- Associated Press - Thursday, April 2, 2015

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) - Chris Archer prepared for his opening day start, striking out two in two scoreless innings Thursday as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Philadelphia Phillies 10-1.

Archer gave up one hit and walked none, throwing 20 of his 27 pitches for strikes. He’ll start Monday when the Rays host Baltimore.

Archer finished spring training with a 1.69 ERA.

“I was happy to get out there and hit my pitch count right on the head, execute some pitches and work with runners on base,” he said. “Now I’m ready for April 6.”

Injuries to starters Alex Cobb and Drew Smyly forced the Rays to re-arrange their rotation and open with Archer. The 26-year-old righty said that he will not treat it any differently than a regular start.

“It’s 60 feet, 6 inches,” Archer said. “I say this every game. There will be a lot of people in the stands and it’s the first game of the season but in my mind it’s no more important than my 30th start or my 16th start. Everybody is a little excited their first time in a game, mine just happens to be the first game of the season.”

Nathan Karns followed Archer and struck out eight in six innings. He gave up one run and five hits, with two walks.

“I thought (Karns) was outstanding, really good work,” manager Kevin Cash said. “He had the breaking ball going today, and kept his fastball down. It was good to see.”

David DeJesus hit a three-run homer for the Rays. Phillies starter Jerome Williams gave up six runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings.

“Williams was just up in the zone his whole outing,” Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. “That resulted in hittable pitches and non-quality pitches. It wasn’t a good game. And one run on a day with the wind blowing out was not good on the offensive side of things.”

Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon gave up four runs in the ninth while getting just one out. Papelbon wore catcher Carlos Ruiz’s jersey on the mound.

Sandberg said Papelbon has worn a different teammate’s jersey for the spring finale the last couple of years.

“I think he’s done it the last three years and I think each time it hasn’t worked very well for him,” Sandberg said.

Odubel Herrera had three hits for the Phillies, including a home run off Karns.


Rays: Cash called Archer’s final spring outing a “nice, little tuneup.” Archer said he will throw a light bullpen session on Sunday as his final preparation for Monday’s start against the Orioles.

Phillies: Williams raised his spring ERA to 7.40 and did not record a win this spring. “A little bit frustrated because I know I’m better than that,” he said. “It’s just not acceptable.”


Rays: 3B Evan Longoria (illness) was scheduled to play but scratched with an illness. Cash said it if were a regular-season game he would have likely played. “He’s simply not feeling that good,” Cash said. “It’s just being smart and cautious.”

Phillies: RHP Ken Giles (mild back strain) played catch for the second day in a row without pain. He hopes to be ready for opening day.


Rays: RHP Jake Odorizzi will start against the Detroit Tigers on Friday in Lakeland.

Phillies: RHP Aaron Harang will start against the Pittsburgh Pirates in an exhibition game at Citizens Bank Park on Friday night.


Archer’s spot in the lineup came in the second inning and he kept the bat on his shoulder on a three-pitch strikeout at the request of bench coach Tom Foley. “Foley told me to not swing and Cash came in and re-emphasized the game plan,” Archer said. “I’ve only practiced hitting one time and that was 20 balls off the tee so I had no problems standing there.”

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