali.
Ben Zobrist laid down a bunt single to load the bases for Brandon Guyer who delivered a 2-RBI single to plate both Forsythe and Jennings. Guyer’s hit pushed the Rays lead to 6-0 and knocked C.J. Wilson out of the game marking his second shortest outing of his career. The shortest outing of his career was 0.1 innings on May 11, 2012 and was removed due to a long rain delay.
The Angels pushed three runs against Archer in the top of the fourth inning to cut the Rays lead to 6-3. Albert Pujols led off with a single, moved to second after Archer walked Erick Aybar and came in to score on a Howie Kendrick RBI ground-rule double. David Freese grounded out to score Aybar and Hank Conger delivered a RBI double to score Kendrick.
The Angels bullpen held the Rays off the board until the bottom of the eighth inning when they pushed across four runs to push the lead to 10-3. The inning began with Logan Forsythe hitting his fourth home run of the season. All four of his homers this year have come over his past 21 games (17 starts) since June 28th, after 56 homerless games to start his Rays career. He has 14 RBI over that span after only driving in five runs in his first 56 games.
Desmond Jennings followed with a single and came in to score on Ben Zobrist‘s double. It was Zobrist’s fourth hit of the game tying a season high (3 times) done most recently on on July 25th against the Boston Red Sox. Since June 28th Zobrist is hitting .364 (40 for 110).
After Mike Roth struck out Kevin Kiermaier he intentionally walked Evan Longoria to face pinch hitter Matt Joyce who singled to plate Zobrist. Yunel Escobar followed with an RBI single to score Evan Longoria and pushed the Rays lead to 10-3.
Ramos allowed a leadoff double to C.J. Cron to set the stage for the Kevin Kiermaier show. It should be noted that Kiermaier was inserted into the game as a defensive replacement in the top of the eighth inning.
Chris Iannetta – pinch hitting for Hank Conger singled to right field, Cron raced around third and Kiermaier elected to throw to the plate. Curt Casali fielded the throw and reached back across his body to make the tag at the plate. The play was reviewed (home-plate collision rule) and was upheld.
The next batter was Kole Calhoun and he sent a shallow line drive to right center field where the speedy Kiermaier came in to make the catch and his momentum carried him all the way over to shallow left field.
Mike Trout was the last hitter of the game and he sent a fly ball down the right field line that the speedy Kiermaier glided over to record the out.