Chris Archer is new to this role as key contributor in a major-league playoff chase so Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon said he would keep a close eye on the right-hander down the stretch.

That is why Archer found himself in the clubhouse watching the rest of the Rays’ 3-0 win Friday night against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field despite breezing through six innings.

It certainly wasn’t because of what the Twins were doing against Archer.

“He pretty much had his way” Maddon said.

Archer allowed three hits and struck out seven in six innings and enabled the Rays to win back-to-back games for only the second time this month.

It was a good night for the Rays in terms of the wild-card standings. New York lost in Boston and fell two games behind the Rays for the second spot. Also the Rays picked up a game on Texas for the first wild-card spot after the Rangers lost to Oakland.

Maddon said he was watching to out-of-town scores on the right field wall and was aware that Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia led the Red Sox past the Yankees with a grand slam.

“Nice going” Maddon said.

Archer snapped a two-game losing streak and earned his ninth win of the season with his longest outing of the month after pitching a combined 7 2/3 innings and allowing eight runs in his last two starts.

Archer said he worked on a few things earlier in the week with pitching coach Jim Hickey basically that location is better than stuff.

“Yet again Hickey gives me a little time to figure it out on my own and when I don’t he gives me a small tidbit of advice and I had one of my better games of the year” Archer said.

It also helped that Archer threw the best changeup of the season which would make it the best changeup of his career.

“I’ve had games where it’s been decent but (Friday) it’s the best it’s been in my career and (catcher) Jose (Molina) noticed that in the bullpen” Archer said. “We talked about it and he said we’re going to use it. They always put a lot of lefties against me and I think the difference was me having something a little slower to show them instead of a heard fastball and a hard slider.”

Archer was in trouble once and that was in the fifth inning when he allowed a one-out single to Trevor Plouffe and hit Darin Mastroianni with a pitch. But Archer struck out Clete Thomas and Eduardo Escobar to end the inning.

Maddon let Archer go one more inning and Archer responded with a perfect sixth. He threw 87 pitches on the night.

“You want to keep him within range” Maddon said. “Now if you have an unrested bullpen you might want to extend him a little further than that. That was for me when you’re talking about development and trying to stretch out the utility of a pitcher you don’t want to push him too far based on his experience level so I thought it was a perfect night for him.”

Jake McGee Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney each worked an inning to finish off the game. And how’s this for a Friday the 13th note? Each reliever threw exactly 13 pitches.