Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Archer sharp, Longoria homers as Rays beat Blue Jays

ST. PETERSBURG — The urge to feel some burden from a newly minted fortune would be only natural for anyone, much less a thoughtful and insightful 25-year-old pitching in the major leagues without even a full season of experience to draw on.

But Chris Archer didn't let it enter his mind.

Not when his parents got to town to add to the flow of congratulations for the new contract, announced Wednesday, that guarantees him $25.5 million over six years. Not when a random man ID'd him during lunch Thursday asking for a cut. And certainly not when he was on the mound against the Blue Jays, his strong outing, plus a franchise-record-tying home run by Evan Longoria, leading the Rays to a 7-2 win and a split of their season-opening series.

"Never thought about it," Archer said. "That's a part of me trying to strengthen myself mentally so the outside factors don't affect me when I'm in between the lines."

Archer wasn't overly dominant or particularly dazzling. But he hung three zeroes as his mates took a 4-0 lead, then bounced back after a fourth-inning bout with passiveness cost him two runs to finish strong, allowing four hits and striking out seven over six solid innings.

"I saw really confident ," manager Joe Maddon said. "There was never any panic in him, even when they got a couple points. I liked his whole demeanor. I thought it was very professional. I didn't see any adverse effect of this new signing."

Longoria knew what it was like, having signed a couple of big deals of his own.

"I know both of the ones that I've been able to sign, I went out there a little more nervous," he said. "For him, being a pitcher, it's different. You only get one opportunity every five days to go out there and do what they do. So I think (his performance) really speaks to his maturity as an individual and why the organization was so eager to make a deal happen with him, and ultimately why it happened. And I think he went out there and proved it tonight."

Archer had some help, though not many were there to see it, the Tropicana Field gathering of 9,571 (smallest since April 2012) making the total attendance for the three days after the sold-out opener 31,492.

Shortstop Yunel Escobar (in talks with the Rays for his own extension) made a diving, run-saving play. New catcher Ryan Hanigan made his first Rays hit count, driving in the first run. David DeJesus scored twice in his return to duty after a Monday foot injury. Longoria hit a three-run homer that was the Rays' first of the season and his 163rd, matching Carlos Peña's team career high. And Joel Peralta got four outs on just 16 pitches, lightening the load for the rest of the bullpen.

Archer started well, showing no signs of any burden and quite a bit of the promise the Rays saw in making the massive investment, which could reach $43.75 million over eight years. Maddon was impressed with how he came back after allowing the two runs, raising his velocity and his intensity.

Archer, crediting the defense and the run support, insisted he can do better. But just because he can.

"It's just baseball," he said. "I'm here to have fun. I'm here to execute. And I was able to do that tonight, with no other thoughts."

Archer sharp, Longoria homers as Rays beat Blue Jays 04/03/14 [Last modified: Friday, April 4, 2014 8:54am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Aaron Hernandez had severe CTE; daughter sues NFL, Patriots

    Bucs

    BOSTON — Tests conducted on the brain of former football star Aaron Hernandez showed severe signs of the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and his attorney said Thursday that the player's daughter is suing the NFL and the New England Patriots for leading Hernandez to believe the sport …

    Aaron Hernandez's lawyer says the former New England Patriots tight end's brain showed severe signs of the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy. [AP photo]
  2. Bucs' Josh Robinson excited for return to Vikings

    Bucs

    For much of Josh Robinson's four seasons with the Vikings, there was excitement leading up to the arrival of the $1.1-billion U.S. Bank Stadium, which opened last season, just as Robinson signed with the …

    Josh Robinson (26) tackles Chicago punt returner Eddie Royal (19) during a game between the Bucs and Bears in 2016. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  3. For starters: Rays at Orioles, meeting up with ex-mate Tim Beckham

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 6:05: Cash gave both CF Kevin Kiermaier and SS Adeiny Hechavarria a day off, noting they have been playing pretty much everyday. ... That also gave them a chance to look more at two of their younger position players, OF Mallex Smith and INF Daniel Robertson. ... Cash said he was happy for Beckham that he …

    Tim Beckham made a smashing debut with the Orioles, hitting .394 with six homers and 19 RBIs in August.
  4. From the archives: Account of famed Riggs-King match heightens Tampa mob intrigue

    Tennis

    With the Sept. 29 opening of "Battle of the Sexes" — the movie starring Emma Stone and Steve Carrell about Billie Jean King's landmark 1973 tennis win over Bobby Riggs — we thought there might be renewed interest in this 2013 Peter Jamison story from the Tampa Bay Times.

    Emma Stone as Billie Jean King and Steve Carell as Bobby Riggs in "Battle of the Sexes."  [Melinda Sue Gordon, Fox Searchlight Pictures]
  5. It's not a game, but the names are all the same in this football family

    Footballpreps

    TAMPA — A coach yells across the field into a scrum of blue-and-white clad football bodies at Jefferson High: "Kim Mitchell! Kim Mitchell, come here!"

    These twins are not only identical, but they have almost identical names. Kim Mitchell III, left, and Kim Mitchell IV are  talented football players at Jefferson High with Division I-A college offers. Kim  III wears No. 22 and plays cornerback while Kim IV wears No. 11 and plays safety. (Scott Purks, Special to the Times)