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Ortiz homers, Archer sets losses record as Red Sox edge Rays (w/ video)

Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field on Friday, Sept. 23, 2016.
Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field on Friday, Sept. 23, 2016.
Published Sep. 24, 2016

ST. PETERSBURG — It was Chris Archer who lightened the mood around his locker after Friday's game, the one in which he set the Rays franchise record with his 19th loss of the season and extended his losing streak against the Red Sox to 11 games.

Archer began by talking about David Ortiz, the Red Sox slugger who is retiring after this season. Ortiz provided Boston with all the runs it needed in a 2-1 victory with a mammoth two-run homer in the first inning.

"We just lost, I'm not trying to be funny, but I'm really glad I'm not going to have to face that guy again," Archer said. "He's a really good hitter."

The AL East-leading Red Sox won their ninth straight, while the Rays (65-88) fell to 1-3 on this final homestand of the year. The 20,543 in attendance included a good amount of Boston fans.

It was Ortiz's 35th home run at Tropicana Field, the most by a visiting player. He has 90 RBIs at the Trop, also the most by a visitor.

Ortiz hit an elevated fastball on a 3-and-2 pitch with Xander Bogaerts on first, driving it 411 feet off the D-ring catwalk in rightfield.

"He put a good swing on it," Rays catcher Bobby Wilson said. "I would say probably 90 percent of the league, 95 percent of the league probably swings through that or pops it up, but unfortunately he is who he is."

The Rays offense was provided by Mikie Mahtook, who homered with one out in the second. They were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left six on base, including runners on first and second in the ninth when rookie Juniel Querecuto struck out against sidearmer Brad Ziegler to end the game.

It was another tough-luck loss for Archer, who is tied with former Ray and current White Sox starter James Shields for the most losses this season in the majors.

His 19 losses broke a tie with Tanyon Sturtze, who lost 18 for the Devil Rays in 2002.

Archer's 11 straight losses to the Red Sox are the most consecutive losses in Rays history to one team. It is the longest losing streak in the majors to one opponent since Mark Buehrle lost 12 straight to the Yankees from 2004-14.

"From a pure stuff standpoint, he's one of the better pitchers in the league, for sure," Wilson said. "Unfortunately his win-loss record doesn't show that."

Archer (8-19) has downplayed the significance of wins and losses. He allowed just the two runs in six innings Friday. It was the 14th time this season that he has allowed two or fewer earned runs in a start, and the fifth time he left one of those starts with the Rays trailing.

Looking over his body of work this season, Archer said he doesn't feel like he has lost 19 times.

"I don't," Archer said, "but it stinks whenever you're on the mound for so many team losses, and a lot of times it goes back to a couple of situations here and there every single time.

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"I just need to be better. I need to be better in those situations."

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