Miller, Archer propel Rays past reeling Orioles
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Brad Miller hit a three-run homer and Chris Archer threw five shutout innings, leading the Tampa Bay Rays to a 4-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday night at Tropicana Field.
The Rays (79-82) won their third straight and clinched the season series with the Orioles.
Tampa Bay enjoys a 10-8 edge entering Sunday’s season finale. Baltimore (75-86) has dropped six of its last seven games and 18 of 22.
“I felt good start to finish in tonight’s game, just like I’ve felt pretty good for the majority of the year,” Archer said. “Five innings scoreless really isn’t a good note. A losing season for the team, a losing season for myself. ... I want to go to the playoffs. I want to maximize my potential every start.”
Baltimore, trailing 4-2, made it interesting in the ninth against Rays closer Alex Colome.
J.J. Hardy led off with a double and Chance Sisco followed with a single to put the tying run on base. Anthony Santander’s sacrifice fly pulled the Orioles within a run with two outs, but Colome got Jonathan Schoop to line out to center for his major-league-leading 47th save.
The Orioles broke up the shutout in the eighth, with Schoop getting a single and Trey Mancini a walk, then both scoring on Pedro Alvarez’s single to right field off reliever Tommy Hunter. Hunter got Chris Davis to hit into a double play to end the inning.
“They were making some mistakes and we were doing something with them,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “Archer’s got 200 innings, one of the best pitchers in the league, and we didn’t do a whole lot off him to create many opportunities.”
The Rays had padded their lead in the seventh with a manufactured run. Kevin Kiermaier singled, stole second, took third on a balk and scored on a sacrifice fly by Wilson Ramos for a 4-0 lead.
“I just try to create havoc on the bases,” Kiermaier said. “It’s getting to third as fast as you can before two outs. Us base stealers, it’s little things like that can win a ballgame, and you see that was a difference.”
Archer (10-12) struck out six batters, giving him 249 for the season, finishing three short of his team record set in 2015. His victory kept him from a winless September, having lost his first five starts this month.
One night after shutting out the Orioles, the Rays opened a 3-0 lead on Miller’s three-run homer in the fourth inning.
Orioles starter Miguel Castro (3-3), brought out of the bullpen for his first start and an early audition for the 2018 rotation, got himself out of jams in the second and third innings but lasted only 3 1/3 innings after giving up Miller’s home run. Castro had allowed runs in his last six relief appearances.
“I felt happy for the opportunity,” Castro said. “It’s been a long season with many different experiences. I was happy to be out there healthy and trying to compete.”
The Rays had more opportunities to score.
Corey Dickerson’s single and Adeiny Hechavarria’s double put runners at second and third with one out in the second, but Dickerson was thrown out at home trying to score on Miller’s ground ball to first. Daniel Robertson struck out to leave a runner at third.
In the third, the Rays had runners at the corners with one out after Kiermaier stole third base, but Ramos struck out and Logan Morrison popped out to end the inning.
In the fourth, however, Castro gave up singles to Dickerson and Hechavarria before Miller came through with his ninth homer of the season.
NOTES: The Rays had a losing record in September for the fourth year in a row, going 12-14. The game matched the American League teams with the fewest runs in September — the Orioles had 82, the Rays 103. ... Rays RHP Chris Archer cleared 200 innings pitched for the third year in a row, making him only the third Rays pitcher ever to do so, following James Shields (2007-12) and David Price (2010-12). ... Orioles OF Trey Mancini saw his 17-game hitting streak end. It was the longest hitting streak ever by an Orioles rookie and the longest by a rookie in baseball this season.