ST. PETERSBURG -- Chris Archer's dominating pitching led the Rays (9-10) to a 2-0 win over the American League East-leading Orioles (11-7) Monday night at Tropicana Field.
"A lot of pitches early that appeared as pitches you want to hit and left there," manager Buck Showalter said of what made Archer so effective. "That's what good pitchers do … We kind of got caught with a guy with a real good track record finding his step tonight against us."
Archer allowed no runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings while striking out 10 en route to his first win of the season, and his first since Aug. 31. Enny Romero, Erasmo Ramirez, Xavier Cedeno and Alex Colome worked together to hold the Orioles scoreless for the final 2 1/3 innings.
"Good win," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Nice to get back home, win against a team that's been playing very well. Great for Arch tonight, great for [Curt] Casali. Two guys that have been grinding it out a little bit, and they come up and help us win a ballgame in a big way."
Kevin Gausman matched Archer through four innings before surrendering an RBI double to Curt Casali in the fifth. Gausman, who began the season on the disabled list with a shoulder problem, took the loss in his 2016 debut.
Pedro Alvarez, who had just one extra-base hit in his first 27 at-bats, doubled twice and was a bright spot for an Oriole club that has a 17-inning scoreless streak.
"I've been feeling pretty good the last couple of days, and I'm not going to say something that's just overnight," Alvarez said. "Nothing's changed since day one. I'm always trying to take good swings at pitches. I just happened to make contact today."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Clutch Casali: In a game where both starting pitchers were stingy with runs, Casali came up with the big hit. The Rays' catcher doubled to left off Gausman with two outs in the fifth to drive home Steven Souza Jr. from first base and stake Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead. He later took one for the team when Vance Worley nipped him with two outs and the bases loaded in the sixth to force home the Rays' second run.
Gausman debuts: The Orioles righty, reinstated from the disabled list prior to the game, lit up the radar gun early in his debut. With a fastball clocked as high as the triple digits, Gausman kept the Rays off the board until his final inning. Gausman struck out seven in the 91-pitch performance.
"At times, I tried to throw a little too hard and not focus on hitting my spots," Gausman said of what happened in the fifth. "Also, I threw some great breaking balls that they just kind of didn't bite at. And that's just kind of hats off to them. Those are pitchers' pitches, that's what you want to do in that situation. I got myself in some bad counts. When you end up 1-2, 0-2 and end up getting to 3-2, throwing multiple pitches -- that's what gets your pitch count up." More >
Setting the tone: Archer got out of the gate quickly Monday night. Five of the first six outs he recorded were strikeouts. More importantly, he managed the early innings efficiently and unscathed. Archer threw just 52 pitches through his first four innings and needed just 93 to get through 6 2/3. More >
O's bats go cold: After failing to score in the final eight innings of Sunday's loss in Kansas City, the Orioles came up short on Monday to extend their scoreless streak to 17 frames. Baltimore has just seven hits over that stretch.
"You could tell with Archer, the way he was pitching, it was going to be a fine line of margin for error there. A lot of those close pitches go either way," Showalter said. "Kevin attacked the strike zone, Archer has such a good changeup. That was really impressive for both of them. If you are a fan you like watching both pitchers pitch, they just were a little better than us."
"Honestly, it felt like I hadn't pitched in years. At times I had to step off the mound and refocus and try to tell myself to calm down." -- Gausman, on his season debut
"[Third-base coach] Charlie Montoyo, send of the year right there. Sending Souza on that play, that's not an easy thing to do. That ball didn't even get to the wall. But I think he knew the importance of getting that run and getting the lead." -- Cash, on Montoyo giving Souza the green light when rounding third to score the Rays' first run
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
• Before Monday's win, Archer had a 3-12 record with a 4.97 ERA in his previous 20 starts.
• Mark Trumbo extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a second-inning single.
WHAT'S NEXT Orioles: Ubaldo Jimenez will take the mound for the Orioles, hoping to give them a long start. Baltimore is averaging five innings from its rotation this season. Jimenez is coming off of his own five-inning outing, a no-decision against Toronto.
Rays:Jake Odorizzi will make his fifth start of the season, and he'll be happy to be taking the mound at Tropicana Field, where he has pitched to a 2.56 ERA since the start of the 2014 season. He is 2-3 with a 4.94 ERA in nine career appearances against the Orioles.