Chris Archer went 6 2/3 shutout innings, allowing three hits and
striking out eight while evening his record at 4-4 on the season and
collecting his first win since May 16 at Los Angeles Angels and his
first home win since April 19 against the New York Yankees.
The power came from right fielder Kevin Kiermaier and third baseman
Evan Longoria as they combined for back-to-back home runs in the
seventh inning to bust open what had been a tight 2-0 Rays lead.
Archer (4-4) allowed three hits and two walks, struck out eight and
didn't permit a runner to reach third base. The only Astros batter
to reach second was Jose Altuve, who swiped second twice, his
American League leading 25th and 26th stolen bases.
"Obviously, Archer had better command overall," Rays manager Joe
Maddon said. "His slider was definitely alive. He is such a great
athlete and it's a product of his athleticism."
Brad Boxberger, Joel Peralta and Grant Balfour came on in relief to
preserve the shutout for the Rays. Balfour struck out the side in
the ninth inning in a non-save situation.
Kiermaier went deep to right field for his fourth homer of the
season. Longoria connected on his team-leading ninth. It was the
fourth time this season the Rays had produced back-to-back home
runs, and the second time this week. On Tuesday, Sean Rodriguez and
Desmond Jennings accomplished the feat against the Baltimore
"I was frustrated the whole game because I had some opportunities
early and I didn't capitalize on them," said Kiermaier, who left
four men in scoring position during the early innings. "So, it was
nice to get a good pitch to hit and finally do something with it."
Houston starter Collin McHugh had a strong outing in a losing
effort. McHugh struck out six and allowed four hits and three walks
in six innings.
"Collin did a tremendous job," Houston manager Bo Porter said.
"Great attacking the zone with his fastball."
Both runs off McHugh (4-5) were unearned, as shortstop Jonathan
Villar dropped the toss on a potential double-play ball in the
"We should have probably gotten out of the inning in which they got
two runs unscathed," Porter said. "The error there opened up the
floodgates with the extra outs and they took advantage of it."
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Tampa Bay shortstop Yunel Escobar singled up the middle to score
first baseman James Loney, and catcher Ryan Hannigan executed a
perfect bunt to bring left fielder Brandon Guyer home from third
But McHugh was not content to pin his loss on the Villar's miscue.
"Which error? I made an error, too," said McHugh, who threw wild to
first base in the opening inning. "Errors happen. I have as much
confidence in our guys back there as anybody in the world."
Both of the Rays' home runs came off Astros reliever Paul Clemens.
But the win belonged to Archer, who said he believes he can still
"I think everyone saw a lot closer to my potential tonight," Archer
said. "It makes a huge difference when you're pitching from ahead. A
lot of teams have been capitalizing on the one mistake we make and
tonight on the one mistake that they made we were able to make the
most of it."
NOTES: After the Rays dropped two straight games to the Baltimore
Orioles and 17 of their past 22, manager Joe Maddon put his players
through extended pregame hitting and fielding drills prior to
Thursday's game. ... The Rays placed OF/DH David DeJesus on the
15-day disabled list with a fractured left hand, sustained on a
check swing Wednesday. ... The Rays filled the roster spot by
activating outfielder Brandon Guyer from the DL. Guyer, recovered
from a fractured left thumb, completed a five-game rehab assignment
with Triple-A Durham during which he went 8-for-20. ... Astros RHP
Asher Wojciechowski (right lat strain) began a rehab assignment with
Triple-A Oklahoma City on Wednesday night. He started for the
Redhawks and went 3 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on three hits.
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