Miller's blast lifts Archer past Padres in shutout
By Sam Blum and Greg Zeck
ST. PETERSBURG -- After offensive outbursts the previous three games, it took only one swing to provide Tampa Bay with enough offense to win its fourth straight and complete a sweep over San Diego. Brad Miller hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Chris Archer made it stick in a 2-0 Rays win on Wednesday afternoon at Tropicana Field.
Archer pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings and picked up his seventh victory, striking out nine. It was the first time all season that he kept an opponent off the board for at least seven frames. Archer tipped his cap to a standing ovation as he walked off the mound.
"Nice sweep. That was outstanding," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Guys played really good. Nice interesting mix of games. Last night, we pour on a bunch of runs. Today, their pitcher did a tremendous job."
Padres starter Christian Friedrich nearly matched the Rays' ace in a strong outing. He lasted 6 2/3 efficient innings, only giving up the Miller blast. The loss was San Diego's fifth in a row, and the Padres have scored just six runs during that entire stretch.
Rays closer Alex Colome had his first save of more than three outs since June 3. It was Tampa Bay's seventh shutout of the season and fifth time winning four straight games.
"I felt good today. It was also nice to have the guys back there making great plays," Archer said. "Any time I can give [Xavier Cedeno] a night off … or Erasmo [Ramirez] and some of those other guys, it's a good day."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED On cue: After hitting two home runs in Tuesday night's win over San Diego, Miller wasted no time doing what he does best on Wednesday. In the first inning, he crushed his 25th home run of the season to right field to make it 2-0. Miller had never hit more than 13 home runs in an season.
"I'm picking the right pitches to swing at," Miller said. "When you do, you can't miss them, because you might only get one in an at-bat. That's what I'm trying to do, hit the one pitch I get every at-bat."
Dead-left Schimpf: Tampa Bay's Mikie Mahtook thought he had at least a single, if not extra bases, when he ripped a line drive to left field. Ryan Schimpf had a different idea, as he made a diving catch to rob Mahtook and the Rays of another possible run for the second out of the fourth inning.
Souza-Man: Right fielder Steven Souza Jr. made a full-extension dive to rob a hit from Travis Jankowski in the eighth inning. Nick Noonan was already on first and Jankowski represented the tying run. The Padres would have been in prime position to make a comeback, but Souza had other plans.
"No, I've never seen it happen. I've seen it maybe happen on TV in bloopers, or something. But hopefully I don't make that list." -- Nick Franklin, on getting hit in the head with a bat while sharing the on-deck circle with Kevin KiermaierMore >
"There just can't be panic in the at-bats because these things just snowball, especially for the younger guys when they don't do so well. Chris Archer is tough. … If we chase down in the zone from time to time, that's the price of doing business against a guy like that. More or less, guys have to continue to grind out at-bats." -- Padres manager Andy Green, on the San Diego offense that has scored just six runs in its past five games
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS Evan Longoria played his 1,236th game in a Rays uniform on Wednesday, passing Carl Crawford for the most in franchise history. Longoria received a standing ovation from those in attendance when it was announced on the scoreboard.
WHAT'S NEXT Padres: San Diego looks to win a series after dropping its past four. It opens a four-game set at home against Arizona after going 2-7 on a nine-game road trip. Paul Clemens (2-2, 4.73 ERA) takes the bump against Archie Bradley (4-8, 4.91 ERA) in the 7:10 p.m. PT tilt.
Rays:Matt Andriese (6-4, 3.36 ERA) will look to bounce back from his worst start of the year when Tampa Bay hosts the AL West-leading Rangers at 7:10 p.m. ET on Friday. Andriese allowed six runs in five innings in his last start against the Yankees on Saturday, and he has struggled since re-entering the rotation on Aug. 2.