Despite iffy results, Archer feels good after Opening Day start

Righty allows three earned runs in 5 2/3 innings

Despite iffy results, Archer feels good after Opening Day start

ST. PETERBURG -- Chris Archer did not get the results he wanted on Monday, but he couldn't blame the way he felt.

"Execution wise, it's the best I've felt since the beginning of Spring Training," said Archer, who became the first Rays starter not named James Shields or David Price to start on Opening Day since 2008.

The 26-year-old right-hander allowed three earned runs in 5 2/3 innings, surrendering six hits -- two of them home runs -- and a walk while striking out five. He got off to a rough start in the first inning when he threw away a dribbler back to the box that would have been the first out of the game. Instead, Alejandro De Aza reached and later turned into the Orioles' first run of the game.

"I thought Arch threw a really good ballgame," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Just left a couple of pitches up that we wished we had back. ... Kept his composure really well, bounced back and gave us some good innings."

Archer did not appear upset when asked if he had been frustrated to get lifted from the game after just 85 pitches.

"I think emotionally I was a little surprised because my stuff was so good," he said. "At the same time I understand that they didn't want the game to get any more out of hand. Hopefully I build more confidence in our coaching staff that a solo home run and one bad pitch isn't going to dictate the whole outcome of the game."

Archer did express regret about the two-run homer he gave up to De Aza in the fifth.

"There was really one pitch that if I could've executed better ... That was the difference," Archer said. "It was a two-run home run. If it was a solo shot it wouldn't have been that big of a deal. But it was a two-run home run ... the guy put up a good at-bat and worked his way into getting the pitch that I didn't execute. He seized the moment."

The Rays will go with just four starting pitchers for the first part of the season since they don't need a fifth until April 14 due to the off-days. That means Archer will get the chance for a change of fortunes on Saturday against the Marlins in Miami when he makes his second start of the season.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.