Tough luck part of Archer's streak-ending start

Bloop hits, lack of support hurt as righty doesn't make it through 6 for first time in 16 starts

Tough luck part of Archer's streak-ending start

ST. PETERSBURG -- Giving his team innings has long been Chris Archer's mantra.

The Rays right-hander exceeded 200 innings the past two seasons and is well on his way toward exceeding that exalted number again this year. Archer entered Saturday night's start against the Indians having gone six or more innings in 15 consecutive outings, leaving him one shy of tying Jeff Niemann's franchise record established from April 13-July 6, 2010.

Unfortunately for Archer, and the Rays, that streak ended when he exited the game with one out in the sixth inning of the Indians' 3-0 win.

"Frustrated about the loss more than anything," Archer said.

The Rays (59-59) remained three games in back of the Yankees for the top AL Wild Card, but they fell one game behind the Angels for the second spot amid a crowded field of hopefuls. Tampa Bay also fell to eight games behind AL East-leading Boston.

Archer experienced some hard luck from the get-go Saturday night. He walked Jose Ramirez with two outs in the first, Edwin Encarnacion followed with an infield single and Jay Bruce hit a pop fly along the left-field line. Third baseman Trevor Plouffe first appeared as if he would try to make the play, but at the last minute, he pulled up. The ball landed in between Plouffe and left fielder Corey Dickerson, resulting in an RBI double for Bruce that put the Indians up 1-0.

Bruce's RBI double

Archer "walked the guy that scored, then gave up the hit," manager Kevin Cash said. "We play this all together."

The Rays' offense has scored just eight runs in its last eight games. Has that put added pressure on the rotation? "Not really," according to Archer.

"All we can do is our best, and we feel like we're doing that," Archer said. "It's not going to be seven shutout innings every single night, but we feel like for the most part, we're giving our team a chance to win, and that's all we can do."

Lindor scores on wild pitch

Francisco Lindor scored on an Archer wild pitch in the third, and Bruce singled home another to give the Indians a 3-0 lead to help chase Archer. The righty allowed three runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out eight en route to his seventh loss of the season.

Cleveland remains the lone American League team he has not beaten. Archer has received a combined eight runs of support in seven career starts against the Indians, including four starts with no run support.

Archer fans eight

"Archer threw the ball all right," Cash said. "Cleveland has challenged him in the past, and I thought he threw the ball well enough, and a couple of runs it's probably a little bit of a different ballgame."

Archer echoed the mood of the clubhouse after the game when he told reporters, "Hopefully we can turn the page tomorrow."

"Baseball is beautiful. There's opportunity every day to do something special. Hopefully we do that tomorrow."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.