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Rays fall on WP after Archer's strong start

MLB.com @wwchastain

ST. PETERSBURG -- Chris Archer's best wasn't good enough, as a quality start turned into a 2-1 Rays loss to the Blue Jays Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field.

"I think I did pretty well," Archer said. "It's just unfortunate that it wasn't quite good enough."

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ST. PETERSBURG -- Chris Archer's best wasn't good enough, as a quality start turned into a 2-1 Rays loss to the Blue Jays Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field.

"I think I did pretty well," Archer said. "It's just unfortunate that it wasn't quite good enough."

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Alex Colome uncorked a wild pitch in the top of the ninth and Kevin Pillar raced home from third base with the winning run, snapping the Rays' six-game home winning streak and preventing Tampa Bay from reaching .500 on the season. The loss left the Rays at 15-17 with an off-day on Monday before they welcome the Braves for a two-game set.

Video: TOR@TB: Pillar scores go-ahead run on wild pitch

Archer made his eighth start of the season and looked dominating while moving through the Blue Jays' lineup.

"I feel like the past three or four starts, I really turned the corner," said Archer when asked about the way his season is going. "But I want to win ballgames, so I'm just going try and continue to get better, fill up the strike zone, and hopefully it will start bouncing our way on the days that I pitch."

The only blip on Archer's line came in the fifth. Anthony Alford singled to open the inning and stole second before moving to third on Luke Maile's flyout to right. Aledmys Diaz's infield single then scored Alford.

Video: TOR@TB: Diaz drives in a run, leaves game with injury

That was all the Blue Jays could muster against Archer, who allowed just five hits while striking out six in seven innings to earn a no-decision.

Archer appeared headed for his third loss of the season until Carlos Gomez led off the Rays' half of the eighth with his fifth home run of the season, which came on a 2-2 cutter from Ryan Tepera. But the Blue Jays answered in the ninth when Pillar doubled off Colome to lead off the inning and he moved to third on a groundout, putting Pillar in position to score what turned out to be the deciding run.

Video: TOR@TB: Gomez ties the game with a long homer to left

"Well, we just couldn't quite close it out," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Archer threw the ball really well. Gomez with the big hit to tie it right there, then we gave it right back to them.

"... Impressed with the way Arch threw the ball. Their guy [Marco Estrada] did a nice job of keeping us off balance enough. That's the way it goes. We pitched well tonight. But Archer, I'm really impressed that he gave us every opportunity to win the game, but we just couldn't capitalize."

Archer's outing was his longest start since Aug. 27 of last year at St. Louis when he also threw seven innings. He did not allow a walk for the first time since Sept. 2 against the White Sox in Chicago.

Though disappointed that his team lost, Archer told reporters he felt great about the way the Rays are playing.

"We've been playing really, really good baseball the past two weeks," Archer said. "Even a couple of losses we've had, we've played great baseball. It's a tough sport. We've gone 11-4 the last two weeks. We'll take streaks like that, certainly."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Mallex Smith tried to steal home with two outs in the bottom of the third with C.J. Cron at the plate facing an 0-2 count. Instead, the Rays' speedster was tagged out by Maile, the Blue Jays catcher, for the final out.

Video: Smith tagged out stealing home

Smith explained that he'd studied Estrada and that he was slow in his delivery. So given the situation, Smith felt his ploy was worth the risk.

"Cron's been getting on base a lot, pretty much every game," Smith said. "Nothing wrong with him leading off the inning, 0-2, took a gamble. Got shut down."

Smith has been caught stealing home three times this season.

SOUND SMART
Colome took his fourth loss, which is the most among Major League relievers. His four losses are the most by a Rays reliever through the team's first 32 games.

Video: TOR@TB: Cash discusses Colome's outing in 2-1 loss

HE SAID IT
"Yeah, we did a lot of 'what not to do on the bases' today. There were a handful of things that probably prevented us from scoring runs." -- Cash, on the Rays' baserunning

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Gomez stole second base with one out in the third, prompting the Blue Jays to challenge the call. After a 47-second review, the call at second was overturned, making the 2-4 caught stealing play the second out of the inning.

Video: TOR@TB: Maile throws out Gomez on overturned call

UP NEXT
After an off-day on Monday, the Rays welcome the Braves to Tropicana Field for a two-game series. Blake Snell will start Tuesday night's contest, which begins at 7:10 p.m. ET. Snell is on a roll, having won his last four decisions spanning five starts. Sean Newcomb will start for Atlanta.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Tampa Bay Rays