BALTIMORE -- Rays hitters backed Chris Archer's quality start with three home runs to lead a 6-3 win over the Orioles on Monday night at Camden Yards.
The win widened the Rays' (65-66) lead over the Orioles (63-68) in the race to claim the second American League Wild Card spot, though both teams still have a tall mountain of teams to climb to earn the spot.
Archer completed his 18th quality start of the season by holding the Orioles to no runs on four hits and three walks while striking out six in six innings. The right-hander earned his 12th win of the season and ended his outing with a 3-6-1 double play that saw him hustle to first after throwing his 113th pitch.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED A homer shy for Forsythe:Logan Forsythe went 3-for-3 in his first three at-bats, leaving himself a home run shy of the cycle when he stepped to the plate in the seventh to face Jason Garcia. But Forsythe flew out to center to end the inning, while also ending his chances of joining Melvin Upton Jr. as the second player in Rays history to hit for the cycle. Forsythe's triple was his first since April 28, snapping a career-long 106-game streak without recording a triple.
New-look O's, same old result: Baltimore manager Buck Showalter looked to reinvigorate his lineup with several drastic changes. Manny Machado made his first Major League start at shortstop. Showalter also started three catchers with Caleb Joseph behind the plate, Clevenger serving as DH and Matt Wieters at first. None of it initially worked as the Orioles were held scoreless by Archer. Baltimore finally ended a drought of 19 consecutive scoreless innings when Jones' single off Andriese in the seventh scored Machado from second.
"It didn't show up on the scoreboard, but that's the only thing we judge it by at the end," Showalter said. "Our guys know that. They talked about some things today, like they do every day. If I told you everything that goes on from 11 o'clock in the morning to the first pitch, that's what everybody does. We don't have a corner on it. We're trying to do something that 29 other clubs are trying to do. It's a challenge." More >
Kiermaier robs Machado: Rays manager Kevin Cash calls Kevin Kiermaier the best center fielder in baseball. Kiermaier validated that statement on the first ball put into play against Archer when Machado led off the game with what appeared to be his 27th home run of the season. But Kiermaier leaped high above the center-field wall and when he came down, Machado came up empty and Archer had recorded his first out of the game. Kiermaier suffered a mild right ankle sprain on the catch and exited the game. More >
Rare rough outing for Chen: Orioles left-hander Wei-Yin Chen (8-7, 3.36 ERA) entered the game 4-0 in his past seven starts. However, he struggled most of the night against the Rays. Chen allowed a pair of towering homers to Cabrera and Longoria. A two-out double by Forsythe in the fifth ended his night, trailing 5-0. Chen was charged with all five runs -- one shy of tying a season high -- on nine hits and absorbed his first loss since July 21.
"Sometimes you try to do something different to help the team," Chen said through an interpreter. "For today's game, I think my performance was not about that. I just didn't perform well."
"Every once in awhile, you're in need of a little different look. Something to take away from Groundhog Day." -- Showalter, on his lineup changes
"I'm just trying to win a game. It was great to be out there and play short for the first time, start a game at short. I mean, it was just another game, another game we needed to win, an opportunity to present ourselves in a good position." -- Machado
"The Orioles are a good team. Their approach against me is very sound. They always drive my pitch count up. They force me to make pitches in tough situations. Great defense helped me out." -- Archer, on his outing Monday night
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Rays have now won 19 of their past 25 games (since May 30) against left-handed starting pitchers.
WHAT'S NEXT Rays:Drew Smyly (1-2, 3.82 ERA) will make his fourth start since returning from the disabled list (torn left labrum) in Tuesday's 7:05 p.m. ET game. The left-hander allowed three earned runs on eight hits Thursday against the Twins. He maintains that he continues to feel well and that any negative numbers since his return have been the result of lack of execution of his pitches.
Orioles: Right-hander Chris Tillman (9-9, 4.58 ERA) is 1-2 in four starts against the Rays this season. He beat them Opening Day and then lost his next two appearances. Tillman did not get a decision in Baltimore's 3-1 loss on July 24. Tillman also suffered two straight losses after enjoying a seven-game winning streak. He has allowed 14 runs over his past 22 innings.