Archer allowed the first two batters to reach on Jacoby Ellsbury’s leadoff single to right on the first pitch of the game, and a Brett Gardner walk. However, the ace coaxed a couple of poppers out of Carlos Beltran (to short) and Brian McCann (to third), before Alex Rodriguez went down swinging.
From there, Archer pitched to one over the minimum over the next three frames. He did give another single to Ellsbury, who was subsequently caught leaning and picked off in the fourth.
Unfortunately New York took a three-run lead in the sixth inning after Archer walked Gardner on four pitches with one out.
Archer, attempting his second successful pickoff of the night, sailed his throw to Logan Morrison past first, allowing the Yankees’ outfielder to safely make it to third. Then with the infield in, Beltran hit a grounder to Taylor Motter’s backhand side at second. Motter looked Gardner back to third, yet bobbled the ball as Beltran reached on the second gaffe of the inning. McCann ― the Ray killer ― put the Yankees on the board when he hit a missile that deflected off Morrison’s glove. And though Motter was able to turn it into an out at second, Gardner crossed the plate, breaking the deadlock.
Two pitches later, Alex Rodriguez hit career homer 693 on a 95 mph middle-in fastball, capping the rally.
The miscues came right after the Yankees flashed the leather to keep the game scoreless. Tanaka held a no-no through the front four inning before Steve Pearce hit a leadoff liner to center in the fifth. Pearce moved into scoring position when Tanaka uncorked a wild pitch, and the Rays looked primed to take advantage. However, it wasn’t meant to be.
LoMo ripped a comebacker that Tanaka snared, and the pitcher was able to tag out Pearce between second and third. Then with two outs, Corey Dickerson drove a ball to deep left field, but Brett Gardner made a leaping catch against the wall to take away an extra-base hit and a run.
Meanwhile Beltran plated New York’s final run with two outs in the eighth inning, on a solo homer to right field. Archer now has allowed 12 homers in 11 starts this season; compare that to 19 total in 212 innings of work last season.
Overall, Archer gave up four hits and three walks while striking out seven in his longest outing of the year, collecting a much improved 4 H/4 R/1 ER/3 BB/7 K line on 113 pitches (68 strikes). Interestingly enough, Archer didn’t throw a slider until the 40th pitch of the game. The righty talked about that, and his much improved outing, after the contest.
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Tanaka gave way to Andrew Miller (who worked a scoreless eighth) after hurling seven efficient shutout innings on just 82 pitches.
With two outs in the ninth, Pearce gave the Rays their only run of the game. The Lakeland Launcher worked a 10 pitch at-bat against former Ray Kirby Yates before taking him deep to left-center.
Because of the homer, Aroldis Chapman entered the game to collect the final out of the game. Chapman collected a whiffy strikeout of Morrison, although the ball bounded away from McCann, allowing LoMo to safely reach first. Nevertheless Desmond Jennings went down looking on three pitches. The final pitch of the game: a blazing 102 mph fastball, sounding the death knell for Tampa Bay.
The New What Next
The Rays and Yankees continue their three-day holiday on Saturday when Matt Moore gets the start opposite of Michael Pineda. Moore is facing the Yankees at the Trop for the first time since May 25, 2013. He has thrown a total of 19 innings in his last four starts with only one being a perfect inning. Pineda snapped a career-long five-game losing streak in his last outing when he beat Oakland. He is 2-2 all-time against the Rays, including 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA in three starts at the Trop. You can read more on the pitching matchup in our series preview.
Rays 5/28/16 Starting Lineup
― Brad Boxberger pitched 2/3 of an inning at Montgomery on Friday. He threw nine pitches (six strikes) and allowed one hit while fanning one. It should have be his last rehab outing.