ST. PETERSBURG -- Brad Miller accounted for most of the Rays' offense and Chris Archer ended the season on a high note as the Rays defeated the Orioles, 4-3, on Saturday night at Tropicana Field.The win gave the Rays a series win heading into the final day of the season,
ST. PETERSBURG -- Brad Miller accounted for most of the Rays' offense and Chris Archer ended the season on a high note as the Rays defeated the Orioles, 4-3, on Saturday night at Tropicana Field.
The win gave the Rays a series win heading into the final day of the season, when the teams will meet again in a 3:10 p.m. ET contest.
Corey Dickerson and Adeiny Hechavarria cobbled together singles to start the Rays' fourth. After Miguel Castro uncorked a wild pitch that allowed the runners to advance, Miller rerouted a 2-2 Castro slider 427 feet into the right-field stands to give the Rays a 3-0 lead.
"I was able to get a slider, two strikes, [and] I wasn't able to get the job done the first time," said Miller, who hit into a fielder's choice that cut a run down at the plate his first time up. "I just wanted to cash in."
Wilson Ramos' sacrifice fly in the seventh pushed the Rays' lead to 4-0. Pedro Alvarez's two-run single off Tommy Hunter in the eighth cut the lead to 4-2 and Anthony Santander had a sacrifice fly off Alex Colome in the ninth to equal the final score.
Archer started for the Rays and snapped a five-game September losing streak by pitching five scoreless innings to pick up his 10th win.
"I didn't have a ton of wins, but I gave my team a chance," said Archer, about his season. "When I'm training in the offseason, that's what I'm thinking about. I'm thinking about giving my team the best possible chance to win."
Castro, who was making his first Major League start, took his third loss.
"Overall, [I'm] happy for the opportunity," Castro said through interpreter Ramon Alarcon. "It's been a long season, many different experiences. Happy to be out there, healthy and just trying to compete."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Finishing strong: Miller has had a season he'd like to forget. The Rays' second baseman hit 30 home runs in 2016, but never really got on track this season. While Miller hasn't come close to last season's numbers, he's still trying to finish strong. His three-run homer in the fourth injected some life into the Rays' offense Saturday night. Miller's ninth home run of the season was a barreled ball that had a 112.4-mph exit velocity with a 22-degree launch angle according to Statcast™, and gave the Rays the lead.
"Brad Miller, big hit, good to see," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Obviously, we all know he's had a trying year. But that was a big boost right there. A 0-0 ballgame, to get a big hit."
KK's disruption: Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier singled off Donnie Hart to lead off the seventh. With Lucas Duda at bat, Kiermaier stole second, then moved to third when he faked as though he were breaking for third, causing Hart to balk. The speedy Kiermaier then scored on Ramos' sacrifice fly to center.
"You have to get on first first, before you do anything," Kiermaier said. "I just try to create havoc on the bases any way I can. It's all about getting to third as fast as you can before two outs."
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"I think it was as much that they were making some mistakes and we were doing something with them. Archer's got what, 200 innings? One of the best pitchers in the league, and we didn't do a whole lot off him to create very many opportunities." -- manager Buck Showalter, on the Orioles scoring in the eighth to snap a stretch of 23 consecutive scoreless innings
"Different pitchers value it more than others. I know that's a priority for [Archer]. He prides himself on taking the ball every fifth day, he prides himself on getting out there and staying out there. That 200-inning mark, there's only a handful of guys that get there every year and he's done it now a couple of times." -- Cash, on Archer reaching 200 innings
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Archer became the third Rays pitcher to record three or more consecutive seasons of 200 innings pitched. James Shields did it six consecutive seasons, from 2007-12, and David Price did it from 2010-12.
Orioles:Kevin Gausman will get the ball in the Orioles' 2017 season finale Sunday. While the righty was thought to be done for the season, Gausman wanted to take the ball one more time. He is coming off a disappointing outing in Pittsburgh in which he gave up six runs over four innings.
Rays:Blake Snell gets the nod in the season finale against the Orioles as the Rays aim to complete a series sweep. On Tuesday against the Yankees, Snell took his first loss since July 24 against the Orioles when he lasted just one-plus inning, the shortest start by a Rays pitcher (excluding injury or weather delay) since Jeff Niemann on Sept. 24, 2011, vs. the Blue Jays.
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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2004.
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.