ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Chris Archer has yet to pick up a win in his first three big-league starts.
But after another impressive performance by the rookie Saturday night, Archer garnered plenty of confidence — and more praise.
Archer allowed two runs in seven innings, striking out 11 in the 4-2, 10-inning loss to Texas.
"Archer did an unbelievable job," 1B Carlos Peña said.
"He was awesome," RF Matt Joyce said.
Archer, filling in for All-Star LHP David Price (general shoulder soreness), was strong from the start, striking out five of the first nine Rangers he faced.
Manager Joe Maddon called Archer's fastball, which reached 98 mph, "off the charts," "hot," and "alive.
Archer also remained poised in hot moments, bouncing back after giving up a two-run homer (on a misplaced slider) to OF Josh Hamilton in the fourth.
"Every time I go out there I expect greatness," Archer said. "I executed a lot of pitches tonight, I was definitely happy with that. I wasn't happy with the loss."
No worries: One thing Archer didn't expect was the sixth-inning warning issued to both benches by home plate umpire Mike Estabrook, after the 23-year-old hit Hamilton up high with a pitch.
Rangers manager Ron Washington came out to argue, with Maddon saying both thought the warning was "inappropriate" as there was no intent."
"I was pretty surprised," Archer said. "I guess the umpire felt like I had gone up and in on a couple guys. He made a reference to that whenever he came out. He thought I was going after people and I definitely wasn't."
Wading IN: RHP Wade Davis, who spent the past two seasons in the rotation, has developed into an effective weapon out of the bullpen, with Maddon saying he has "a lot of confidence in using him almost anywhere."
Davis (3-0, 2.21 ERA) said he has felt really comfortable for the past couple of months, having developed a good routine with the help of the more experienced relievers. It has shown, as 15 of his 16 outings since the All-Star break have been scoreless (0.44 ERA, 29 strikeouts in 20⅔ innings). Davis has struck out the side eight times, most in the AL, with only the Braves' RHP Craig Kimbrel (13) and the Reds' LHP Aroldis Chapman (nine) having done it more in the majors.
"It's fun," Davis said. "You want to go out there and contribute, you want to help the team win. You want to feel like you're part of it, and that's the whole goal."
PRICE CHECK: Price was encouraged Saturday after a second straight day of playing catch, saying he felt "pretty close to normal" and expects to make his next start. Price, whose start Saturday was skipped due to general shoulder soreness, will throw a bullpen session Tuesday in Baltimore and "is still on task" to pitch next weekend in New York, Maddon said.
LINING UP: Maddon said OF Desmond Jennings, who was not in the starting lineup, had some lower-back tightness but was available to pinch-hit and should start today. 3B Evan Longoria played third for the second straight game, though he could DH today, Maddon said.
MINOR MATTERS: Double-A Montgomery lost 10-2 to Mobile (Diamondbacks) in Game 3 of the Southern League South Division championship series. Mobile leads the series 2-1. … Game 2 of the New York-Penn League first-round series between Hudson Valley and Brooklyn was postponed.
MISCELLANY: American Idol finalist Shannon Magrane, the 16-year-old daughter of former Rays broadcaster Joe Magrane, will open for Coco Jones in the postgame concert today. … INF Reid Brignac and Archer will sign autographs today along the rightfield line from 12:15-12:45 p.m.