Righty mostly on game before allowing 8th-inning homer in loss
By Sam Blum
ST. PETERSBURG -- Chris Archer picked up his rosin bag behind the pitching rubber and threw it back to the ground in frustration. Jonathan Schoop had just finished rounding the bases after hitting an eighth-inning solo blast that would prove to be the game-winner in a 4-3 Rays loss to Baltimore on Friday.
The Rays' coaches had asked Archer how he felt before he went back out to pitch the eighth inning, and he said he felt great. But with the game tied at 3, he served up a mistake pitch to Schoop on just his second offering of the frame.
"It didn't matter how I felt," Archer said. "I didn't get the job done."
The righty was mostly on his game against the Orioles, throwing 7 1/3 innings. He let them creep back into the game after Tampa Bay got up, 3-1, and then he let Baltimore take a lead it wouldn't give up. It was the Rays' 23rd loss in their past 26 games, their seventh in a row and 11th of their past 12 games.
Archer retired the first seven batters he faced as the Rays got out to a 2-0 lead. They had all the momentum. But a homer and RBI double from Pedro Alvarez and the Schoop shot all added up to the Rays' first loss of the second half and Archer's MLB-leading 13th loss.
"I thought Archer was the best option to get those two righties," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "I still feel that way. He just left a pitch up."
Archer said he was "feeling up" the strike zone, and that there were a lot of personal positives for him to take from this game, where he reached the eighth inning for just the third time this season. Still, he lost his sixth straight decision. He hasn't won at home since April and had his fourth multihomer start of the season.
It was still another loss for a Rays team that is going through the worst stretch in the American League in the past 13 years.
"Any time I'm asked, I'm going to take the ball," Archer said. "Whether it's every five days or whether I've thrown 100-some pitches, whether we've come off a break or whatever. They asked me how I felt; I said I felt great. So it had nothing to do with how I felt. I didn't execute a pitch. I left a cookie out there for a guy with a lot of power, and he made the most of it."
Sam Blum is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.