Chris Archer had been on a tear since June 23rd, going 5-0 with a 1.31 ERA in his previous seven starts. He had been limiting his walks, and with two complete game shutouts in his last three outings, appeared to have turned the corner from prospect to a true asset in the rotation.
His performance against the San Francisco Giants began along the same vein, as Archer held the Giants to only two baserunners through the first four innings. Meanwhile, the Rays managed to scratch a run across against San Fran starter Madison Bumgarner in the bottom of the third. Jose Lobaton led off the inning with a double, and moved to third when Ryan Roberts bunt stayed fair for an infield single. After an out, Ben Zobrist singled to right, scoring Lobaton as the Rays took an early lead. They had an opportunity for more, as Wil Myers walked to load the bases with two outs, but Bumgarner got Sean Rodriguez to pop up to second, ending the threat.
Archer finally made a mistake in the fifth, giving up a solo home run to Brandon Belt as the Giants tied the game. The Rays had a bit of a scoring chance int he bottom of the inning, putting runners on first and second with no outs, but Bumgarner escaped without damage. Things unraveled for Archer and the Rays with two outs in the seventh. After two quick outs, Hunter Pence reached on an infield single. Belt continued to be a thorn in Archer’s side, lacing a triple to left center to put the Giants on top. Things got worse with the next batter, as Brandon Crawford homered to right, plating Belt to give the Giants a 4-1 lead. A visibly tired Archer continued to struggle, giving up two hits as the Giants threatened to potentially put the game out of reach, but he mustered just enough to strike out Marco Scutaro to end the threat.
Despite tiring towards the end of his appearance, Archer had a decent enough outing. Overall, he gave up four earned runs on seven hits and three walks, striking out four over his seven innings. Perhaps the wear of his first two major league complete games, sandwiched around a seven inning performance, led to his struggles as he attempted to close out the seventh.
The Rays had one final chance to mount a comeback, as Lobaton tripled with one out. However, Sergio Romo slammed the door, retiring both hitters he faced to send the Rays to defeat. Lobaton ended up 2-3 with a double, a triple and a run scored. Roberts and Zobrist also had two hits in the loss.