ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Starting pitchers Chris Archer of the Tampa Bay Rays and Nick Martinez of the Texas Rangers both had one long inning Thursday night. Archer’s was just a little longer and that was the difference in the Rangers’ 5-4 victory.
Elvis Andrus had a two-run single in a four-run second inning in which Archer threw 44 pitches, and the Rangers went on to their fourth straight win.
"Eighty percent of my games have been overly dominant," Archer said, "and prior to tonight, in the ones I wasn’t overly dominant, I felt good because I was in the zone more and actually gave my team a chance. But tonight I didn’t feel like I did my job at all."
Archer skipped a strike three in the dirt and away from catcher Bobby Wilson with two outs, enabling Roughned Odor to reach base with the score still 0-0.
"It hit my wrist and kind of bounced off. I feel bad for Arch because we’re obviously out of that inning and that’s a big, big inning for them," Wilson said.
"We’ve talked about this guy having a big breaking ball in the dirt," Texas manager Jeff Banister said. "It does get away from the catcher from time to time so we want to be heads-up, and Odor ran down safe at first base, which kept the inning alive for us."
Neither starter made it through the fifth inning. Martinez (0.84) and Archer (1.64) entered second and third, respectively in ERA in the American League.
Alex Claudio (1-0) went 1 1-3 innings for his first major league victory. He retired James Loney on a grounder with two on to end the fifth. Neftali Feliz pitched the ninth for his fourth save.
Andrus’ single off Archer put Texas up 4-0. Andrus lined his single to center after Delino DeShields and Shin-Soo Choo both walked on 3-2 pitches with the bases loaded.
Archer (3-4) gave up five runs, four hits and four walks in 3 1-3 innings.
Martinez allowed three runs and six hits over 4 2-3 innings. The right-hander sailed through four innings before allowing three runs in the fifth and getting pulled with two outs in the inning.
Jake Elmore had an RBI single, and Tim Beckham and Kevin Kiermaier had run-scoring grounders off Martinez to get the Rays within 5-3 in the fifth.
Kiermaier’s solo homer in the eighth cut the deficit to 5-4.
Rays third baseman Evan Longoria was scratched from the starting lineup due to flu-like symptoms. That ended his major league-best active streak of playing in 270 consecutive games.
Rangers: OF Josh Hamilton (right shoulder) could join Triple-A Round Rock from extended spring training this weekend. … 1B Mitch Moreland (shoulder) could also play for Round Rock this weekend. … CF Leonys Martin (wrist) hit off a tee. … LHP Matt Harrison (back) threw batting practice to Hamilton.
Rays: RHP Alex Cobb (elbow) plans to decide in the next few weeks if he will have elbow ligament replacement surgery.
Rangers: RHP Yovani Gallardo (2-4, 4.05) is Friday night’s starter against the Rays. He has lost three consecutive starts.
Rays: RHP Nathan Karns (1-1, 4.05) will face the Rangers on Friday night. It’s his first career start against an AL West team.
The announced crowd was just 8,701, the smallest at Tropicana Field since May 23, 2007, against Seattle (8,440). The NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning were playing Montreal in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals in nearby Tampa at the same time. The Lightning played before a sellout crowd of 19,204.