The boot of outside half Andy Goode kept England in touch as he kicked five penalties, but it was tries from Stade Francais No 8 Juan Martin Leguizamon and Buenos Aires wing Gonzalo Camacho that gave the home side the upper hand.
The Pumas were 14-3 ahead at the break and extended their advantage to 18 points when Camacho ran in his try shortly after the re-start. Goode chipped away at the lead with three successive penalties before his fifth got England back within a converted try of the lead.
That prodded the Pumas back into action and star player Juan Martin Hernandez dropped a goal to give his side a bit more breathing space.
England's response was to conjure a try for Bath wing Matt Banahan which Goode converted to cut the gap to two points.