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Archer pays for location issues with homers

Orioles' familiarity and patience at the plate adds to hurler's problems
MLB.com @wwchastain

Chris Archer got visited by his old nemesis Monday night, the long ball. The Orioles hit three home runs against the Rays' ace in their 6-3 win.

Archer carried a 3.20 ERA into his fifth start of the season, and of the 25 hits he'd surrendered in 25 1/3 innings, none were home runs.

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Chris Archer got visited by his old nemesis Monday night, the long ball. The Orioles hit three home runs against the Rays' ace in their 6-3 win.

Archer carried a 3.20 ERA into his fifth start of the season, and of the 25 hits he'd surrendered in 25 1/3 innings, none were home runs.

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That changed with two outs in the sixth and the Rays leading 3-1. Hyun Soo Kim homered, then Jonathan Schoop followed suit to tie the game. Adam Jones added a two-run homer to left with no outs in the seventh to give the Orioles a 5-3 lead they would not give up.

"Somebody can go out and shove for six innings," Jones said. "In that seventh inning, you never know what could happen. That's why we play. Because there's no predictions and no assumptions in this game."

Archer made 33 starts in 2016. Of the 183 hits he surrendered in 201 1/3 innings, 30 were home runs.

According to Statcast™, Archer's location appeared to be the culprit Monday night, and not anything dramatically different with his stuff.

Video: TB@BAL: Archer retires Trumbo to evade trouble

The Orioles only put balls into play that were relatively in the strike zone, and the three home runs were close to the middle of the plate.

"Honestly, that last pitch that I threw to [Jones], anybody in their lineup would have done what he did, because it was just the worst possible pitch at the worst possible time with the worst possible outcome," Archer said.

Thus, much of the credit must go to the Orioles' hitters who were patient and waited to get pitches in the zone.

"In general, there was a few pitches I wish I could have back, and that's baseball," Archer said. "They did a good job of capitalizing on some mistakes. I wish I could have done a little bit more, got a few more outs, and gave up a few less runs. We fought, we were playing in tough conditions. Wish I could have closed that last inning out with no runs."

The Orioles' plate discipline also was a contributing factor to the five walks on Archer's line.

"These guys know him pretty well," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "They have good at-bats. Even some of the walks were some really good at-bats. They lay off some good pitches he generally gets swings at."

All told, Archer gave up six hits and five walks in 6 2/3 innings while striking out five, and he came away with his first loss of the season to move to 2-1 with a 3.94 ERA.

"So, going into my next start, I plan on executing at a higher level, even if it is just three or four more pitches that I have to execute," Archer said. "It has to be done."

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

Tampa Bay Rays, Chris Archer