Luke Murphy scored twice as Crewe beat Plymouth, who lost ground at the bottom of League Two.
The midfielder opened the scoring when he raced onto Matt Tootle's ball to drill home and made it 2-0 with an unstoppable finish.
Simon Walton gave Argyle hope from the spot before Ashley Westwood scored a spot-kick of his own for Crewe.
Matt Lecointe pulled one back with a turn and finish before team-mate Conor Hourihane's red card for two bookings.
Plymouth had manager Carl Fletcher sent off for critising the decision to award Crewe a penalty after 53 minutes when Durrell Berry tripped AJ Leitch-Smith in the box.
Argyle are now three points behind second-from-bottom Northampton, who beat Morecambe 2-1., while Crewe are safely in mid-table.