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If there's a secret to Boston's success against Chris Archer, the Red Sox aren't eager to share it.
David Ortiz, Pablo Sandoval and Alejandro De Aza homered against Tampa Bay's best pitcher on Sunday, keying a 5-3 victory that clinched a series win over the first-place Rays and stopped Archer's career-best six-game winning streak.
The last-place Red Sox beat the right-hander for the second time this season. Archer dropped to 1-6 with a 5.48 ERA in nine career starts against Boston, compared to 28-18 with a 2.88 ERA in 69 appearances against all other opponents.
"He's a great pitcher, but we have a bat in the hand," Sandoval said. "If you make a mistake, we're going to take advantage."
Ortiz hit a two-run shot off Archer (9-5) in the fourth inning, the slugger's 31st career homer at Tropicana Field - more than any visiting player.
Sandoval and De Aza, who homered for the third time in four days, went deep in the second for a 2-0 lead. Sandoval also drove in a sixth-inning run with a sacrifice fly that made it 5-1.
Meanwhile, Justin Masterson (3-2) allowed an unearned run and five hits over five innings to win for the first time since beating Baltimore at Fenway Park on April 20. The start was the right-hander's first since a six-week stint on the disabled list with tendinitis in his pitching shoulder.
Alexi Ogando, Jonathan Aro, Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara followed Masterson. Uehara worked the ninth for his 16th save in 18 opportunities.
Archer began the day with an AL-best 2.01 ERA. He yielded a career-high three homers while allowing five runs, five hits and striking out 10 over six innings.
"They seemed like good pitches. Not great, but sill probably considered a mistake," Archer said of the homers, the most he's allowed since opening day, when De Aza also connected off the right-hander while playing for Baltimore.
"I thought Arch was really good. Six innings, 10 punchouts, five hits - the home run just kind of beat us up a little bit," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
The loss was the fifth in seven games for Tampa Bay, which leads the AL East by a half-game over the New York Yankees.
Grady Sizemore got three hits, including a seventh-inning RBI single off Tazawa, in his debut for Tampa Bay. The Rays signed him to a minor league contract after the three-time AL All-Star was released by the Philadelphia Phillies this month.
Asdrubal Cabrera drove in two runs for the Rays with a fifth-inning single off Masterson and a seventh-inning triple off Aro.
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