Archer stifles Halos, fans 15 to tie Rays mark

Archer stifles Halos, fans 15 to tie Rays mark

ANAHEIM -- The Angels were feeling good entering Tuesday, while coming off a four-homer game that put their season-best winning streak at five games. But then they ran into the electric Chris Archer, who put them in their place with 15 strikeouts and led the Rays to a 6-1 victory at Angel Stadium.

Archer gave up only an Albert Pujols home run -- the 534th of his career to move him into a tie for 17th all-time -- while pitching eight innings of one-run ball, walking none and setting a career high in strikeouts. The 26-year-old right-hander was five days removed from a 12-strikeout performance in eight scoreless innings against the Mariners and tied James Shields (Oct. 2, 2012) for the most strikeouts in a game in Rays history.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

With handle on command, Archer racks up K's

Righty ties Rays mark with 15 vs. Angels after fanning 12 in previous start

With handle on command, Archer racks up K's

ANAHEIM -- Chris Archer and strike three were synonymous Tuesday night in the Rays' 6-1 win over the Angels at Angel Stadium.

Archer tied James Shields for the club record with 15 strikeouts, picking up where he left off in his previous outing on Wednesday, when he struck out 12 against the Mariners.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Young Rays seizing opportunity in AL East

Wide-open division allowing Tampa Bay to make a run despite injuries, inexperience

Young Rays seizing opportunity in AL East

If you examine their crazy season so far, there's no way the Tampa Bay Rays should be where they are. No way they should have a winning record (27-26), no way they should be a game out of first place in the American League East.

Sure, the division is wide open. No team had a winning record in May. The Rays led the way, at 14-15. At the moment, the Yankees (28-25) are atop the division.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Elmore's clutch hit gives Rays room to breathe

Elmore's clutch hit gives Rays room to breathe

ANAHEIM -- Chris Archer was dealing Tuesday night, on his way to a franchise-high-tying 15 strikeouts in the Rays' 6-1 win over the Angels, but with two outs in the sixth inning, it was still a 2-1 game. The Rays had managed only two runs against Angels starter C.J. Wilson, on a Logan Forsythe homer in the first, and Wilson was on the verge of getting out of the inning.

But Wilson issued back-to-back walks to load the bases for Jake Elmore, who worked a 2-0 count, then took what he thought was ball three upstairs. Home-plate umpire Pat Hoberg called the pitch a strike, though, and Elmore didn't look too happy. Manager Kevin Cash didn't look too happy, either.

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David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays 'taking it slow' with Jennings' knee injury

Rays 'taking it slow' with Jennings' knee injury

ANAHEIM -- On Monday, Rays manager Kevin Cash told reporters that outfielder Desmond Jennings (left knee bursitis) had two at-bats in an extended spring game on Monday.

He added: "Went OK. Still feeling some things. We'll just keep taking it slow with him."

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Karns gets call as Rays look to take set in Anaheim

Karns gets call as Rays look to take set in Anaheim

Angels left-hander Hector Santiago and Rays righty Nate Karns, both in the middle of solid runs on the mound, will finish off the clubs' three-game series in the rubber game at Angel Stadium on Wednesday night.

Santiago will be looking for his sixth straight quality start. In his last five starts, dating to May 7, Santiago has a 1.35 ERA and a .190 batting average against him in 33 1/3 innings. His most recent start was his best of the year -- 7 1/3 shutout innings on three hits with seven strikeouts against the Tigers.

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David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mechanical adjustment pays off for Franklin

Rays second baseman went deep after 0-for-25 skid at plate

Mechanical adjustment pays off for Franklin

ANAHEIM -- Just when the Angels appeared like they would run away and hide Monday night, Nick Franklin stepped up to make a difference.

Ultimately, that difference could not change the Rays' fortunes -- which were minted in a 7-3 loss -- but it did give the Rays a chance to win.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Homers sting Colome, Rays in series opener

Homers sting Colome, Rays in series opener

ANAHEIM -- Albert Pujols homered twice, and David Freese and Mike Trout also went deep, leading the Angels and their suddenly surging offense to a 7-3 victory over the Rays in Southern California on Monday night.

Pujois has hit five home runs over his last five games and is batting .375 since the start of last week, raising his batting average to .254.

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Bill Chastain and Alden Gonzalez are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays DFA Frieri, call up Mahtook

Rays DFA Frieri, call up Mahtook

ANAHEIM -- The Rays designated right-hander Ernesto Frieri following Monday night's 7-3 loss to the Angels. They will recall outfielder Mikie Mahtook prior to Tuesday night's game against the Angels.

