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Rays' Archer pitches well enough to win

Chris Archer gives up a first-inning run then dominates into the seventh, striking out nine and coming out with a lead.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Chris Archer gives up a first-inning run then dominates into the seventh, striking out nine and coming out with a lead.

ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Chris Archer pitched well enough to earn his ninth win of the season Sunday, but he didn't get it because the Rays bullpen could not hold a two-run lead in what became a 5-3 loss.

Archer held the first-place Blue Jays to two runs on five hits in 61/3 innings, with the second running scoring with RHP Brad Boxberger on the mound.

"I felt good," Archer said. "Just unfortunate that we couldn't win (Sunday), couldn't do enough to win."

Manager Kevin Cash said Archer was "outstanding." He elevated his fastball for strikes and got swings and misses with his slider. Archer finished with nine strikeouts.

When asked specifically what he liked about Archer's outing, Cash said, "Really, the way he approached their lineup, you didn't see him get out of control and too overamped. He was in the zone quite a bit, around the zone quite a bit. He threw a tremendous ball game."

Had the Rays held on to the lead, Archer would have been the first 17-game loser to beat a 17-game winner (Jays LHP J.A. Happ) since Detroit RHP Jack Morris beat California LHP Chuck Finley on Sept. 18, 1990.

TALKING SHOP: RHP Eddie Gamboa had two goals this weekend: make his major-league debut and meet with Jays RHP R.A. Dickey, a fellow knuckleballer.

Check and check.

Gamboa, who pitched in his first big-league game Friday, met Dickey before Sunday's game. The two talked for about 20 minutes outside the Rays dugout.

"Fundamentals," Gamboa said. "It's talking to the best of the best, and it's all about the fundamentals of baseball. Staying behind the ball, having it go toward where you want to throw it. Just that reassurance. I'm hoping to get to his level so just picking his brain, getting what his triggers are."

Gamboa can talk pitching with the rest of the Rays staff, but he's the only knuckleballer among them, so it's difficult for them to relate to what he's going through on the mound.

"The little things are huge when it comes to the knuckleball," Gamboa said, "so it was great to talk to R.A."

LOGAN ON FIRE: 2B Logan Forsythe tied the franchise record by reaching base safely 11 times in the three-game series. He had seven hits and four walks.

3B Evan Longoria set the record against the Yankees in the final series of the 2011 season. Forsythe tied it last season against the Orioles.

SPEAKING OF LONGO: Longoria drove in his 85th run with a first-inning double. He is on pace for 102 this season. Of those RBIs, 40 have either tied the score or given the Rays the lead.

Sunday's RBI tied the score at 1.

Longoria is batting .345 this season with runners in scoring position.

PITCHING IN: RHP Danny Farquhar and RHP Ryan Garton each pitched scoreless innings in the loss.

Farquhar improved his ERA to 1.84 in 12 appearances since his last recall. Garton pitched a scoreless inning in all three games against the Jays.

"Both of them have thrown the ball really well," Cash said. "It's nice to see."

NOTEWORTHY: Losing pitcher Kevin Jepsen has allowed runs in six of his past nine appearances. The home run by Toronto's Russell Martin was the 11th Jepsen has allowed this season. … LF Corey Dickerson snapped an 0-for-18 skid with an RBI single in the third. … The Rays are 0-67 when trailing after eight. … Jays RHP Joaquin Benoit, a former Ray, recorded the 500th strikeout of his career.

Rays' Archer pitches well enough to win 09/04/16 [Last modified: Sunday, September 4, 2016 10:41pm]
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