ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Once again, Chris Archer made it look easy against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The young Tampa Bay pitcher improved to 3-0 this season against the Rays' AL East rivals, limiting the high-scoring Blue Jays to three hits over eight innings in a 4-3 victory Tuesday night that extended the 26-year-old's personal-best winning streak to six straight decisions.
The Blue Jays lead the major leagues in runs scored by a wide margin but have had an especially tough time stringing together hits against Archer, who is 6-1 in 12 career starts against them. The righthander (9-4) walked one and struck out seven Tuesday, and only one of Toronto's two runs off him was earned.
The first-place Rays have won eight of Archer's past nine starts. This was the 10th time in 16 starts this season he has allowed one earned run or fewer.
"He just continues to go out and impress, especially against that lineup," manager Kevin Cash said. "That's an extremely difficult lineup to have that many at-bats against. They just pick up on your mistakes. It doesn't matter how good your stuff is. They're going to get you eventually, and Arch just kept pumping fast balls and sliders and they just couldn't quite time him up."
"It's tricky because they're smart. … They remember each time you face them, so you try to execute every pitch to your fullest capability," Archer said. "You know you can't slip because if you try to throw a slider, you hang it, it's going to get banged."
Brandon Guyer and Joey Butler had RBI singles for the Rays, with a wild pitch and passed ball setting up both runs off knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (3-7).
Edwin Encarnacion's solo homer off Brad Boxberger, who earned his 19th save, trimmed Toronto's deficit to one run in the ninth.