ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays pitcher Chris Archer struck out 11 in seven innings Tuesday, but a pair of home runs -- one a no-doubter and the other disputed -- saddled the righty with the defeat.Archer tied a franchise record with his 23rd career double-digit strikeout game -- tying him with David
ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays pitcher Chris Archer struck out 11 in seven innings Tuesday, but a pair of home runs -- one a no-doubter and the other disputed -- saddled the righty with the defeat.
Archer tied a franchise record with his 23rd career double-digit strikeout game -- tying him with David Price -- but he was disappointed in a review that didn't go the Rays' way following a leadoff homer in the 4-2 loss to the White Sox.
Umpires initially ruled White Sox second baseman Yolmer Sanchez hit a home run after deeming that it hit the portion of the catwalk that counts as a homer, according to Tropicana Field ground rules. After a crew chief review, the call was ruled to stand.
Archer settled in after the mysterious homer to strike out nine by the end of the sixth inning, and did not allow another run until the seventh. Leading off that inning, right fielder Avisail Garcia deposited a hanging slider onto the tarp in the left-field bleachers. Archer would strike out two more batters to end the frame.
"Archer threw the ball really well," manager Kevin Cash said. "I thought the first three or four innings he was searching a little bit, fell behind a lot of guys but made some big pitches later in the count. And then as the game went on I thought he got stronger and continued to get stronger."
Of Archer's 11 strikeouts, nine came using his slider. No starter in the Major Leagues has struck out more batters using the slider, with Archer picking up his 78th punchout on the pitch Tuesday. The next closest pitcher, Nationals righty Max Scherzer, had 53 slider strikeouts entering the night.
Tampa Bay entered the game after being swept by the Seattle Mariners -- a three-game series in which no Rays starter lasted more than five innings. Archer covered seven, something he has achieved seven times in 13 starts this season, the second-highest number in the American League.
"[Archer] gave us every opportunity to win, exactly what we wanted coming into today after the off-day, after a tough three-game series in Seattle," Cash said.
The Rays' workhorse broke another franchise durability mark Tuesday, eclipsing 100 pitches in his 22nd straight start to move past James Shields. Archer also surpassed Shields with his sixth career loss in a game in which he struck out 10 or more batters.
Archer had received 5.31 runs of support on average before the game, 16th-best among qualified starters. The offense failed to help him out against the White Sox, stranding 11 baserunners.
Connor Mount is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg.