Chris Archer is coming off perhaps the best performance of his career in time to possibly continue his dominance against the Minnesota Twins.
The Tampa Bay Rays right-hander looks to remain undefeated against the Twins, who will try for their first six-game road winning streak in eight seasons Wednesday night.
Five days after Archer (11-9, 2.77 ERA) allowed eight runs and 11 hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 12-4 loss at Texas, he tossed a one-hitter with 11 strikeouts in Thursday's 1-0 win at Houston.
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"He's the real deal," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said.
With 205 strikeouts, the first-time All-Star reached 200 for the first time in his third full season to join Scott Kazmir, David Price and James Shields as the only pitchers in Rays history to fan that many.
"There's really no better feeling than when you accomplish your goals and it happens so infrequently that it's very exhilarating," he said.
Manager Kevin Cash continues to be impressed with the mental approach Archer brings to each outing.
"He takes a lot of pride in every five days going out there and giving us an opportunity to win," Cash said. "By knowing what he says and what he's about, he was definitely motivated simply because he expects a lot of himself to help this team."
Archer's received only five runs of support while going 0-2 with a 3.24 ERA in his last four home starts. He hasn't, however, needed much offense against Minnesota (64-61), winning all four outings with a 0.74 ERA. He allowed only his second earned run in those starts over six innings in an 11-3 win at Target Field on May 17.
"Archer is nasty, said All-Star second baseman Brian Dozier, who is 0 for 10 against him but homered in Tuesday's 11-7 victory.
Rookie Miguel Sano had a three-run homer for the Twins, who have won five straight after being swept in a three-game set at Yankee Stadium to open this 10-game trip. Sitting one-half game out of the AL's final wild-card spot, Minnesota last won six straight on the road in August 2007 - four years before its most recent six-game overall winning streak.
Sano has homered in back-to-back games and five times while recording 12 RBIs in the last eight.
Teammate Tyler Duffey (2-1, 4.60) allowed six runs on two homers in two innings of a 9-7 loss at Toronto in his major league debut Aug. 5, but has yielded two runs over 13 2-3 innings to win the next two. He gave up both runs and scattered 10 hits in 7 2-3 innings of Thursday's 15-2 rout of Baltimore.
"For the most part, (the curveball) is always my put-away pitch," the right-hander told MLB's official website. "It's just one of those things where if they are swinging at it, I'm going to keep throwing it."
He'll face a Tampa Bay club that overcame an early 3-0 hole to forge a 5-all tie on Tuesday before its four-game home winning streak ended.
Appealing his one-game suspension for making contact with an umpire Saturday, James Loney recorded his second straight three-hit home game and had three RBIs. He's batting .479 with 13 RBIs during an 11-game hitting streak against the Twins.
It's uncertain when outfielder Desmond Jennings (knee) and catcher Curt Casali (hamstring) will be available for the Rays after both were injured Tuesday.