Impressive Archer gets short end of duel

Right-hander matches career high with 12 strikeouts in eight shutout innings

Impressive Archer gets short end of duel

ST. PETERSBURG -- In the midst of a pitchers' duel with the Mariners' Felix Hernandez, Chris Archer could have let the moment get to him, but he didn't.

Instead, he went toe-to-toe with the Seattle ace, allowing two hits through eight scoreless innings while matching a career-high with 12 strikeouts en route to a no-decision in the Rays' 3-0 loss to the Mariners.

"I try to keep the same approach that I have been since Spring Training, since last year, since the year before that," Archer said. "The effort that I put out there, or the result that I put out there today was one of my best, but my mentality was the same, honestly."

After allowing a one-out double to Seth Smith in the opening frame, Archer began his dominant performance, retiring the next 12 Mariner batters. Logan Morrison logged a one-out single in the fifth, but the right-hander quickly started up a new streak, retiring the last 11 batters he faced and seemingly improved as the game went on, needing just 14 pitches to finish off his final two innings.

To add to that, Archer recorded a strikeout in each of the innings he pitched, and fanned multiple batters in three of the innings on his way to a season-high 12 strikeouts, surpassing the 11 he had against Toronto on April 16.

"As far as how I felt with all three pitches, I've never felt better," Archer said. "I've had some better outcomes as far as pitching a little bit deeper, but that's the best that I've felt in a really long time."

With 95 pitches under Archer's belt, Rays manager Kevin Cash made the decision to turn to Brad Boxberger, who surrendered the game-winning, three-run home run to Nelson Cruz, despite hearing his starter's case to return to the game.

"The reasoning why I came out, and I understand why," Archer said, "but I felt so good and pitches were relatively low and I knew that Felix was going back out and I wanted to be the guy to put another zero on the board."

It was Hernandez who eventually put that final zero on the board after finishing off a four-hit shutout in the ninth, but Archer's equally dominate outing is something that he believes he'll be able to lean on in the future.

"This was an ideal outing for me," Archer said. "I just felt really good. This is going to be a game that I re-watch and say 'Alright, what was my demeanor, what was I doing,' because that is ultimately what I should strive to do every single night."

Troy Provost-Heron is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.