ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Chris Archer extended his run of outstanding starts to five Sunday with 61⁄3 scoreless innings against the Mariners in the Rays’ 5-0 loss.
Archer, 1-1 with an 0.87 ERA during this stretch, allowed five hits and pitched himself out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fifth inning.
Manager Joe Maddon went to LHP Jake McGee in the seventh inning with one out and a runner on second. Maddon said he wanted McGee to strike out No. 9 hitter Willie Bloomquist.
“Jake McGee’s numbers speak for themselves,” Archer said. “I would have liked to have finished the inning, but their hitters don’t like Jake.”
Not that facing Archer lately is a picnic.
“There’s still, honestly, a long ways to go with him,” Maddon said. “He’s doing well. He’s getting better. He is scratching the surface of his ability right now.”
Archer has thrown at least six innings in four straight starts. It was the fourth time this season the Rays have lost when Archer has gone at least six innings. They were 12-1 last season when Archer completed at least six innings.
Felix king again
Mariners RHP Felix Hernandez held the Rays to only four hits and struck out a career-high 15 in his seven innings.
Hernandez got nine of 10 outs during a stretch between the second and fifth innings on strikeouts.
“I think he was even better than the perfect game stuff. Better than when he threw that perfect game in Seattle (against the Rays in 2012),” Maddon said. “He was that outstanding.”
Price ready to go
LHP David Price returns to the mound today looking for his first win since May 13, when he pitched a complete game against the Mariners at Seattle.
Since then he’s 0-2 with a pair of no-decisions in four starts.
Price talked Sunday about the inconsistencies of the team, how the Rays can’t get the pitching and hitting in line during the same game. When asked if that applies to him, he said, “I don’t feel like I’ve had two good starts in a row. So, yeah.”
Price has 101 strikeouts and nine walks this season. Those 101 strikeouts are tied with Washington’s Stephen Strasburg for the most in the majors. Price also has allowed a major league-high 98 hits.
The last pitcher to lead the majors in strikeouts and hits allowed in the same season was Detroit’s Mickey Lolich in 1971.
RHP Jeremy Hellickson (right elbow surgery) said he felt fine after pitching three innings Saturday for Class A Charlotte. He is scheduled to pitch a bullpen today and make a second rehab start Thursday. Hellickson remains on pace to rejoin the rotation June 27.
C Ryan Hanigan (right hamstring tightness) will DH tonight for Charlotte. He is eligible to rejoin the team Wednesday.
The Rays signed four draft picks — C Mac James (sixth round), RHP Mike Franco (seventh), 3B Daniel Miles (eighth) and RHP Chris Pike (ninth). ... After wearing No. 66 to honor Don Zimmer, Rays 3B coach Tom Foley resumed wearing his No. 6 jersey. ... 3B Evan Longoria and fiancee Jaime Edmondson announced they are having a baby girl in November. ... It was the fifth time in team history the Rays struck out 17 times, the first since Aug. 8, 2010, at Toronto.