St. Petersburg, FL (SportsNetwork.com) – Chris Archer threw seven shutout
innings and Brandon Guyer homered on the second pitch in the bottom of the
first, leading the Tampa Bay Rays to a 5-1 victory over the Toronto Blue
Jays on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep at Tropicana Field.
Archer (3-2) allowed just two hits, walked one and struck out seven, lowering
his earned run average to 0.84. He has not allowed an earned run since the
sixth inning of his opening day start against Baltimore, a stretch of 26 2/3
Guyer finished 2-for-4 with a career-high four runs batted in. He also knocked
in a run with a sacrifice fly and singled home two more for the Rays, who
finished a nine-game homestand with five straight wins after opening with four
Evan Longoria went 3-for-3 with a walk for Tampa Bay and has hit safely in
seven straight at-bats. Logan Forsythe also drove in a run in the victory.
Toronto starter Mark Buehrle (3-1) had won his first three starts of the
season, but was roughed up for five runs on 13 hits in 5 2/3 innings. He had
been the beneficiary of 37 runs of support before his teammates came up empty
for him on Sunday.
Josh Donaldson singled and Dalton Pompey doubled for the only two Blue Jays
hits off Archer. Toronto scored a run in the ninth on Justin Smoak’s RBI
single off Matt Andriese.
The Blue Jays, who entered this weekend series following a three-game sweep of
Baltimore, were again without slugger Jose Bautista. He missed a fifth
straight game because of a sore shoulder, but could be in the lineup some time
during the upcoming series in Boston.
After the Blue Jays left two aboard in the top of the first, the Rays scored
twice in the home half. Guyer hit Buehrle’s 1-0 offering over the wall in
left-center field for his first career leadoff homer and Longoria kept the
inning alive with a two-out base hit. Forsythe then hit a flare into shallow
right field that glanced off the glove of a retreating second baseman Devon
Travis for a double that plated a hustling Longoria from first.
Tampa Bay left two on in the third, then added a run in the fourth. Tim
Beckham led off with a single and Kevin Kiermaier fisted an inside pitch to
the left side of the shifted infield for a base hit before Rene Rivera hit a
bloop single over the head of Smoak at first base to load the bases. Guyer
knocked in a run with a line drive to left field before Steve Souza Jr.
grounded into a 5-4-3 double play.
Guyer then came through with a big two-out hit in the sixth. Tampa Bay loaded
the bases with no outs, but Rivera grounded into a 5-2-3 double play before
Guyer singled through the left side of the infield to plate the remaining two
runners for a 5-0 cushion.
Archer completed his strong outing by retiring the last eight batters he
faced. He became the first American League pitcher to go four straight starts
without allowing an earned run in one season since Kansas City’s Zack Greinke
Toronto finally broke through in the ninth when Russell Martin led off with a
single, took second on a ground ball and went to third on indifference before
scoring on Smoak’s two-out single up the middle. After an error by Longoria
prolonged the inning, Pompey struck out to end the game.
Longoria, who walked in the seventh inning, needs a hit in his next at-bat to
tie the Rays record of hits in eight straight at-bats, set first by Aubrey
Huff in September 2004 and matched by Ty Wigginton in July 2007 … Beckham
and Kiermaier each had two hits in the victory … The Rays improved to 6-1
against the Jays this season and swept Toronto at home for the first time
since Sept. 21-23, 2012 … Tampa Bay will start a 10-game road trip Monday
with the first of three against the New York Yankees … The game was played
in a swift 2:23.