"Unfortunately, we had to designate Ernesto Frieri tonight," manager Kevin Cash said. "We're going to recall Mikie Mahtook, with the lefties coming in and kind of the way our bullpen is."

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays Minor Leaguer suspended for amphetamine

ANAHEIM -- The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced Tuesday that Tampa Bay Rays Minor League infielder/outfielder Coty Blanchard has received a 50-game suspension without pay after testing positive for an amphetamine, a stimulant in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

The suspension of Blanchard, who is currently on the roster of the Class A Bowling Green Hot Rods of the Midwest League, is effective immediately.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Moore set to pitch in Class A on Wednesday

Moore set to pitch in Class A on Wednesday

ANAHEIM -- Matt Moore will pitch for Class A Advanced Charlotte on Wednesday, which means the left-hander has entered the home stretch of recovery from 2014 Tommy John surgery to his left elbow.

"We have Matt Moore scheduled to throw three innings, 50 pitches," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays in need of All-Star support

Rays in need of All-Star support

ANAHEIM -- The latest 2015 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot tabulation was announced on Monday, and the Rays are going to need some help from their fans if any players are going to get elected to this year's Mid-Summer Classic.

"I would vote several guys in here, obviously," Rays slugger Steven Souza Jr. said. "Start with our pitching staff. It's been phenomenal all year long."

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bellatti called up to bolster Rays bullpen

Bellatti called up to bolster Rays bullpen

ANAHEIM -- Tim Beckham became the 15th different Rays player to go on the disabled list this season and the Rays recalled Andrew Bellatti from Triple-A Durham on Monday.

Beckham (right hamstring strain) was placed on the 15-day DL following Sunday's game in Baltimore.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Souza powers Rays past O's, into tie for 1st

Souza powers Rays past O's, into tie for 1st

BALTIMORE-- Red-hot Steven Souza Jr. hit his third home run in three days -- a three-run shot -- to help Tampa Bay to a 9-5 victory over the Orioles on Sunday afternoon at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and into a tie for first place in the American League East.

Souza, first among American League rookies with 10 homers, crushed Orioles starter Chris Tillman's 3-2 pitch in the fifth inning to cap a four-run frame. David DeJesus added a solo homer off Oliver Drake in the seventh. Joey Butler went 4-for-5 with two doubles for the Rays, who have won two straight since stopping a six-game slide.

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. Connor Smolensky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Souza, Butler combine for huge weekend in Baltimore

Newcomers team up for 11 hits and four homers during three-game series

Souza, Butler combine for huge weekend in Baltimore

BALTIMORE -- All the reporters in the Rays' locker room wanted to hear about Steven Souza Jr. and Joey Butler following Sunday's 9-5 win over the Orioles.

A year ago, that would not have been possible. The two Tampa Bay newcomers combined for seven hits and three RBIs on Sunday at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

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Connor Smolensky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Beckham placed on DL with strained hamstring

Beckham placed on DL with strained hamstring

BALTIMORE -- The Rays placed Tim Beckham on the 15-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain following Sunday's 9-5 win over the Orioles.

The team will travel to Anaheim for a three-game series against the Angels, and make a corresponding move before Monday's game.

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Connor Smolensky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ramirez delighted with dominant outing

Right-hander fans seven over seven shutout innings vs. Orioles

Ramirez delighted with dominant outing

BALTIMORE -- Erasmo Ramirez was quite frank with reporters following the Rays' 3-0 victory on Saturday.

"I am really happy right now. I cannot stop smiling," he said with a big grin on his face.

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Connor Smolensky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ramirez, Rays blank O's to stop slide

Ramirez, Rays blank O's to stop slide

BALTIMORE -- The Rays homered twice, and Erasmo Ramirez achieved season highs with seven innings and seven strikeouts to snap Tampa Bay's six-game losing streak in a 3-0 win over the Orioles at Camden Yards on Saturday.

Tampa Bay scored three runs in the first three innings, which paved the way for Ramirez. Steven Souza Jr. and Joey Butler both hit solo home runs over the tall scoreboard in right field on an 84-degree day in Baltimore.

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Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. Connor Smolensky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Karns, Cash confident in bullpen despite setback

Right-hander throws 87 pitches over six, allows one hit with six strikeouts

Karns, Cash confident in bullpen despite setback

BALTIMORE -- Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash and Nate Karns both echoed the same sentiments after the Rays' 2-1 loss to the Orioles on Friday night at Oriole Park at Camden Yards: They have a lot of confidence in the Rays' bullpen.

