In the past four games, the Rays' offense has managed to score just two runs. When asked what words he would use to describe Tuesday night's game, manager Joe Maddon managed a smile.
"Scoreless on our part," Maddon said. "It's difficult how long this has gone on. Two runs in the last four games combined. ... We just have to figure out how to score a run or two."
Archer allowed one run on five hits and two walks while striking out eight in seven innings. But all he got for the quality start was his third loss of the season.
"It's frustrating," Archer said. "But these guys are working. ... We're doing everything we can and the ball's not bouncing our way."
Rays starters have now gone 16 consecutive games without posting a win despite posting quality starts the past two games.
The fifth inning proved to be the Rays' Waterloo on Tuesday night.
Garrett Jones opened the Marlins' half of the inning with a single to right. One out later, Adeiny Hechavarria singled to right, and with two outs, Marlins pitcher Henderson Alvarez singled to center to load the bases for Christian Yelich.
"You never want to [walk the pitcher]," Archer said. "If you were to tell me before the game that their pitcher was going to get a hit on a fastball up and away at the velocity it was at, I would have told you, 'No way.'"
Archer got ahead 0-2 in the count to Yelich, but the outfielder managed to draw a walk to force home Jones for a 1-0 Marlins lead.
"Just left a couple of balls up in the middle of the plate and then backed myself into a 3-2 count, and instead of executing a pitch and letting him put it in play, I put it in the umpire's hands," Archer said. "And it turns out he made a great call. I should have thrown it over the plate. I shouldn't have been in a 3-2 situation. But that's how it rolls sometimes."
Archer did not look at the call, but fellow starter Alex Cobb did.
"I got reassurance from Cobb [that the pitch was a ball]," Archer said. "He came up and looked at it. It was borderline, but it was borderline off. And I've gotten the call before. And I haven't gotten the call before. In that situation, tip my hat to the umpire for making the right call."
But Archer effectively minimized the damage in the fifth, giving up just the one run. Marlins manager Mike Redmond came away impressed.
"That's the first time I've seen him pitch in person," Redmond said. "I like the way he goes about it. You can tell he's athletic. That was a great pitchers' matchup tonight."
Meanwhile, the Rays fizzled before having the chance to turn in a threat.
Yunel Escobar singled off Alvarez with one out, but was thrown out while attempting to steal second base when the ball was thrown back into the infield to Alvarez. Maddon issued a challenge, but the umpires' ruling was that the call stands.
So rather than having a runner at second -- or first -- with one out, the Rays had no runners aboard with two outs when Jose Molina singled. Archer grounded out to end the inning.
Alvarez got the win for the Marlins, receiving substantial help from his fielders, who accounted for three double plays.
The Rays took their second 1-0 loss in club history in which a walk forced home the winning run. On June 26, 2005, Seth McClung walked Miguel Cabrera to force home the only run in a 1-0 Marlins win over Tampa Bay.
The Rays have now been shut out an American League-leading seven times this season.
"We just have to swing the bats," Maddon said. "We have to score more runs. You have to hide a few of your blemishes. There has to be some Clearasil out there to hide some of these [mistakes]."
The Rays will play 18 of their next 21 games at home.
"I think this is the most pivotal part of the season," Archer said. "It's that part of the season where we're looking to gain some ground. And being at home is going to be nice. Get into that routine. Having everything not be foreign and hopefully we can go on a nice little stretch here."