(SportsNetwork.com) - Following another dominating performance from starter Chris Archer, the Tampa Bay Rays eye a series victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night in the rubber match of a three-game set.
One start after setting a new career high with 12 strikeouts in a no-decision over Seattle, Archer fanned 15 batters in a 6-1 win over the Angels. He scattered one run and six hits over eight innings of work.
Archer has recorded 35 strikeouts over his last three starts and tied James Shields for the club record for punchouts in a game.
"It all stems from fastball command," Archer said. "The last 10 days the command of the fastball has been better. I knew I struck out a lot of people but my focus was in the moment. I was happy to give the team a quality start."
Logan Forsythe homered to back Archer and Jake Elmore knocked in two runs for Tampa Bay, which has won three of its last four.
Los Angeles had its five-game winning streak halted.
Albert Pujols hit his 14th homer of the season, and sixth in his last six games, and tied Jimmie Foxx (534) for 17th on the all-time home run list.
C.J. Wilson was dealt the loss after he yielded five runs over six innings with seven strikeouts.
"C.J. had better stuff than his line will show," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He did a good job until the sixth inning when he lost his release point."
The surging Nate Karns draws the start tonight for the Rays and will be facing the Angels for the first time.
Karns has not allowed more than two runs in any of his last six starts, but has just one victory and a loss over that time. The righty is coming off a no- decision in Baltimore on Friday even though he gave up only one hit and two walks over six scoreless innings with seven strikeouts.
Karns has lowered his season earned run average to 3.32 to go along with a 3-2 record. The 27-year-old is 1-0 with a 1.02 ERA in three road assignments this season.
The Angels will hope that 27-year-old Hector Santiago can secure a second straight winning start tonight. He has posted a 1.35 ERA over a string of five consecutive quality starts.
Santiago improved to 4-3 with an excellent 2.18 ERA on the season with last Friday's 2-0 win over the Detroit Tigers. He hurled a season-high 7 1/3 innings of three-hit ball, walking three while striking out seven.
"I was able to make pitches," said Santiago. "I was able to mix up my pitches and keep them off guard."
The left-hander will be making his first career start against the Rays, but has allowed four runs over two previous relief appearances against them, spanning 4 2/3 innings.
The Angels won five of seven versus the Rays last season and have won five of their past seven at home in this matchup.