ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Chris Archer set a Tampa Bay record for losses in one season, and old nemesis David Ortiz played the key role.
Ortiz hit a two-run homer off Archer in the first inning to set the RBIs record for a player in his final season, and the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox beat the Rays 2-1 on Friday night for their ninth straight win.
Archer (8-19) broke the mark Tanyon Sturtze set in 2002. He has lost 11 straight decisions against Boston since beating the Red Sox in his first career start against them on Sept. 19, 2012.
“It stinks whenever you’re on the mound for so many team losses,” Archer said.
Ortiz’s 37th homer raised his RBIs total to 124, one more than Shoeless Joe Jackson in 1920. The 40-year-old’s 540th homer, his 300th on the road, struck an overhanging catwalk above the right-field seats.
“We just lost and I’m not trying to be funny, but I’m really glad I’ll never have to face that guy again,” Archer said. “He’s a really good hitter. I feel like we’ve gotten the best of each other, and I think he’s gotten the best of me more than I’ve gotten the best of him.”
Ortiz has four homers off Archer this season. Archer gave up two runs and seven hits in six innings.
“He’s definitely pitched better than his record would say, especially since the All-Star break,” Ray manager Kevin Cash said.
Coming off four-game sweeps of the New York Yankees and Baltimore, the Red Sox have 5½-game lead over second-place Toronto in the AL East. They lowered their magic number to two for clinching a playoff berth.
Drew Pomeranz (3-5) allowed one run and four hits in five innings. Brad Ziegler, the fifth Boston reliever, got his fourth save after allowing a leadoff double in the ninth to Evan Longoria.
Red Sox set-up man Koji Uehara and closer Craig Kimbrel were both given the night off after extensive use recently.
Mikie Mahtook hit a solo homer in the second for the Rays.
Rays: OF Steven Souza Jr. was in the clubhouse, two days after left hip surgery and expects to be ready for spring training.
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Ortiz has 35 homers at Tropicana Field, the most of any opponent.
Archer’s 11-game skid against Boston is the third longest since data is first available in 1913. Philadelphia Athletics pitchers Bullet Joe Bush (14 from 1914-17) and Dick Fowler (12 from 1948-52) are the only two with longer streaks.
Red Sox RHP Rick Porcello (21-4) will face Rays RHP Matt Andriese (8-7) Saturday night. Porcello has gone seven innings or more and allowed three runs or fewer in 11 consecutive starts, which ties Cy Young (1904) and Pedro Martinez (2000) for the long stretch in a single season in team history.