Chris Archer pitched seven strong innings to help the Tampa Bay Rays take a 4-1 win over the LA Angels of Anaheim in the second of a three-game set.
Archer (8-5) gave up a run on five hits with five strikeouts while David DeJesus had two hits, scored twice and drove in a run for the Rays, who snapped a three-game losing streak.
"The key overall was the exquisite defense," Archer said. "We made some awesome plays, which saved me pitches, which allowed me to throw a few more pitches than I wanted to in the seventh and still stay in the game."
Tampa Bay, though, stayed 2 1/2 games behind Boston for first place in the AL East as the Red Sox took down the Orioles on Wednesday.
Kole Calhoun drove in the lone run for the Angels, who had won four straight. Garrett Richards (4-6) was charged with all four runs in just 3 1/3 innings.
"His first pitch strike ratio was awful and his ball/strike ratio was awful," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
The Rays jumped on top in the first inning as DeJesus led off with a double, moved to third on Ben Zobrist's single and later scored on a sac fly from Matt Joyce.
In the fourth, Tampa Bay added to its lead. Desmond Jennings and Jose Lobaton singled to start the frame and both moved up a base on Yunel Escobar's sac bunt. DeJesus then singled home the first run, and Zobrist followed with an RBI single to right. Evan Longoria then reached base on a misplayed ball by shortstop Erick Aybar, allowing DeJesus to score for a 4-0 lead.
The Angels had just one runner reach third over the first six innings, but were able to cut into the deficit in the seventh. Mike Trout singled to start and Josh Hamilton followed with a hit. Two batters later, Calhoun lofted a sac fly to left.
Joel Peralta pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning, while Fernando Rodney did the same in the ninth for his 31st save of the season.
Angels third baseman Chris Nelson left the game in the seventh inning with a leg injury ... Hamilton extended his road hitting streak to 15 games, a career-high ... Tampa Bay batted 3-for-8 with runners in scoring position.