Chris Archer was dialed in from the first pitch and Desmond Jennings dialed into one pitch.

The combination added up to give the Rays a 2-1 victory against Baltimore (34-27) on Friday as Tampa Bay (33-27) opened up a key 10-game homestand with a win to tighten the race in American League East with the top four teams now separated by 31/2 games.

In his second start since being called up, Archer (1-1) was dominant, allowing only two hits through seven innings, retiring 13 of the final 14 batters he faced before handing the game over to the bullpen. Joel Peralta tossed a scoreless eighth, while Fernando Rodney pitched a perfect ninth on nine pitches for his 13th save, striking out Chris Davis to end the game.

Jennings made sure Archer's outing was a success by belting a two-run home run to straightaway center field in the bottom of the seventh that turned the game around.

"Archer pitched well, he pitched his (tail) off," Jennings said. "Any time a pitcher goes out, especially against a team like (Baltimore) that hits as well as they do, and to keep them to one run, he played better than all of them tonight."

The outing was a solid rebound for Archer, who allowed five runs and seven hits — including two home runs — in four innings of work in his first start last Saturday in Cleveland. On Friday, he said he was locked in from the first pitch and found his only trouble of the night when he walked two in the top of the third before allowing a two-out RBI single to Manny Machado. After that base hit, Ryan Flaherty's two-out double in the fifth was the only base runner allowed by Archer.

"It was one of those special nights that you have to try to tap into every game," Archer said. "And I was able to tap into it from pitch one."

Rays manager Joe Maddon said he liked Archer's mound presence throughout the night, noticing how calm and in control the 24-year-old looked while facing a formidable Baltimore lineup. Archer was able to pitch a career-best seven innings, which is also the most he has pitched at any level this season, including 10 starts at Triple-A Durham.