Archer brings 'A' game against Blue Jays

Archer brings 'A' game against Blue Jays

ST. PETERSBURG -- Chris Archer brought his "A" game Saturday night. The Rays' ace came away with a no-decision in the Rays' 3-2 win in 11 innings, but he showcased why he's so highly-regarded.

Archer allowed two runs on five hits and three walks, while striking out eight in 7 2/3 innings for his second quality start in two outings this season.

Through four innings he continued to dominate as no one reached base against him until the fifth. Archer threw 49 sliders that ranged between 83.8 mph and 90.9 mph, producing seven swinging strikes and nine called strikes. And he threw 53 fastballs that ranged between 92.8 mph and 97.1 mph, averaging 95.2 mph.

"I think what we saw him have so much success [with] and kind of set up the game was that he was down in the zone with the fastball and the slider," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He proved to that lineup that he was going to be able to pick up strikes at the knees. And when he does that, it's very tough to cover both of them."

Archer's third K in a row

When asked about his performance, Archer told reporters he "just liked that" he was able "to compete and keep the team in the game."

"The opposing pitcher, he's really good," said Archer of Blue Jays starter Aaron Sanchez. "He had a tremendous year last year and he picked up right where he left off last season. I knew our bullpen was taxed from the past few games, so I was glad I was able to pitch deep and keep the game close."

As far as the pitching matchup, Archer noted that he tries to treat every game the same.

"Whether it's a tight game or I have a little wiggle room, I trying to stay locked in because that's the only way I know how to be successful," Archer said.

Cash was asked if Archer's two starts had brought to mind his 2015 season when he was lights-out in the first half en route to being named to the American League All-Star team. Cash said that was mentioned on the Rays' bench.

Archer said he had not thought about his season having any similarities to the 2015 season. But he did say, "I do feel really good, though."

Good news for the Rays. Bad news for opposing teams.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.