Yet Karns also had a lot of confidence in himself after the sixth inning. The rookie right-hander had given up just one hit, struck out seven and was sitting at 87 pitches, but it was Kevin Jepsen who trotted out for the seventh inning.

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Connor Smolensky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays fall short in series opener

Rays fall short in series opener

BALTIMORE -- J.J. Hardy's two-out single gave the Orioles a 2-1 walk-off win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night.

Hardy, facing the third Rays reliever of the inning in Steve Geltz, poked a ball into left field to score pinch-runner Everth Cabrera and seal in the victory.

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. Connor Smolensky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cabrera, Souza return to Rays' lineup

Both left Sunday's game vs. Oakland with injuries

Cabrera, Souza return to Rays' lineup

BALTIMORE -- Steven Souza Jr. and Asdrubal Cabrera both returned to the Rays' lineup in Friday's 2-1 loss to the Orioles for the first time since both injured themselves against Oakland last Sunday.

Souza left last weekend's game with a sprained wrist after running into A's catcher Stephen Vogt while trying to score in the first inning, and Cabrera came up limping on the basepaths with what turned out to be a mild left groin strain.

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Connor Smolensky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Elmore gets shot to replace injured Loney

Elmore gets shot to replace injured Loney

BALTIMORE -- The Rays haven't quite found a replacement for James Loney at first base since he was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Monday with a broken middle finger in his left hand.

Logan Forsythe filled in for Loney when the Rays were swept in a three-game series against the Mariners at the beginning of the week. On Friday, Jake Elmore got his shot and went 1-for-4 in the 2-1 loss to the Orioles.

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Connor Smolensky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: How can Tampa Bay prevent more injuries?

Beat reporter Bill Chastain answers questions from Rays fans

Inbox: How can Tampa Bay prevent more injuries?

With all of the injuries the Rays have had, when is somebody going to check out the team's training staff? Two words: Preventative care.
-- Bob R., Richmond
, Va.

I couldn't disagree with you more, Bob. First, from what I observe, the care the players get from the training staff is amazing. And if you want some numbers, consider this: Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi began the 2014 season as the Rays' No. 4 and No. 5 starters, respectively, and haven't missed a start since. Tampa Bay has filled the other three spots with 12 pitchers in that span, giving the team 14 starters in 210 games. From 2008-13, the club used a Major League-low 20 starting pitchers in 973 games. The training staff has been a constant throughout the years. So I would conclude that the laws of probability finally caught up to the Rays' pitching staff, not that the training staff is lacking. Remember, throwing a baseball is not the most natural motion.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Impressive Archer gets short end of duel

Right-hander matches career high with 12 strikeouts in eight shutout innings

Impressive Archer gets short end of duel

ST. PETERSBURG -- In the midst of a pitchers' duel with the Mariners' Felix Hernandez, Chris Archer could have let the moment get to him, but he didn't.

Instead, he went toe-to-toe with the Seattle ace, allowing two hits through eight scoreless innings while matching a career-high with 12 strikeouts en route to a no-decision in the Rays' 3-0 loss to the Mariners.

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Troy Provost-Heron is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

X-rays negative on Kiermaier's right ankle

Outfielder plunked by Hernandez in sixth inning of Wednesday's loss

X-rays negative on Kiermaier's right ankle

ST. PETERSBURG -- In the aftermath of the Rays' 3-0 loss to the Mariners Wednesday afternoon, good news came when X-rays to Kevin Kiermaier's right ankle were negative.

With one out in the sixth, Seattle starter Felix Hernandez hit Kiermaier on his right ankle. The Rays center fielder went to the ground in obvious pain, but after being tended to by Rays trainers, he took his base.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays activate, then option Brett to Triple-A

Rays activate, then option Brett to Triple-A

The Rays reinstated rookie infielder Ryan Brett from the 15-day disabled list on Thursday and optioned him to Triple-A Durham. Brett, 23 years old, got a hit in two of his first three at-bats in the Major Leagues, but he suffered a shoulder injury in April while diving back to first base on a pickoff attempt.

Brett, a third-round selection in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, saw action in three games at second base for Tampa Bay. Brett began the season at Durham and batted .211 in 38 at-bats, and he's a .296 hitter with 25 home runs in 382 games over the course of his Minor League career.

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Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.