CHICAGO — RHP Chris Archer avoided the 20th loss he didn't care much about and reached the 200-inning milestone he did in the Rays' 5-3 rain-delayed win over the White Sox on Thursday.
Archer allowed three runs over 62/3 mostly solid innings, leaving with one on and the Rays ahead by two, ensuring he wouldn't supplant Mike Maroth, from the 2003 Tigers, as the last big-leaguer to lose 20.
Archer (9-19) was successful in reaching 200 innings for a second straight season, joining James Shields (six straight), David Price (three) and Matt Garza (two) as the only Rays to do so.
He just missed getting his ERA under 4.00 for the season, finishing at 4.02. And he struck out five to total 233, currently second in the AL.
"It was a nice way to finish the season,'' Archer said
Archer, crediting C Bobby Wilson for his pitch calling, started strong, allowing just three singles through five shutout innings, then got the first out of the sixth to reach 200 innings.
But the next batter, Tim Anderson, lashed a ball to the rightfield corner that Mikie Mahtook played into a triple then scored on an infield out.
Archer had more trouble in the seventh. Leading 5-1, he got two quick outs but then walked Al Avila and allowed a two-run homer to Carlos Sanchez.
A double by No. 8 hitter Leury Sanchez — on a ball LF Corey Dickerson couldn't handle — ended Archer's night at 104 pitches. RHP Brad Boxberger got them out of the inning.
Archer hadn't engaged in the talk about the possibility of 20 losses, sticking to his view that wins and losses don't provide the proper measure of a starting pitcher, so it wasn't like he was relieved.
"Honestly, I never let those type of things creep into my mind because it's pointless to think about negatives,'' he said. "I'm just glad I don't have to answer the question.''
Reaching the 200-inning milestone — 201 1/3 to be exact, in 33 starts —- was something he was happy to talk about.
"That was nice because more than anything else I'm trying to make every start, I'm trying to pitch 200 innings. That's my No. 1 priority,'' he said. "So the first half of the season was up and down, but to accomplish that feat was really nice for me personally. But there's still a lot of room to improve.''
The win snapped a six-game losing streak for the 66-93 Rays, who head to Texas for the final three games of the season. The game was delayed 35 minutes after the eighth inning. RHP Alex Colome finished for his 36th save.
The Rays went ahead on a second-inning single by Alexei Ramirez, ending a string of 41 innings, dating to Saturday, without a lead. They made it 2-0 in the fourth on a homer by Mahtook then added three in the eighth with RBIs from Curt Casali, Kevin Kiermaier and Evan Longoria, his 96th of the season. Longoria doubled in the ninth for his career-high 78th extra-base hit and career high-matching 169th hit.
BATTLING: Though the Rays had lost six straight and nine of 10, manager Kevin Cash insisted it was more a matter of the players they are missing due to injury than the ones they have not playing hard.
"There's no give up, no lack of effort," Cash said. "We've got half of our lineup right now that are getting opportunities. The injuries stink, but they do allow for some opportunities. … Guys are busting it out of the box, they are getting down the line. We've been pitched well against."