Chris Archer tries to pitch the Tampa Bay Rays to a four- game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles on Monday, as the American League East rivals conclude their set at Tropicana Field.
Archer has been tremendous for the Rays this season, going 9-7 with a 3.02 earned run average. The right-handed rookie did not get a decision on Wednesday against Texas, but pitched well, surrendering two runs and four hits in six innings of his team's 4-3 win.
When Archer has pitched six innings or more in a start, the Rays are 12-1. When he hasn't, they're 1-7. He's also 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in his last two starts after losing his first two decisions of the month.
"I'm going to follow the game plan we've put together," said Archer. "They're obviously a tough lineup, so I'm going to have to be mindful of every pitch. As long as I do that, I'm going to be happy with my outing."
Tampa moved to the brink of a sweep Sunday, as David DeJesus hit a solo home run in the Rays' 3-1 win. Matt Joyce and James Loney each drove in a run for Tampa, which maintained its half-game lead over Cleveland for the top wild card spot in the American League.
Enny Romero gave up a hit and four walks over 4 2/3 innings in his Major League debut. Jeremy Hellickson was scheduled to start the game, but pitched 2 1/3 innings in Friday's 18-inning game. Brandon Gomes (3-1) picked up the win after getting the final out of the fifth and first out of the sixth.
"The pitching has been outstanding," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We've gotten enough hitting. The defense has been great."
Matt Wieters drove in the lone run of the game for the Orioles, who have dropped their past four to fall out of the playoff race as the team is now 4 1/2 games out.
"We can do it, we can do it," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of his club's chances of making it to October. "We're going to have to get a little cooperation mathematically, but you'd be surprised how quickly the outlook on things change in one day's time."
Scott Feldman (5-5) was tagged with the loss for giving up all three runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Getting the call for the O's on Monday will be lefty Wei-Yin Chen, who is 7-7 with a 4.03 ERA. Chen hasn't received a decision in his last four starts and has just one win since the start of August.
However, Chen is 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA in two starts against the Rays this year and has surrendered three earned runs or less in six of seven career meetings.
Tampa Bay has won 10 of the last 12 meetings with Baltimore.