By Gregor Chisholm and Troy Provost-Heron
ST. PETERSBURG -- Chris Archer and R.A. Dickey engaged in a pitchers' duel Tuesday night at Tropicana Field, but ultimately it was Archer and the Rays who came out on top, defeating the Blue Jays, 4-3, to even the series at one game apiece.
"Really nice bounce-back win," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Archer was outstanding, and he continues to go out and impress, especially against that lineup."
Archer, who earned his ninth win of the year, started the game by retiring 13 in a row. Dioner Navarro blasted a solo home run in the fifth -- his second consecutive game with a long ball -- to end that perfect stretch and get Toronto on the board after the Rays struck first with an RBI single from Brandon Guyer in the second.
The Rays retook the lead in the bottom of the fifth with an RBI single from Joey Butler, who later came around to score on a flyout-error combination by center fielder Kevin Pillar. Asdrubal Cabrera lifted a towering homer to lead off the eighth for a key insurance run.
Edwin Encarnacion homered off Brad Boxberger with one away in the top of the ninth to tighten it up, but the right-hander retired the next two batters to earn his 19th save of the season.
Dickey allowed three runs on eight hits, three walks and two hit batters while striking out two over seven innings, but the knuckleballer was tacked with his seventh loss of the season. It was a strong outing but not quite good enough, and that was because of the man on the hill for Tampa Bay.
"That's an ace, right there," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Archer. "He's tough to face when he's on. Great competitor, that's why he's having such a good year."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Archer dominating: Archer was perfect through 4 1/3 innings, looking dominant en route to his third win of the season over Toronto. He allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits and a walk in eight innings before Boxberger took over to start the ninth. More >
Too little, too late: Encarnacion made things interesting in the ninth with a solo shot to left that cut the Rays' lead to one. His 14th of the season came off Boxberger, but Navarro and Russell Martin were retired to end the game. What proved to be costly for the Blue Jays was the home run Steve Delabar surrendered to Cabrera in the bottom of the eighth that gave Tampa Bay an extra insurance run.
Wacky works too: With runners on first and second and one away in the bottom of the fifth, Logan Forsythe launched a 2-1 fastball from Dickey to deep center, but Pillar tracked it down with a leaping catch at the wall. From there, the wackiness ensued. After Pillar came down with the ball to record the out, he dropped it and then overthrew his cutoff man, second baseman Ryan Goins, allowing Butler to score from second. More >
Navarro strikes again: Navarro broke up Archer's bid for a perfect game with a solo shot to right field. It was Navarro's second home run of the season and his second in as many days. Dating back to last year, Navarro's last five homers have all come against the Rays, with four of them at Tropicana Field.
"We pulled back close, those add-on runs, that extra run in the eighth inning was the difference," -- Gibbons, on the home run by Cabrera in the eighth
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Pillar extended his hitting streak to eight games with a single in the sixth inning. Pillar has at least one hit in 16 of his 20 games this month with 11 multi-hit performances.
In the first inning, Forsythe rolled a slow ground ball to third baseman Josh Donaldson, whose throw pulled first baseman Encarnacion across the bag. Forsythe was ruled safe on the bang-bang play, but the Rays' challenge overturned the call to end the inning.
WHAT'S NEXT Blue Jays: Right-hander Marco Estrada (5-3, 3.92 ERA) will take the mound for the rubber match of the three-game series Wednesday at 12:10 p.m. ET. Estrada took a no-hitter into the eighth inning during his last start against the Orioles until surrendering a bloop single off the bat of Jimmy Paredes. It was the fourth time in his last five outings that Estrada recorded a quality start.
Rays:Nate Karns (4-3, 3.53 ERA) will try to find similar success from his first career start against Toronto, which happened to be his first career appearance with the Rays back on Sept. 12. In that start, the right-hander became the first in franchise history to go 7-plus innings and allow two hits or fewer in his club debut.