In his previous two outings, Archer had been rocked by the Red Sox and Yankees for nine combined earned runs on 15 hits in seven innings, unable to record more than 12 outs in both games.
"It was good to see [Archer] bounce back," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He's had some rough starts here [lately]."
The Rays' righty exited after the first two White Sox batters took him deep on Sept. 2 in Chicago. He pulled himself because his arm didn't feel right, and team doctors later diagnosed him with right lateral forearm tightness, breathing a sigh of relief it wasn't more serious.
Though Archer returned without missing much time, he didn't look quite right in his first two starts following the injury. But Tuesday, with his three pitches all working, Archer looked like his usual self.
"I felt strong on the mound for the first time in a few weeks, so I think that was the biggest component," Archer said of his outing.
When Archer left the game against the White Sox, he said the forearm tightness prevented him from getting proper extension on his pitches. That led to his pitches hanging up in the strike zone, higher than they should. The White Sox hit two of those hangers out that day.
Archer was asked on Tuesday how the return of his arm strength could impact that extension, or his velocity, or anything else on the mound.
"Definitely not less velocity; I mean my velocity's been pretty much the same," Archer said. "Just that little extra crispness on your fastball, breaking ball and changeup. It's not necessarily a velocity thing, it's just that sharpness on the pitches. Over the course of 33, 34 starts, you're going to have a few where you're not going to be as crisp. It was just good to feel good. But very unfortunate that I didn't give it a good enough effort to win."
The loss was hard to stomach Tuesday, but in the long term, it's nice for the Rays to know their top pitcher seems to have recovered from his bout of forearm trouble.
Connor Mount 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.