Archer sets Rays' single-season K record

Righty strikes out Yanks' Gardner to surpass Kazmir

Archer sets Rays' single-season K record

ST. PETERSBURG -- Chris Archer set the Rays' single-season strikeout mark when he fanned Brett Gardner for the second out of the third inning during Wednesday's 3-1 loss to the Yankees.

Is Archer #AwardWorthy? Vote now for Best Starting Pitcher

"It's cool," Archer said. "I read somewhere that that record stood for like nine seasons. And considering the pitchers that have come through this organization that are known for strikeouts. Matt Moore, Alex Cobb, [Jake] Odorizzi's capable of striking guys out. Not to mention guys who aren't here anymore. Like [James] Shields, who logged a ton of innings, so by nature he's going to have a lot of strikeouts because of the innings. And then the possible Cy Young this year, David Price.

"So there's been a lot of good pitchers, and to show that my swing-and-miss capabilities are up there with those guys, it's a nice accomplishment for sure."

With his 240th K of the season, Archer surpassed the record set by Scott Kazmir during 2007. Archer struck out Jacoby Ellsbury swinging for the first out of the third to tie Kazmir's mark.

The right-hander is paving new ground in his Major League career this season. His previous season high for strikeouts came in 2014, when he struck out 173.

Archer celebrated the new mark by striking out Alex Rodriguez looking to end the third. He finished the game with seven strikeouts to give him 243 for the season.

"Strikeouts, it's not everything, but it's a huge stat that kind of defines how good his stuff is," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "But there's a lot more involved in that in the kind of season Arch has had.

"He goes out and gives us a chance to win just about every time he takes the ball. And he does it via the strikeout quite a bit against an extremely difficult division in the American League East to make some really good hitters to miss. That's a huge credit to him."

Archer fans seven Yankees

Archer took his 12th loss of the season despite allowing just two earned runs in six innings. An offshoot of Archer's strikeouts is often an elevated pitch count. He stood at 115 pitches when he was removed from the game.

"That's how he pitches," Cash said. "And that will be something that he will always battle. But it's not his fault he has good stuff and guys don't seem to be able to put it in play early. He's going to get foul balls. He's going to get a lot of swing and miss.

"There's going to be some games where he's efficient and guys put the ball in play early. But generally, when you strike out a lot of guys, you're going to see some higher pitch counts."

Archer reached a milestone Wednesday night, and chances are he will add to his club record if his remaining starts of the season are anything like his previous 31.

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