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Chris Archer Shows Dominant Form in Opening Day Victory

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Apr 2, 2017; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) throws a pitch during the fourth inning against the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 2, 2017; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) throws a pitch during the fourth inning against the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Chris Archer pitched seven strong innings Sunday afternoon to give the Tampa Bay Rays an opening day win against the Yankees in front of a sold out Tropicana Field crowd.

Looking to bounce back from a rough 2016 season, Chris Archer delivered. He gave up two runs, both earned, on seven hits. He walked  one, and struck out five in his seven innings of work. Archer ended with 108 pitches, 61% of them being strikes.

Both runs came in the top of the 2nd. Aaron Judge doubled in a run, which was followed by an RBI ground out by shortstop Ronald Torreyes. Chris got out of the inning with a 3-2 lead, and never looked back.

He was particularly strong against the middle of the Yankees lineup. The 3-5 hitters were a combined 0-8 against Archer, who collected two of his strikeouts in this part of the order.

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Archer worked himself into trouble in the 7th, giving up hits to the first two men he faced. After bouncing back to get the next two outs, Brett Gardner singled to load the bases, bringing up Gary Sanchez. On a 2-2 offering, Sanchez hit a sharp groundball to shortstop Tim Beckham, who finished off the play, and got Archer out of the jam.

Sanchez was the last batter Chris would face on Opening Day. He turned a 7-2 lead over to Danny Farquhar, who pitched a perfect 8th that included 2 strikeouts.

Austin Pruitt started the 9th inning, but was pulled without recording an out. He faced three batters, allowing two hits, and Jude reached on an error. Alex Colome entered with the bases loaded and got the next 3 outs, in order to finish off an Opening Day victory for the Rays.

Next: Key players for 2017

Chris Archer will likely take the mound again on Saturday against the Blue Jays  as he looks to build upon a strong opening day win.

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