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Blunders By Rays Lead To Third Straight Loss

ST. PETERSBURG (620 WDAE) -- The rail-smooth Saturday evening for Chris Archer came off the tracks quickly.

Archer allowed three unearned runs in the sixth inning thanks to a fielding error by Mallex Smith and a pair of wild pitches, allowing the Texas Rangers to rally from a 3-1 deficit for the second straight night, defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 Saturday at Tropicana Field.

Tampa Bay jumped on Rangers starter Andrew Cashner in the third inning, with Tim Beckham, drawing a leadoff walk and moving to second two batters later on a base hit by Adeiny Hechaverria.  Steven Souza Jr. then singled in Beckham to open the scoring, and after Corey Dickerson's groundout moved both runners up a base, Evan Longoria made the game 3-0 with a two-run single.

But Archer, who cruised through the first three frames, could not get a shutdown inning in the fourth, as Elvis Andrus turned around a 96 MPH fastball for his 13th home run of the year to cut the lead back to 3-1.

The game remained 3-1 until the sixth, when Archer allowed one-out base hits by Shin-Soo Choo and Andrus.  A groundout by Nomar Mazara moved both runners up a base, and Adrian Beltre appeared to have flied out to end the inning, but Smith misplayed the baseball for a two-run, two-base error, and a pair of wild pitches by Archer allowed Beltre to score to break the tie.

Tampa By's best opportunity to tie the game came in the bottom of the eighth, as Longoria singled with one out and Morrison drew a walk, both off Keone Kela.  But Wilson Ramos popped out against Kela, and pinch-hitter Trevor Plouffe grounded to first off Alex Claudio to end the threat.

The loss, Tampa Bay's third straight, drops the Rays back to four games above .500 at 51-47.

Jake Odorizzi (6-4, 4.37 ERA) will look to salvage the finale of this weekend series Sunday, taking on Tyson Ross (2-2, 7.22 ERA).  First pitch is scheduled for 1:10, with coverage on WDAE beginning at 11:00 Sunday morning with The Inside Pitch presented by Sykes Lakeland.

Photo: Getty Images

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