Chris Archer battled Friday night, ultimately posting a 5+ IP/5 H/3 ER/2 BB/8 K line on 108 pitches.
I battled, Archer said. Mission number one every time I take the mound is to get a team win and we did that. I’m happy.
The Rays ace needed 33 pitches to get through a sloppy one-run first, yet he minimized the damage by striking out Pablo Sandoval to end the inning. That began the string of seven consecutive punch outs, tying a record set by Andy Sonnanstine in 2007 against the Marlins. And while he allowed a base hit in the fourth, and a walk in the fifth, the righty cruised through Boston’s batting order until an ugly sixth inning.
Tampa Bay charged back to take a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the first against the LHP Wade Miley. Brandon Guyer slapped a leadoff double to right-center on the first pitch he saw, then scored when Mikie Mahtook soft served a single into center, tying the game at one. Mahtook moved up to second on Mookie Betts’ fielding error. Evan Longoria was next, and the third baseman plated a run on an RBI double to left after seeing eight pitches from the southpaw. Longoria moved to third on a sacrifice-fly by Logan Forsythe, before Steven Souza Jr. ― fresh off the DL ― singled to center for a two run advantage.
Miley settled down after that, allowing just one runner into scoring position over the next five innings, surrendering only two hits.
Archer started the sixth with a two run lead, yet Tampa Bay ended the frame down by one. Archer allowed an infield single through the hole in short by Xander Bogaerts, before David Ortiz blooped a single into center, putting runners at the corners with none out. After 108 pitches, Rays skipper Kevin Cash pulled Archer in favor of LHP Enny Romero, who entered to face a pair of lefties.
Travis Shaw welcomed Romero by lining a 2-2 cutter to right for an RBI double. Pablo Sandoval knotted the game at three by hitting an 0-2 single toward short, where Asdrubal Cabrera made a diving stop. Yet Cabrera couldn’t fire off an accurate throw to Richie Shaffer at first, resulting in a runners on the corners with one out situation. Brandon Gomes replaced Romero, and a pair of fly balls (including a Ryan Hanigan sac-fly) brought home Shaw with the lead run.
Down by a run, Kevin Kiermaier led off the seventh with hustle double to right, then found himself at third after being wild pitched up 90 feet. However, pinch-hitter JP Arencibia went down swinging, and Guyer hit a fielder’s choice to third for out numero dos. Kiermaier, who was off on contact, was thrown out at the plate on Guyers FC. Finally, Mahtook ended the inning with a fly ball out to left center.
Andrew Bellatti battled through a two-walk eighth, keeping the Rays within a run.
Junichi Tazawa took the mound with a one run lead in the bottom of the inning. While Longoria quickly fell behind Tazawa, he took a 2-2 pitch to right-center for a double. Needing to come up big, Forsythe plated the tying run on a single to right, then was promptly wild pitched to second. A simple tie wouldn’t do, and Cabrera made up for his throwing gaffe by belting a two-run homer (his 12th) to center for a two-run lead.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 12, 2015
But the Rays weren’t done! Souza Jr. beat out an infield single to the swarthy Sandoval at third, then was wild pitched to second before stealing his way to third. Not to be left out, Arencibia leveled a monster shot to section 143 (cough, three feet to my left) in left field off Noe Ramirez, the third pitcher of the inning.
It was the 19th homer by a Rays catcher this season, one shy of a franchise record. That put Andrew Bellatti on the winning side of the ledger.
Brad Boxberger came on to close out the game in the ninth with a comfortable four-run lead. Still, one couldn’t help but feel a bit nervous after the travails Boxberger has been through this season. The righty fanned Josh Rutledge (swinging) before allowing a Bogaerts ground ball single to center. Boxy came back with a huge three pitch strikeout (swinging) of Big Sloppy before Shaw put runners on the corners with a single to left. Yet Brad wouldn’t be defeated on this fine eve, as the righty coaxed coax a game ending infield popper out of Sandoval with the four run margin intact.
The New What Next
Matt Moore (1-3, 8.74) is set to make his second start since returning to the team from a stint at Triple-A Durham. He’ll be opposed by Rick Porcello (7-12, 5.12 ERA). Moore showed progress in his last outing, a 4-2/3-innings outing against the Yankees. Moore’s command of the strike zone improved dramatically en route to four flawless innings prior to getting in some trouble in the fifth. Porcello has delivered a quality start in both of his appearances against the Rays this year. He’s pitched to a 1.61 ERA in 22-1/3 innings across three starts since his late-August return from the disabled list. You can read about the pitching matchup in our series preview.
Rays 9/12/15 Starting Lineup
― Catcher JP Arencibia has five homers in 13 games; per Elias Sports, the only Rays to do so in less, Jose Canseco in 12 (’99) and Ty Wigginton in 11 (’06)