Rays Vault: Archer ties club K mark

July 4th, 2021

MLB.com is digging back into its massive video vault to uncover classic plays that you have loved, forgotten about or, perhaps, are discovering for the very first time. Watch these moments and many, many more on the MLB Vault YouTube page.

June 2, 2015: Archer ties Rays record with 15 Ks
Chris Archer tied the franchise record set by James Shields (on Oct. 2, 2012) with a 15-strikeout, no-walk performance over eight dominant innings in a 6-1 win over the Angels. The right-hander allowed one run on six hits as he threw 105 pitches to carve up an Angels lineup that included, among others, future Hall of Famers Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. Archer was in command of his fastball and slider throughout the outing, striking out seven batters in the first three innings alone. Archer said that day he had no idea he'd matched Shields' tough-to-top Tampa Bay record until Evan Longoria informed him after he left the game. "Longo told me after the eighth, 'Congrats on tying the franchise record,'" Archer told reporters. "If you're out there counting strikeouts, either you're really desperate for them or you're just so out-of-this-planet good that the game's easy."

May 17, 2010: Jason Bartlett's walk-off bunt
After scoring two runs in the first inning then allowing Cleveland to come back, Tampa Bay tied it up in the eighth. Both clubs went scoreless in the ninth and the 10th, then Rays relievers Lance Cormier and Dan Wheeler kept the Indians off the board in the top of the 11th. Facing reliever Jamey Wright, whose 19-year career took him to the Rays three years later, John Jaso reached on a one-out infield single then moved to third on Gabe Kapler's single to right. Up came Jason Bartlett, who dropped a well-placed bunt to bring home Jaso and end the game.

July 14, 2009: Crawford earns All-Star MVP
With Joe Maddon managing the American League All-Star team the summer after the Rays' first trip to the World Series, Tampa Bay was well-represented in the 2009 All-Star Game, with its entire coaching staff and five players on the roster. And Carl Crawford represented the Rays well individually, hitting a single and making a home run-robbing catch in left field to thwart Brad Hawpe in the seventh inning. It was, as Commissioner Bud Selig said after the game, "a game-saving catch, an absolutely remarkable play -- but a play you make with great consistency." And it led to Crawford being named the 2009 All-Star Game MVP after the AL's 4-3 win in St. Louis.

June 17, 2004: McGriff's final home run
Fred McGriff, the Tampa native and Jefferson High School product, came to fame in the Majors with the Blue Jays, Padres and Braves. But he made two stops with his hometown team during his excellent 19-year career, enjoying 3 1/2 solid seasons as the Devil Rays' first baseman from 1998-2001, then returning for one final run in 2004 at the age of 40 after brief stops with the Cubs and Dodgers. Facing Padres right-hander Adam Eaton in San Diego on June 17, 2004, McGriff launched a 1-0 pitch out to right field. It was the 493rd -- and, as it turned out, final -- home run of an admirable career. Ninety-nine of his career homers came with Tampa Bay, including that one.

June 11, 2012: Sandberg's two-homer inning
There have been only two two-homer innings in Tampa Bay history, and Jared Sandberg had the first one on June 11, 2002. Sandberg led off the fifth inning with a home run off Dodgers left-hander Omar Daal, smashing the first pitch he saw to deep left field. The Devil Rays sent 13 batters to the plate that inning, with Sandberg coming up the second time against right-handed reliever Giovanni Carrara. Once again, Sandberg swung at the first pitch he saw. And once again, he crushed it, this time out to left-center for a two-run shot. That capped a nine-run inning for the Devil Rays, who rode that and a 119-pitch complete game from Joe Kennedy to an 11-2 victory at Tropicana Field. Four years later, Julio Lugo put together Tampa Bay's second two-homer inning, and the feat hasn't been matched since.

Aug. 31, 2015: Kiermaier robs Machado
Kevin Kiermaier was always an elite defensive player, but this highlight-reel grab in the Rays' 6-3 win over the Orioles finally brought him the national recognition that he deserved. In an March 2020 interview with MLB.com, Kiermaier ranked this play as his third-best catch and called it the "play that capped off my Platinum Glove season." It was only made more special by the fact that he robbed an elite player, Manny Machado, and did so on Baltimore's first batter of the game. That was the crown jewel of Kiermaier's first career Gold Glove Award-winning season, and he was the deserving winner of that year's Platinum Glove Award, given to the best defender at any position.

Sept. 17, 2007: Upton steals home -- first of three
The Rays have stolen home 13 times in franchise history, and only one player has done it more than once: B.J. Upton, who did so three times -- once each in 2007, '08 and '09. Upton did it first on Sept. 17, 2007, in the third inning of the Devil Rays' 10-7 loss to the Angels in Anaheim. Upton walked to get on base against Kelvim Escobar, advanced to second on a wild pitch and took third on a groundout by Delmon Young. Then Upton took off as Escobar wound up to throw a 95 mph fastball on a 2-1 count against Brendan Harris, as Upton slid safely in front of catcher Jeff Mathis then bounced up after scoring.

April 30, 2003: Rocco's first homer sets April rookie record
Long before he became a Rays coach and the Twins manager, Rocco Baldelli took MLB by storm as a rookie center fielder with the Devil Rays. Baldelli made his Major League debut on March 31, 2003, and recorded his first big league hit against future Hall-of-Famer Pedro Martinez. And he didn't stop hitting in April, ending his first full month in The Show with a .364 batting average. Baldelli capped the month with his first home run, a three-run shot off Brad Radke as part of a five-RBI performance in an 8-5 loss to the Twins. That was Baldelli's 40th hit of the season, surpassing Ichiro Suzuki's March/April record mark of 39 hits set two years earlier.

May 3, 2009: Crawford swipes six bags
Eddie Collins set the modern-era record by stealing six bases in a pair of games for the 1912 Philadelphia Athletics. That record stood unmatched for nearly 80 years, then three players tied it: Otis Nixon in 1991, Eric Young in '96 and Carl Crawford on May 3, 2009. The Rays speedster went 4-for-4 with a walk, giving himself plenty of opportunities to run all over Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek. He stole second off Varitek and Brad Penny three times, swiped second against two different relievers and took third against Penny in Tampa Bay's 5-3 win at Tropicana Field. Crawford went on to record 60 steals that year, a single-season club record, and it's hard to imagine anyone catching the left fielder's Rays record of 409 career steals for the club.

Oct. 2, 2012: Shields' 15-strikeout gem
Chris Archer owns the highest game score in Rays history, as his one-hit, 11-strikeout, 98-pitch shutout of the Angels on Aug. 20, 2015, registered a mark of 95. James Shields owns five of the next seven highest game scores among Tampa Bay pitchers, and his best outing by that particular metric -- and in the eyes of many fans -- was about the toughest-luck loss this side of Harvey Haddix. Shields was masterful on Oct. 2, 2012, at Tropicana Field, striking out a franchise record-tying 15 with no walks and only two hits allowed in a 105-pitch complete game. But one of those hits was a Chris Davis solo homer, and the Rays managed only two hits of their own. So Shields took his 10th loss of the season in a 1-0 defeat against the Orioles. It was Shields' final start with the Rays, and it showcased so many of the qualities that made him one of the greatest pitchers in franchise history.