LOS ANGELES -- Scouts sent to watch Chris Archer on Tuesday night saw him outdueled by Bud Norris, as the Dodgers kept the heat on the first-place Giants with a 3-2 Interleague win over Tampa Bay.
Archer (5-14), whose rumored Trade Deadline destinations include Los Angeles, allowed three runs (two unearned) on four hits in seven innings with eight strikeouts. But Norris (5-9 overall and 3-2 with LA) allowed only two hits in 6 1/3 scoreless innings. He struck out six and surpassed 1,000 career strikeouts, three nights after relieving in St. Louis and allowing a walk-off home run to Matt Adams in the 16th inning.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was impressed with the starting pitcher the Dodgers acquired July 1 and the one they are rumored to be interested in acquiring by Aug. 1.
"It wasn't until about the fifth inning that Bud hit his stride, but the pitch count was up there and just seeing what he did in St. Louis and two days removed from throwing in that game, he gave us everything he had," said Roberts. "I still believe the best of Bud Norris we're going to see. Tonight he was really good, but there's even more there."
Roberts also praised Archer without directly addressing the trade rumors.
"Archer is very good," he said. "You can see, with two errors, the pitch count was still low, a lot of swing and misses. He repeats his delivery, has a plus-plus slider, punches a lot of guys. First time seeing him up close and it really makes sense. Talking to our guys, the ball has true life, top and bottom of the zone. He's a one. He has such a wipeout slider, so we were aggressive.That guy's tough."
The Rays helped the Dodgers to a pair of unearned runs in the third inning. A one-out catching error by first baseman Steve Pearce and a two-out throwing error by Archer extended the inning so Corey Seager (nine-game hitting streak) and Justin Turner (fifth consecutive multi-hit game) could cash them in with RBI singles.
Yasmani Grandal homered off Archer leading off the seventh for what proved to be the decisive run, his seventh homer in July and 14th of the season.
"He's been unbelievable, swinging the bat a lot better and a big homer tonight," Roberts said of Grandal. "Behind the plate he's been great working with pitchers, blocking balls and that was a huge home run off a very good pitcher."
The Dodgers bullpen, with Adam Liberatoreunavailable because of a swollen knee, needed five relievers to record the final eight outs. Tampa Bay scored in the eighth on Brad Miller's RBI double off Joe Blanton and a Luis Avilan wild pitch through the legs of Grandal. The Rays put the tying and go-ahead runs on base in the ninth off Kenley Jansen, but he struck out Miller for his 30th save, joining Eric Gagne and Todd Worrell as the only pitchers in club history with three 30-save seasons.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Bearing down: Norris, who allowed four home runs in his previous 6 1/3 innings, pitched out of his only real jam after Pearce's double leading off the second. Norris got Kevin Kiermaier on a fly out, Brandon Guyer on a grounder that Seager bobbled before recovering, intentionally walked Luke Maile and caught Archer looking. More >
Errors kill: After retiring the first seven batters, Archer got Joc Pederson to ground to second. Logan Forsythe charged the slow roller and made a snap throw to first that Pearce dropped. That was the first error of the third, but hardly the last. After Norris sacrificed Pederson to second, Chase Utley hit a chopper to Archer's right. He fielded the ball then threw wild to first to put runners at the corners with two outs. Seager and Turner followed with RBI singles and, just like that, the Dodgers had a 2-0 lead.
"No excuse, should have made a better throw," Archer said. "One of the areas I could have been better."
Pinch-hitting frustrations: The Rays got something going in the seventh when Pearce walked with one out, which chased Norris in favor of Howell. The left-hander walked Kiermaier to put runners at first and second with one out. The Dodgers brought in Baez, prompting manager Kevin Cash to send up pinch-hitters Arcia and Morrison, who popped out to second and grounded out to first, respectively, to end the inning.
"Another tight one," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "We're playing some tight ballgames and we're not finding ways to win them that's for sure. I know the guys are frustrated. We're all frustrated. Just a little bit too little, too late today." More >
"I want to fill the strike zone, but I want to win more. That's the only thing I'm thinking about right now. Yeah, I pitched well, but I wish I could have done a little better to help the team win." -- Archer on his outingMore >
The Dodgers challenged a safe call at home plate by umpire Jim Joyce, who ruled that Forsythe's hand touched the plate when he advanced on a wild pitch. A review determined the call would stand and the run scored.
WHAT'S NEXT Rays:Matt Moore (6-7, 4.31) hopes to continue the solid run he's been enjoying. In his last nine starts, he's pitched at least six innings -- seven of which were quality starts. Improved fastball velocity and better location have been the keys to the strong stretch. The only time he's faced the Dodgers was May 3 when he allowed seven earned runs in 4 1/3 innings and took the loss. First pitch is scheduled for 3:10 p.m. ET.
Dodgers:Brandon McCarthy continues his impressive comeback from Tommy John surgery in this 12:10 p.m. PT game. McCarthy is still unbeaten as a Dodger and is coming off a no-decision in St. Louis, where he pitched into the seventh inning. Meanwhile, it should be decision time for Yasiel Puig, who figures to either return to the lineup or go on the disabled list with a strained hamstring. He's missed the last four starts.