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Miller, Archer power Rays to sweep of Padres

ST. PETERSBURG — Brad Miller isn’t even keeping track.

Game after game, it seems, the shortstop-converted-first baseman is hitting another home run as a candidate for the Tampa Bay Rays’ MVP. Though Miller isn’t counting.

“That’s fine we’ll keep track for Miller,” manager Kevin Cash deadpanned after Miller hit his 25th homer Wednesday afternoon.

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That homer, coupled with a superb outing by starter Chris Archer, led the Rays to a 2-0 win — their fourth-straight — and a three-game sweep over the San Diego Padres in front of a crowd of 10,251 at Tropicana Field.

“Nice sweep — that was outstanding,” Cash said.  “Brad Miller with a huge home run and he’s been on fire — he’s locked in.”

Miller had an great series vs. the Padres, going 5-for-11 with three homers and five RBI that helped the Rays outscore San Diego 25-3 in the series.

“I think I’m picking the right pitches to swing at, and when you do that,” Miller said, “you can’t miss them because you might only get on per at-bat. … And with the great starters we have, we don’t have to give them too much because we know they are going to lock it down.”

Archer locked down the Padres for 7.1 innings, throwing 107 pitches Wednesday. He allowed just four hits, a walk and struck out nine before giving way to Xavier Cedeno, who threw just two pitches.

Cedeno retired the only batter he faced before Alex Colome came on to record four outs for his 28th save this season.

“Baseball is a game where you have to be on top of your game no matter what the score is,” Archer said. “It was good that we scored early, but we played great defense today, too.”

Archer (7-16) shut down the Padres, who have lost five straight, by allowing just three singles until the eighth. He also struck out former Rays outfielder Wil Myers three times. Myers would strike out four times in the game, but reached in the ninth on a passed ball off Bobby Wilson’s glove.

“Arch was on today,” Cash said of his ace, who leads the American League with 186 strikeouts. “That slider was good, and he should feel pretty good about that outing.”

Franklin fine

Before his leadoff at-bat in the first inning, Nick Franklin was stretching in the on-deck circle when a nearby Kevin Kiermaier accidentally hit Franklin on the back of the head with a weighted bat in a stretching move. Rays trainers examined Franklin, who would remain in the game, draw a walk and score on Miller’s homer.

Franklin was then pulled at the top of the second and replaced by Luke Maile in the batting order. It was announced he suffered a head contusion and left the game as a precaution. Franklin was given a concussion test following the incident and will have a follow-up test before Friday’s game.

“I feel great — like nothing really happened,” Franklin said after the game. “At first, it was shocking, so that’s what caught me off guard. Partially, it was my fault because I saw him there and thought I was out of the way and got whacked. (I) just felt a little woozy.”

With Franklin showing no ill effects, players are left to, albeit sparingly, joke about the incident.

“The most contact I made this whole game was before (my first at bat),” Kiermaier said jokingly after going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts Wednesday. “I just smoked his helmet, and with the weight on there, it must of hurt — I felt terrible with it, basically, being a freak accident.”

“It’s just unfortunate” Cash added, “and I’m sure KK feels terrible, and Nick probably felt a little worse.”

Franklin, however, just hopes one thing doesn’t come of the accident.

“I’ve seen something like on TV shows, maybe during bloopers. I hope I don’t make that list,” he said with a smile.

Longstanding Longo

At the start of the bottom of the fifth inning, the Rays showed a video board tribute to Longoria, who surpassed Carl Crawford as the franchise leader in games played (1,2360). Longoria is also the franchise leader in home runs (232), RBI (780), doubles (292), extra-base hits (540), total bases (2,292) and service time (8 years, 135 days).

Miscellaneous

The Rays optioned RHP Chase Whitley (Tommy John Surgery) to Double-A Montgomery. … RHP Alex Cobb (Tommy John Surgery) will return to St. Pete for a bullpen session then make one more rehab start. … The Rays extended their player development contract with the Bowling Green Hot Rods (A) through 2018.

Up Next

The Rays host a three-game weekend series against the American-League leading Texas Rangers.

Pitching Probables

Friday, 7:10 p.m.: Matt Andriese (6-4, 3.36) vs. Cole Hamels (12-4, 2.88)

Saturday, 6:10 p.m.: Jake Odorizzi (7-5, 3.72) vs. A.J. Griffin (5-2, 4.68)

Sunday, 1:10 p.m.: Drew Smyly (5-11, 4.85) vs. Martin Perez (8-8, 4.09)

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