The right-hander combined with four relievers on a four-hit
shutout as the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Los Angeles Angels 3-0 on
Friday night in front of 38,796 at Angel Stadium.
Archer (3-2) conceded a season-low two hits, walked five and struck
out five in 5 2/3 innings for his first win since April 19.
Right-hander Grant Balfour pitched a perfect ninth inning with one
strikeout for his eighth save.
"Everything was on," said Archer, who threw a season-high 104
pitches. "I didn't throw one change-up. I had the type of stuff to
go much deeper in the game, and I wanted to do that.
"But walking away with a victory for the team and shutting out a
good lineup, I'm not going to complain about it."
Archer lost his last start and received no decision in the previous
three after beating the New York Yankees four weeks ago.
"He kept a nice tempo," Rays manager Joe Maddon said about Archer's
performance. "The stuff you saw out there is typical for him. He had
the good-velocity fastball. I thought the slider had better
Shortstop Yunel Escobar gave Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead in the top of the
fifth inning. Escobar hit an 0-2 fastball from right-hander Jered
Weaver (4-3) over the center-field fence for his third home run this
season. Escobar finished 3-for-3 with an intentional walk.
"That home run was huge, man," Maddon said. "It gave us a little bit
of ability to breathe slightly easier."
Archer had retired 12 of 13 batters before the Angels loaded the
bases on three successive walks with two out in the bottom of the
fifth. But first baseman Albert Pujols hit a ground ball to third
baseman Eva Longoria for a fielder's choice that end the inning.
"I threw him a slider down in the strike zone, and he rolled over on
it," Archer said. "That ball hit the chalk and Longy got it right as
it hit the chalk. If it's an inch left, it's a foul ball and we're
talking about a totally different situation."
Since May 7, Pujols is 4-for-38 without a home run or an RBI.
"He's taking good swings," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's
just missing the ball. He's been in a little bit of a downturn but
when he gets it, he keeps it for a long time."
Tampa Bay then scored a run in the top of the seventh. Third baseman
Evan Longoria led off with a walk, stole second base and came home
when first baseman James Loney lined a pitch off the base of the
wall near the right-field foul line. Los Angeles right fielder
Collin Cowgill played the ball quickly to hold Loney to a single.
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The Rays exploited another leadoff walk in the eighth to build a 3-0
lead. Longoria lined a single to send center fielder Desmond
Jennings home after Jennings drew a base on balls and moved to
second one out later when Wil Myers walked.
Weaver scattered two runs, three hits and three walks in seven
innings and struck out five but suffered his first loss since April
6. Weaver and three relievers combined for eight strikeouts.
"This is the best stuff he's had this season," Scioscia said. "He
had good life on his fastball and he pitched a strong game."
NOTES: Tampa Bay 2B Cole Figueroa made his major league debut on
Friday night as a pinch-hitter and defensive replacement. The Rays
recalled Figueroa from Durham (International League) on Thursday to
replace 2B Ben Zobrist, who went on the disabled list (dislocated
left thumb). ... Rays RHP David Price leads the American League with
62 2/3 innings pitched, 70 strikeouts and 67 hits allowed. ... For
the second consecutive game, the Rays wore shorts and lightweight
shirts during pregame. Temperatures reached 93 degrees on Friday,
the fourth day of a heat wave. ... Tampa Bay RHP Alex Cobb (strained
left oblique muscle) will make a rehabilitation start on Saturday
for Charlotte (Florida State League). Cobb will be limited to five
innings or 75 pitches. ... Los Angeles RHP Jered Weaver needs three
strikeouts to pass RHP Mike Witt and move into third place on the
Angels' career list. ... Angels 1B Albert Pujols needs one double to
pass Hall-of-Famer Lou Gehrig and move into 33rd in that category.
Pujols also needs three home runs to reach 505 and surpass
Hall-of-Famer Eddie Murray, who finished with 504. ... Los Angeles
CF Mike Trout began the game leading the American League with four
triples and 52 strikeouts. ... Angels RF Collin Cowgill is batting
.350 in May (14-for-40 before Friday night) to raise his average to
.321. ... Los Angeles IF-OF Grant Green's six-game hitting streak, a
career best, ended Friday night when he fouled out as a
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