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CLEVELAND (AP) — Chris Archer turned in one of his best performances of the season.
Unfortunately for the Tampa Bay Rays, he was matched up against one of the favorites for the AL Cy Young Award.
Archer's only mistake — Jose Ramirez's homer in the first — cost him the game when the Rays were shut down by Corey Kluber in a 1-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Friday night.
"I'm happy I finished on a strong note, but never going to walk away completely satisfied with a loss," Archer said.
After the homer, Archer (10-9) cruised through the Indians lineup, striking out six and walking two while allowing just two more hits in 7 2-3 innings.
"That might have been Archie's best start for me as a pro, or major leaguer," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He was really that good. Had everything going, even the changeup. Everything kept getting better, which I kind of like when that happens."
Archer finished the year on a high note, compiling a 1.65 ERA (five earned runs in 27 1-3 innings) over his final four starts. The 26-year-old right-hander had a 3.33 ERA in 32 starts this season.
"I had some struggles. I'm usually my biggest enemy," Archer said. "So my teammates and the coaches and the management, everybody's been super patient. To walk off and show everybody what I'm capable of, and all their hard work that they put into me, all the energy that they put into me, helped tremendously. And it was nice to not only do it on a personal level, but to show my team that I'm thankful for what they did."
Indians manager Terry Francona was impressed with Archer.
"He pitched really, really well," Francona said. "Other than the home run, we didn't get much going against him."
Kluber (18-9) struck out 11 while throwing eight innings of five-hit ball in his final start of the season, bolstering his case for the Cy Young Award. The righty, who is tied for the AL lead in wins, recorded his 11th double-digit strikeout game of the season and leads the majors with 269 strikeouts.
The Rays, who have lowest-scoring offense in the league, just couldn't find a way to help Archer.
"Just unfortunate, man, that just happened way too many times this year," Maddon said. "That 1-0 game, we like it when it's in our favor, we hate it when it goes against us and it's happened often."
The Rays have lost the first three games on the season-ending road trip. Tampa Bay was outscored 22-4 in its last two games in Boston.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES
It was nearly a year ago, on Oct. 2, that the Rays were last in Cleveland, eliminating the Indians with a 4-0 victory in the AL wild-card game. Interestingly enough, Alex Cobb, who started that night for the Rays, will match up with the Indians starter from that game, Danny Salazar, on Sunday.
The Indians struck out 12 to give them a major league-record 1,431 for the season. The 2013 Detroit Tigers were the previous record holders at 1,428 Ks, and the Rays also could pass that number. They have 1,419 strikeouts on the season.
Rays: With SS Yunel Escobar (bruised left knee) likely out for the season, Nick Franklin started at shortstop for the first time since the Rays acquired him from Seattle on July 31.
Rays: RHP Alex Colome (1-0) makes his third start and fifth appearance of the season Saturday. He allowed four runs in one inning in a relief appearance Sunday against the White Sox.
Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco (8-6) will try to finish on a strong note in his 14th start of the season. He held Kansas City to two runs in 7 1-3 innings Tuesday, but got the loss.
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