ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Chris Archer stayed at the top of his game long enough for the Tampa Bay Rays to bounce back from one of their worst losses of the season.
Archer pitched seven strong innings, David DeJesus scored twice and the Rays beat the Angels 4-1 Wednesday night, ending Los Angeles' four-game winning streak.
The rookie right-hander was given the assignment of breaking the Rays' three-game losing skid one night after they had squandered a four-run lead and fell 6-5, dropping 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Boston Red Sox in the AL East.
"Honestly, the pressure's always the same whether we've won three in a row or lost three in a row," Archer said. "I'm still trying to go out there and execute pitches regardless of previous games."
Archer (8-5) allowed one run and five hits while striking out five. For the fifth time in his last 10 starts, he did not walk a batter.
"He's got such a strong mental game," Rays manager Joe Maddon noted. "This guy really understands routine and process. I saw a close-up on TV where he was almost talking himself, and I know he was telling himself the right things regarding how to slow down and how to focus ... That's been the impressive part. I mean zero walks — come on!"
In his five starts without a walk, Archer is 4-0 with an 0.47 earned run average. He has emerged in the late summer as the Rays' steadiest starter.
"I think I'm feeling the same thing everybody feels at this time of the season," he said. "I'm in good shape, my stuff's still crisp, my velocity is still there, I'm executing pitches. I think it's a mental hurdle rather than physical now for everybody," he said.
Archer breezed through the first six innings, scattering three singles and facing 20 batters, only two over the minimum.
"He's got good stuff. He's got a nice, easy delivery," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "His fastball is really live, and a terrific slider. He pitched a strong game for those guys."
Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth, striking out two for his 31st save.
Garrett Richards (4-6) gave up four runs on seven hits and three walks in 3 1-3 innings, the second-shortest of his career.
"I just didn't have it from the beginning," Richards said. "Arm felt good. Body felt good. I just wasn't there tonight."
DeJesus, playing his fifth game since the Rays got him in a trade with Washington, had two of the Rays' eight hits and drove in his first run. Ben Zobrist also had two hits and an RBI.
DeJesus led off the Tampa Bay first with a double and scored on Matt Joyce's sacrifice fly.
In the fourth, DeJesus hit an RBI single off Richards' leg. The Rays scored three times in the decisive inning, and an error on shortstop Erick Aybar put the Rays up 4-0.
"We got one of those snowball innings that we need to have more of," said DeJesus, who is 6 for 11 in three games as a leadoff hitter with Tampa Bay. "We gave away that game yesterday. It's great to bounce back and get Rodney back in there, get him a nice save and have a clean game."
Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton opened the Angels seventh with singles. Kole Calhoun hit a sacrifice fly.
Trout had his 51st multihit game of the season and raised his batting average against right-handed pitchers to .332. He is hitting .333 against lefties.
Hamilton's single in the seventh extended his road hitting streak to a career-high 15 games.
NOTES: Angels 3B Chris Nelson left the game in the seventh inning with a strained right hamstring. The Angels said he will go on the disabled list Thursday. ... The Rays optioned LHP Jeff Beliveau to Double-A Montgomery after the game. ... RHP Jake Odorizzi, called up from Triple-A Durham late Tuesday, will pitch Thursday's series finale for the Rays. It will be Odorizzi's fourth start of the season and first since June 18. . . . Maddon said there is "a strong possibility" the Rays will call up Delmon Young on Sept. 1. The veteran outfielder was signed to a minor league contract on Aug. 22.