"I got used to the umpire and the whole spectrum of the backstop and the fans," Archer said. "Having the world champions in the box, essentially, helped the whole process overall. I was able to focus on each individual pitch regardless of the situation. I was happy overall with the outing."
Archer's lone strikeout was a backdoor slider against David Ortiz.
"I was happy," said Archer. "I'm a big person on visualization. I visualized that pitch. I do it out in the bullpen, but nothing is like executing it in a game to one of the best hitters of all-time."
Clay Buchholz wasn't quite as sharp for Boston in his first start, giving up three hits, one run and one walk in an inning of work.
"First-game jitters," said Buchholz. "Velocity is creeping back up to where I need it to be. No problems throughout the whole thing. A couple pitches were spinning off, and that's all mechanical, so that's an easy fix. I just have to work on it."
Rays first baseman James Loney had the big hit in a three-run second inning, drilling a two-run homer to right off Rubby De La Rosa.
In a quiet day for Boston's regulars, as Mike Napoli had a walk and a hit, while Jonny Gomes and Will Middlebrooks each had a hit. Outfield prospect Alex Hassan went 2-for-3.
David DeJesus had a solid day for the Rays in the leadoff spot, going 2-for-2 with a walk and scoring a pair of runs. Matt Joyce and Jose Molina added multihit games.
Former closer Francisco Cordero, who is on the comeback trail, fired a scoreless inning for Boston, striking out two.
Up next: Cesar Ramos, recently elevated into the battle for the fifth-starter's slot, will make his first start of the spring Wednesday at 1:05 p.m. ET against the Yankees. Fellow candidates Erik Bedard and Jake Odorizzi will also pitch against New York, and fans can listen to an exclusive webcast of the action at raysbaseball.com.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.