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Archer nearing personal, franchise marks

MLB.com @wwchastain

ST. PETERSBURG -- Talk about lightning. See Chris Archer of late. He's always been a strikeout pitcher, but lately he's magnified the art of the 'K'.

Archer moved to 9-7 on the season Tuesday night after limiting the Blue Jays to three runs, one earned, on four hits and a walk while striking out 10 in six innings during a 6-5 win at Tropicana Field.

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ST. PETERSBURG -- Talk about lightning. See Chris Archer of late. He's always been a strikeout pitcher, but lately he's magnified the art of the 'K'.

Archer moved to 9-7 on the season Tuesday night after limiting the Blue Jays to three runs, one earned, on four hits and a walk while striking out 10 in six innings during a 6-5 win at Tropicana Field.

View Full Game Coverage

In his last seven starts, Archer has struck out 61 and walked just eight.

"I think when he's able to locate his fastball like he did, it opens so many things for him," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He's going to get strikeouts. The stuff's too good not to.

"The strikeouts looking, then the chase. He throws the fastball down at the knees and, he kind of has, it's like at will with his slider below. It's impossible for hitters to lay off. It looks just like a fastball coming out of his hand, it's 90 mph as opposed to most guys' sliders in the mid-80s."

The only earned run the Blue Jays scored against Archer came on a home run to Toronto's leadoff hitter Norichika Aoki on the second pitch of the game. But the Rays' offense quickly got into gear, and soon, Archer and the Rays had a 4-1 lead.

"It's attack mode at all times because the lineup that they put out there today was pretty potent," Archer said. "Steve Pearce batting in the sixth or seventh hole. Even when Kevin Pillar got thrown out, Ezequiel Carrera came into the game hitting .291. He's not a joke. Ryan Goins is capable of taking you deep. So you have to be on attack mode at all times regardless of the score."

As if to prove Archer's point, the Blue Jays rallied in the fifth with a little help from the Rays. Miguel Montero struck out for what should have been the second out, but reached first thanks to catcher Wilson Ramos' passed ball. Carrera followed with a double to right that Steven Souza Jr. dove for and missed, allowing the runners to reach second and third with one out. Goins singled home one and Aoki's sacrifice fly scored another to cut the Rays' lead to 4-3.

"I know Souza, on the play, he's doing everything he can to make a play for his buddy, and for his teammate, and it didn't happen," Cash said. "And it kind of put us in a bind right there. But I thought Arch kept his composure. Made some pitches. And he gave us a chance to win the game."

Archer has nine double-digit strikeout games this season, tying David Price in 2014 and Archer in 2015 for most in a single season in franchise history. He has 217 strikeouts in 172 1/3 innings this season, leaving him 35 strikeouts shy of his career high (252), which he established in 2015.

Archer seemed most pleased that the team managed to win its second consecutive game.

"It was nice," Archer said. "We've been grinding a little bit here. It's nice for the offense to come out and put up a bunch of runs early, and I think that kind of relaxed the team. We had some margin for error and we came through it with a W."

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

Tampa Bay Rays, Chris Archer