It was a relatively quiet game for Chris Archer, until the fifth inning that is. He'd allowed only one hit through the first four frames while walking two. The Tigers put two on with one out in the fifth inning and caught a break when James Loney, the Rays' most sure handed infielder, made an error, throwing wide of second base, pulling Yunel Escobar off the bag to load the bases. Archer then walked Ian Kinsler to force in the Tigers' first run. Torii Hunter followed with an RBI ground out. Miguel Cabrera laced a fastball to shallow center and Desmond Jennings appeared to have made a diving catch, only to have the call overturned via challenge, allowing a run to score.
Archer would escape that inning without further damage, and even though two of the runs were unearned he certainly didn't pitch well.
After retiring the first two hitters in the sixth Archer promptly walked the next two. Instead of removing him in favor of Kirby Yates, Maddon opted to let him face Rajai Davis. Right or wrong on Maddon's part, Davis singled in the tying run and Archer was removed.
The five walks allowed match Archer's season high. He'd also completed at least six innings in nine of his last ten starts before tonight.
The top of the eleventh inning was...an experience. Ian Kinsler lined a ball to right field, which caused me to bang my hands on my keyboard in disgust as Kevin Kiermaier gambled and dove for the ball only to see it deflect off his glove and roll toward the wall. Those type of gambles are something Kiermaier has done a lot of this year and it really needs to stop. He hasn't shown himself to be a good outfielder this year -- routinely taking horrible routes to balls -- despite a couple of highlight reel catches.
I'm not suggesting that Grant Balfour doesn't allow the go ahead run to score if Kiermaier lets that ball fall in front of him, but having a man on first with no outs is a much different situation than a man on third with no outs. Speaking of Balfour, he walked Hunter after the Kinsler triple, intentionally walked Miguel Cabrera to load the bases, then walked Victor Martinez to force in the go ahead run before being lifted for Jeff Beliveau. Beliveau didn't fare a ton better, striking out Ezequiel Carrera, then allowing a walk, a wild pitch (or passed ball depending on your opinion), and a sac fly before finally ending it with a strikeout of Andrew Romine.
All told in that 11th inning Rays pitchers combined for a line of : 1IP, 1H, 3ER, 3BB, 2SO, 33 pitches thrown.
The Rays offense was fairly good, jumping on Max Scherzer for four early runs, thanks to a three-run James Loney homer. They'd tie the game at five apiece in the eighth, after Joel Peralta had allowed yet another home run, on Vince Belnome's first career RBI. They even scored one in the eleventh inning and brought the winning run to the plate, but Sean Rodriguez struckout to end it.
When you're facing Max Scherzer and score six runs you're going to win more often than not. Tonight was one of the nots.