Archer stymies Sox in strong spring debut

Archer stymies Sox in strong spring debut

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Chris Archer set the tone for the Rays on Sunday in a 7-3 win over the Red Sox at Charlotte Sports Park.

Making his first start of the spring, Archer allowed no runs on a hit and a walk in two innings. He added an exclamation point to his performance by striking out Bryce Brentz with a 95-mph fastball on the final pitch of his outing.

"I felt good. I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish," Archer said. "Just out there having fun, it was really fun to be out there in the spectrum with the umpire, the fans, the batter. It was fun."

Archer on fastball command

Rays catching hopeful Jesus Sucre helped his cause by throwing out Brock Holt trying to steal in the first on the back end of a strike-em-out, throw-em out double play. Sucre also drove in the Rays' first run with an RBI single in the second.

Rickie Weeks Jr., whom the Rays are looking at as a possible right-handed complement at first base, homered off Marcus Walden in the third to push the Rays' lead to 2-0.

Weeks Jr.'s solo homer to left

Luke Maile singled home a run in the fourth and Joe McCarthy doubled home another in the sixth. McCarthy added a two-run homer in the eighth, and Maile singled home another to push the lead to 7-3.

Red Sox starter Hector Velazquez, who most recently pitched for the Mayos de Navojoa in the Mexican Pacific Winter League, allowed a run on three hits and a walk while striking out four in his two-inning stint.

McCarthy's two-run home run

"I was a little nervous at the start, being in the United States for the first time and playing for a big league club for the first time," Velazquez said through an interpreter. "But once I got the first out, all the nerves went away and I was able to bear down."

Marco Hernandez's one-out triple to right off Ryan Yarbrough ignited a Red Sox rally in the seventh. Matt Dominguez singled home Hernandez to score the Red Sox's first run. Cole Sturgeon added a two-run single to cut the lead to 4-3.

Hernandez's triple off the wall

Red Sox: The Red Sox will host the Cardinals on Monday afternoon in Fort Myers, Fla., with first pitch at 1:05 p.m. ET on Gameday Audio. Former first-round pick Brian Johnson will make the start. Also expected to see action are Noe Ramirez, Robby Scott, Chandler Shepherd, Kyle Martin and Brandon Workman.

Rays: The Rays travel to Clearwater, Fla., on Monday afternoon to play the Phillies in a 1:05 contest on MLB.TV. Blake Snell will make his first start of the spring. Also expected to see action are Ryan Garton, Diego Moreno, Jeff Walters, Jose Alvarado, and Hunter Wood.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for since 2005.

Corey Long is a contributor to

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.