ST. PETERSBURG — Chris Archer knew it had been a while since his last major-league win.
A few months more than he thought, going all the way back to June 6, 2019, for the Pirates, with 13 more outings to come that season before he was shut down in August due to injury; he missed all of last season.
Saturday, as he got the win in the Rays’ 11-4 victory over the Twins, was a day to look forward. The five innings and 78 pitches were highs for his abbreviated and interrupted (by injury and family issues) season, and even at this late date he feels it’s a sign of good things to come.
“I want to provide length,” Archer said. “I think that’s one thing I can give this team, and quality length. My breaking ball wasn’t quite as good there towards the end. But throwing 78 pitches, completing five, it was huge going forward. We still have a lot of baseball left. And if I can provide length, it’s going to bode well for everybody.”
Archer gave up the four runs (including two homers), allowed four hits, struck out three and walked four, with 46 of the 78 pitches for strikes, getting his fastball to 95 mph a few times. The Rays had the bullpen in action, but Archer said he was pleased, especially to get through the fifth.
“It was great,” he said. “Obviously I walked more than I wanted to, but it just gave me confidence to go out there and push the pitch count to 78, which is the most pitches I’ve thrown in a long time. The team, we got a big win, and I took that next step in my pitch count/innings limitations also.”
His last win as a Ray? May 17, 2018, a few months before being traded to Pittsburgh. “Sheesh, it was a long time,” he said. “Less gray hair, too.”
Lefty Dietrch Enns worked the final three innings for his first career save and became the MLB-record 13th different Ray to earn one. “It’s a credit to all those guys,” manager Kevin Cash said. “It’s a credit to just the amount of quality pitchers that we know that we can rely on in different save situations.” The 1973 Rangers had the record of 12 until the Rays tied it in last year’s abbreviated 60-game season. Saturday, in their 136th game, they broke it.
Medical matters: Choi, Phillips, Wisler
First baseman Ji-Man Choi tested his previously strained left hamstring, going 0-for-5 with two walks in a doubleheader for the Florida Complex League team. Outfielder Brett Phillips, sidelined since Monday with a right-ankle sprain, played in the first game as the DH, going 1-for-4 with a home run. Cash said there was a chance both would leave with the Rays after Sunday’s game for the nine-game, 10-day road trip that starts Monday in Boston. Choi is eligible to be reinstated; Phillips on Thursday. … Reliever Matt Wisler, out since Aug. 16 due to right middle finger inflammation, felt “very, very good” after a 24-pitch bullpen session Friday, Cash said, and will go through an additional test Sunday pitching for Triple-A Durham.
• The announced crowd of 13,861 was the largest of the seven-game homestand that ends Sunday.
• Joe Ryan, traded from the Rays to Minnesota in the Nelson Cruz deal in July while in Tokyo for the Olympics, said it felt like home to be at the Trop and see his former mates. Ryan made his major-league debut Wednesday.
• Luis Patino starts Sunday for the Rays, confident based on his past two starts that he has made the proper adjustments since walking five in three innings when facing the Twins on Aug, 15.
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