Archer picks off Astros batters in one-hit win for Rays

Fri Aug 21, 2015 1:23am EDT
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(The Sports Xchange) - Tampa Bay right-hander Chris Archer recorded the third shutout of his career as the Rays salvaged a series split with a 1-0 victory over the Houston Astros on Thursday.

Archer (11-9) allowed just one hit and issued one walk while recording 11 strikeouts, and needed only 98 pitches to stifle the Astros (66-56), who required walk-off, extra-inning wins to claim the middle two games of the four-game set.

Behind brilliant starting pitching, the Rays (60-61) limited Houston to just eight total runs during the series and will feel a little aggrieved to have not earned more than just a split.

"I thought about the fact that our bullpen needed to breathe a little bit and it was either get 130 pitches and go six or seven (innings), or go eight or nine and give everybody a complete blow," Archer said.

"So yeah, I thought about it. I didn't let it really affect how I was pitching. I pitched normal with the same mentality but I knew that was going to be important."

Rays left fielder Desmond Jennings knocked in the lone run of the game with his two-out single in the fourth inning, scoring second baseman Logan Forsythe.

Archer began his outing with a four-pitch walk of Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, who was subsequently erased as the third out trying to advance on a pitch in the dirt.

The starter struck out Marwin Gonzalez and Carlos Correa in that frame, a foreboding sign of things to come.

"I can't say that was the best but that's got to be right up there at the top simply because it's kind of like an ace knowing what we were faced up against with our bullpen being stretched out the last two nights," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.   Continued...

Aug 20, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports