Archer Pitches 5-Hitter, Rays Blank Astros

DICK SCANLON, Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Rookie Chris Archer pitched a five-hitter for his first complete game in the majors and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Houston Astros 5-0 Sunday.

Archer (4-3) struck out eight and walked none in his 13th big league start, including nine this season. He made his debut last year.

Desmond Jennings homered as the Rays won for the 14th time in 16 games. Tampa Bay completed its most successful three-series homestand ever at 9-1, and went into the All-Star break in second place in the AL East.

Houston headed into the break with a 17-inning scoreless streak. The Astros have lost 12 of 15 and have the worst record in the majors at 33-61 during their first season in the American League.

Between Saturday’s third inning and the fourth inning Sunday, the Astros went 11 straight innings without scoring or leaving a runner on base. Only four runners reached base in those 11 innings; two were doubled up and two were picked off.

Archer turned in Tampa Bay’s 15th consecutive quality start. The Rays have won his last five starts.

Jennings hit his 11th homer, connecting in the sixth off Paul Clemens after Kelly Johnson’s third straight single. Jennings also preserved the shutout by running down Jason Castro’s 400-foot line drive to center field for the final out with a runners on base.

Jennings beat out an infield hit in the first and scored on Evan Longoria’s double.

The Rays add two more runs in the fourth with the help of a throwing error by Erik Bedard (3-6).

Bedard gave up eight hits and struck out six in five innings.

NOTES: Rays RHP Alex Cobb pitched off the Tropicana Field mound for the first time since being struck on the head by a line drive on June 15. Cobb called it “a relief” to be back on the mound and said he hopes to pitch in another game within a couple of weeks of the All-Star break . . . OF Chris Carter was out of the Astros’ lineup for a second straight day due to a sore ankle . . . Manager Bo Porter announced that Bud Norris will start the Astros’ first game after the break Friday against Seattle.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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