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SEA@TB: Archer shuts out Mariners over 6 1/3 frames

Chris Archer doesn't particularly care much for discussing his last start.

It's easy to see why, considering Archer was tagged for six runs (one earned) on three hits and three walks in just three innings against the Astros last Saturday. He'll get a chance at redemption against Houston on Thursday night inside Tropicana Field.

"I've completely eliminated the last game out of my thoughts," Archer said. "So to me, this is the first time I'm facing them. I'm definitely going to go out there and show them what I'm capable of, as opposed to last time."

He hasn't looked far to try and find a solution to the problem that was his last start.

"As weird as it sounds, when I watch David [Price] struggle, and watch him just stay within himself and get through it," Archer said, "I think that's the main thing -- not necessarily making adjustments, but just not trying to do too much. Not worrying about giving up any more, just sticking to my gameplan, as opposed to altering it. But watching David give up two [home runs] in the first inning and then go out and pitch eight innings and give up three runs [in his last start, against Houston], that's huge for me."

Archer will be opposed by right-hander Collin McHugh, who will also be facing the team he struggled with in his last outing.

McHugh allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits and three walks in five innings against the Rays last Friday. McHugh has been unable to make it past the sixth inning in three consecutive starts. In those last two starts, however, he's allowed six earned runs in 9 1/3 innings.

"Better command will allow him to get deeper into the game," manager Bo Porter said. "You look at the fact he is to pitch-to-contact guy, he is able to get some wings and misses, but his swings and misses are more predicated on his ability to attack the strike zone and then expand on the strike zone. Once he establishes he is going to have that plus command."

McHugh will try to go deep against the Rays on his 27th birthday, as the Astros are on a three-game skid following their 6-5 loss to the Nationals on Wednesday night.

Part of his recent struggles can be attributed to a blister, McHugh has been dealing with, but he says it's healing well. When he's on his game, he's been terrific, with four starts this year of allowing one earned or fewer in at least five innings of work. Lately, that hasn't been the case.

"We're trying to figure out if it's partly mechanically with the way the ball is coming out of my hands versus the way it was coming out before," McHugh said.

Astros: DH back in play vs. Rays
With the Astros back in an American League ballpark, they will once again be back to having slugger Chris Carter in the lineup at designated hitter. He didn't start Tuesday and Wednesday against the Nationals at Nationals Park because pitchers batted.

Carter is hitting .191, but leads the team with 13 homers and is third with 30 RBIs. He leads the AL in homers since May 29 with seven. He is looking to snap an 0-for-12 slump after striking out as a pinch-hitter on Wednesday.

"It's nice to get consistent at-bats," he said. "To get one at-bat late in games is kind of tough. I'm still working on getting used to the whole DH thing and being ready the whole time and all that. It wasn't too bad yesterday when I had that pinch-hit because I'm used to going down and getting ready before my at-bats and taking some swings. I'm getting more used to it."

Rays: Hellickson not yet ready
Jeremy Hellickson appears headed for at least one more rehab start, according to what the right-hander told reporters after Wednesday's 2-0 Rays loss to the Orioles.

"I think I've got one more," Hellickson said. "... They haven't told me anything. ... I kind of assumed."

Nothing definite has been announced yet, but Rays manager Joe Maddon echoed the idea of at least one more rehab start. When asked if Hellickson was ready to return to the Rays' rotation, Maddon replied: "Not yet. I mean, that's what I'm hearing, he's not quite ready yet."

The follow-up question was whether Hellickson would make a fourth rehab start, to which Maddon answered: "Likely that he will." Hellickson, who is in the home stretch from January right elbow surgery, made his third rehab start Tuesday for Triple-A Durham at Louisville (Reds) and allowed seven runs on 12 hits in 2 2/3 innings.

Worth noting
• Wednesday marked the one-year anniversary of Rays right fielder Wil Myers' Major League debut. On June 18 of last year, Myers started both games of a doubleheader at Fenway Park, singling off Felix Doubront in the nightcap for his first Major League hit.

• Rehabbing Tampa Bay outfielder Brandon Guyer started at designated hitter and batted leadoff for Triple-A Durham on Wednesday. Rays manager Joe Maddon said Wednesday that a decision about Guyer coming off the disabled list would be made soon.

• Astros right-handed pitcher Asher Wojciechowski had his second rehab start for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Wednesday evening. Wojciechowski has been on the disabled list for Houston the entire season after sustaining a right lat strain this spring.

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