Archer pitches 1-hitter, fans 11 as Rays beat Astros 1-0
HOUSTON (AP) — Collin McHugh had a solid start for the Houston Astros on Thursday night.
Unfortunately for the Astros, Chris Archer was better.
Archer pitched a one-hitter, allowing only a fifth-inning single by Colby Rasmus, and struck out 11 to lead the Tampa Bay Rays over the Astros 1-0.
McHugh (13-7) yielded five hits in seven innings of his second straight loss.
“You have to have no margin for error with Archer the way he was throwing tonight,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “McHugh was matching him inning by inning and really had good stuff, good finish on his pitches.”
Desmond Jennings got two hits for Tampa Bay and drove in the lone run with a single in the fourth off McHugh.
“It’s a duel,” McHugh said. “Chris did well today. There’s no getting around that. He threw the ball as well as you could throw it. It was a tough draw for sure.”
It was Archer’s third career shutout and second against the Astros, having also blanked them in 2013.
Archer (11-9) retired the final 15 batters, fanning five. Rasmus led off the fifth with a groundball single and was the last runner for the AL West leaders.
“He was good,” Rasmus said. “When he’s on, he’s tough. He was throwing everything for strikes the way he wanted it. Heater had some life on it. It just gained velocity as the game went on. Three good pitches with somebody like that when they’re on us, it’s tough to beat.”
Archer walked Jose Altuve on four pitches to begin the first. Later, Altuve tried to advance on a pitch in the dirt and was thrown out. That was Archer’s only walk.
“He was in complete control,” Hinch said. “He’s the real deal. He’s got every pitch and he had it tonight. I don’t know if that was his best because I’m not around him on a day-to-day basis. But it’s the best we’ve seen and certainly he was in total command. His first four pitches were his worst four pitches After that, he was very dominant.”
In his previous start, Archer allowed 11 hits and eight runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 12-4 loss to Texas.
This was the ninth start this year Archer hadn’t allowed a run, which tops the AL.
Archer reached the 200-strikeout mark for the first time in his career when he fanned Altuve in the fourth. Archer ended the night with 205 — he joined Scott Kazmir, David Price and James Shields as the only pitchers in franchise history with 200 Ks in the a season.
McHugh escaped a bases-loaded jam in the third. Logan Forsythe singled with one out in the fourth and moved up on a wild pitch with two outs. The Rays took a 1-0 lead on the single to center field by Jennings.
Rays: Reliever Jake McGee will have surgery on his left knee Friday and could miss the rest of the season. The Rays said McGee is expected to miss from six to eight weeks. The regular season ends on Oct. 4. McGee was injured on Tuesday night and an MRI on Thursday that revealed a meniscus tear in his knee.
Astros: George Springer (broken right wrist) could take batting practice early next week. There isn’t a timetable for the return of the outfielder, who has been out since July 1.
Rays: LHP Drew Smyly opposes Oakland’s Chris Bassitt when the Rays open a three-game series with the Athletics. It will be Smyly’s second start since returning from a more than three-month stint on the disabled list because of a torn labrum in his shoulder. He allowed seven hits and five runs in just four innings in his last start, a 5-3 loss to Texas.
Astros: Mike Fiers will face Los Angeles LHP Brett Anderson when the Astros open a three-game interleague series with the Dodgers. It will be the third start for Fiers since a trade from Milwaukee.