ST. PETERSBURG -- After five innings Saturday night, the Rays appeared to be in grand shape to even their weekend series against the Rangers. Then came the nightmare inning that led to a 4-3 Texas win at Tropicana Field.The Rangers (47-50) won their second consecutive game, while the Rays (51-47)
ST. PETERSBURG -- After five innings Saturday night, the Rays appeared to be in grand shape to even their weekend series against the Rangers. Then came the nightmare inning that led to a 4-3 Texas win at Tropicana Field.
The Rangers (47-50) won their second consecutive game, while the Rays (51-47) lost their third consecutive game.
Rays starter Chris Archer was cruising after five innings, showing electric stuff and pitching with a 3-1 lead. To that point, the only blemish on the right-hander's line was a solo homer to Elvis Andrus, and he'd already notched eight strikeouts.
When Archer struck out Joey Gallo to start the sixth, it looked like more of the same. But Texas tied the game when Mallex Smith could not handle Adrian Beltre's two-out drive to center field, allowing two runs to score. Beltre then advanced to third on an Archer wild pitch, then scored on another Archer wild pitch to give the Rangers a 4-3 lead.
"One of those situations kind of goes our way this time," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "We haven't had a whole lot of those. We were able to take advantage of it."
Snakebitten much of this year in close contests, the Rangers improved to 9-15 in one-run ballgames.
• Gifted a break, Rangers revive one-run magic
"It came down to kind of one play," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "I think Arch was really good against a good lineup. Against a lineup that battles him really well. For whatever reason, they did the same in Texas, but I thought he got the better of them. We just unfortunately couldn't make a play behind him. Sometimes that's just the way that it goes. It's definitely a tough pill to swallow."
The Rays took an early lead when Steven Souza Jr. singled off Andrew Cashner with one out in the third to drive home Timothy Beckham with the first run of the game. Evan Longoria added a two-run single to put the Rays up, 3-0.
After the third, the Rays' bats went silent. Picking up the quick outs he sought, Cashner allowed three runs on four hits and three walks while striking out four in six innings to earn his fifth win of the season.
"Cashner was good tonight," Banister said. "Thirteen or 12 three-pitch-or-less action situations for him. Executed the high four-seam program tonight, inside as well, which opened up the outside."
Archer gave the Rays his fifth consecutive quality start, allowing one earned run on four hits and a walk while striking out 11. But he took his sixth loss of the season.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Mallex misplay: Archer found trouble in the sixth after surrendering back-to-back one-out singles to Shin-Soo Choo and Andrus. The runners advanced to second and third on a ground out to bring Beltre to the plate. He took two fastballs before driving a 95.6-mph fastball to deep center field. Smith appeared to be in position to make the catch, but the ball glanced off the Rays center fielder's glove. Two runs scored on the play to tie the game at 3.
"Just shanked it," Smith said. "Just a bad play, that's about it. I was right there up under it and I just missed it."
Andrus goes deep: Archer was perfect through 3 1/3 innings before Andrus ran into a 2-1 fastball and deposited the ball 423 feet into the left-field stands. According to Statcast™, Andrus' barreled blast had a 104-mph exit velocity with a 27-degree launch angle, and it cut the Rays' lead to 3-1.
"We're a contender team. We aren't in good shape, but we're still the reigning [AL] West champions. That's our attitude. That has to be our attitude from now on. Whatever happened during the season is in the past." -- Andrus, on if the Rangers' back-to-back wins inspires confidence in management approaching the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline
"I looked at [Archer] and shook my head. We kind of understand. We were on the same page with it. I knew that play needed to be made. Point blank. Period." -- Smith, on his botched play in the sixth
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
In the seventh, Jonathan Lucroy became Archer's 10th strikeout victim of the game. The strikeout also gave Archer double-digit strikeouts for the 24th time of his career, moving him past David Price for the club record.
Rangers:Tyson Ross (2-2, 7.22) will be on the hill looking to correct the mistakes that led to a career-high nine runs allowed last time out versus the Orioles. The Rangers' series finale against the Rays will start at 12:10 p.m. CT on Sunday.
Rays:Jake Odorizzi (6-4, 4.37) gets the nod in Sunday's series finale against the Rangers in a 1:10 p.m. ET contest at Tropicana Field. He has yielded 21 home runs this season, and he has surrendered at least one home run in 14 consecutive appearances.
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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.
Connor Mount is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg who covered the Rangers on Saturday.