Chris Archer hit hard as Rays drop opener to Orioles
BALTIMORE (AP) — On a night when the Tampa Bay Rays again found it difficult to score, the most surprising aspect of their latest loss was the performance of the usually reliable Chris Archer.
The Rays mustered only six hits, and Archer had the worst outing of his big league career Monday in a 7-1 defeat at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles.
The seven runs and 12 hits that Archer (1-1) allowed were both career highs. After lasting only five innings in his 30th start in the majors, his ERA rose from 1.38 to 4.50.
"I actually felt good about how my stuff was," Archer said. "I just made too many mistakes — and that’s a good lineup."
The performance came less than two weeks after the Rays gave the right-hander a six-year contract that guarantees him $25.5 million.
"If there is anything to take away from this game, I think it’s how positive and encouraging my teammates were," Archer said. "They fully believe in me, and when I came out they all said, `In five days, you’re going to make somebody pay.’"
Archer was outdone by Wei-Yin Chen (2-1), who gave up one run and five hits over 6 1-3 innings.
Chen was facing a Tampa Bay team that has been struggling at the plate. The Rays have scored only 14 runs in their last eight games and have tallied three runs or fewer in seven of the last eight.
"We did hit some balls well. Our geometry is really bad right now. We’re hitting balls at people," manager Joe Maddon said. "We just have to keep going up there and battling through it. It’s just one of those bad periods."
Tampa Bay’s only run came in the sixth inning when Ben Zobrist walked and scored on a single by Evan Longoria.
The outcome, however, was decided long before that.
Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy each had three hits, scored twice and drove in a run for the Orioles, who were coming off a three-game series against Toronto in which they scored only five runs in 30 innings.
In this one, Baltimore built a 6-0 lead over the first three innings and coasted to the finish. The Orioles had 13 hits, including five doubles.
"A lot of big two-out hits, a lot of big RBIs with guys on second," Wieters said. "It wasn’t really the long ball that did it tonight, but we found a way to win."
Wieters gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead with a two-out RBI single in the first inning, and Baltimore added three runs in the second. Hardy doubled and Ryan Flaherty sliced an RBI single past the drawn-in infield before Nelson Cruz and Chris Davis delivered run-scoring doubles.
Doubles by Wieters and Hardy, followed by Steve Lombardozzi’s RBI single, made it 6-0 in the third.
Singles by Wieters, Hardy and Flaherty gave the Orioles a 7-0 cushion in the fifth. The seven runs were more than the Orioles scored in 11 of their previous 12 games.
"It’s nice to go out there and pitch like we did, hit like we did," Hardy said. "It’s just good to play a good game."
NOTES: RHP Jake Odorizzi, scheduled to start Tuesday night for Tampa Bay, experienced flu-like symptoms and was sent back to the team hotel as a precaution. It appeared to be the same virus that sidelined Rays reliever Joel Peralta last weekend. … Miguel Gonzalez is slated to start for the Orioles on what is projected to be a cold, wet Tuesday evening. … Orioles 3B Manny Machado (knee) ran six 90-foot sprints in Florida and is slated to run from home to second base Tuesday, Showalter said. … Tampa Bay optioned LHP Jeff Beliveau to Triple-A Durham and recalled RHP Brad Boxberger from the same minor league club. … Tampa Bay OF Brandon Guyer was interviewed before the game by D.C. sports anchor Lindsay Murphy, who is also his wife. … Since the start of last season, the Rays are 14-1 when Archer goes at least six innings and 2-9 when he doesn’t.