ST. PETERSBURG — Chris Archer spoke Friday of growing his game, of becoming that pitcher who can be depended on to pitch deep into a game and give the bullpen a rest.
That’s what David Price could do.
But with Price now pitching for the Tigers, who on the Rays could fill that void?
Archer feels he can. And in his first post-Price trade start, that’s what he did.
Archer went six innings Saturday in the Rays’ 10-3 win against the Angels at Tropicana Field.
He might have pitched deeper if not for a long, three-run fourth inning by the Angels. But he was able to go six, because he got the big outs when he needed them.
The Rays gave him a six-run lead after two innings.
“Then it was up to Archie, who did bend, did not break,” manager Joe Maddon said.
Archer, facing the tying run with two outs in the fourth, got Kole Calhoun to look at a called third strike to end an Angels rally.
He walked Mike Trout to start the fifth, then retired the next three, beginning with strikeouts of Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton.
“He needed to do that,” Maddon said. “That’s what he’s got to be able to do.”
Archer earned his seventh win of the season.
“I felt like I was in total control of my mind, my body, my delivery,” he said. “I didn’t execute those pitches but it was one of those nights where the team gave me plenty of wiggle room, so three runs were plenty, more than enough to win.”
The win was the Rays’ 12th in the past 15 games. A win today would clinch their ninth winning series in their past 10.
The offense came alive against C.J. Wilson, who returned from the disabled list Saturday but lasted just 11⁄3 innings.
Evan Longoria got things started with a two-run homer in the first. The Rays then chased Wilson with a four-run second.
James Loney started things off with a single. He’s reached base safely in 21 straight games, the third-longest streak of his career.
Curt Casali drew a walk. Logan Forsythe singled home Loney to give the Rays a 3-0 lead.
Casali went to third on Forsythe’s hit, and that set up the first-and-third bunt play the Rays favor. Casali easily scored when Desmond Jennings bunted toward first base. Wilson fielded the ball but could not get the out at first.
Ben Zobrist then bunted his way on and the Rays had the bases loaded.
The Rays lost to the Angels 5-3 on Friday because they came up empty in the ninth when they loaded the bases with no outs.
Brandon Guyer, who drew a walk as a pinch-hitter during the ill-fated ninth, made sure this bases-loaded situation wouldn’t waste away. He made it 6-0 and spelled the end of the night for Wilson with a two-run single to center field.
“Whenever we play Wilson, he normally gets the better of us and it was unusual to see that moment,” Maddon said.
The rest was up to Archer.
The Angels reached him for three runs in the fourth. The big moment, according to Maddon, was a one-out walk to Erick Aybar that put runners at first and second.
The Angels cut the Rays’ lead in half and Calhoun was batting with runners on second and third and two outs when Archer got him with a 3-2 fastball.
“It’s huge, but again, we had the lead, a big lead, and I wasn’t afraid of making a mistake,” Archer said. “I just wanted to execute a pitch and I did that.”