Toronto Blue Jays (69-67) at Tampa Bay Rays (66-71), 7:10 p.m. (ET)
09/02/2014 9:28 AM
09/02/2014 9:29 AM
(SportsNetwork.com) - The playoff-hopeful Toronto Blue Jays take aim at a third straight victory on Tuesday night when they begin a three-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Blue Jays won their final two meetings over the weekend with the New York Yankees, but back-to-back wins for the first time since Aug. 9-10 still only gave Toronto a 9-17 record for the month. They now head into September 5 1/2 games out of a wild card spot and looking to win three in a row for the first time since a six-game winning streak to close July.
Toronto rallied from three runs down to beat New York 4-3 on Sunday. Melky Cabrera and Jose Bautista hit back-to-back solo homers in the sixth inning and Edwin Encarnacion's solo shot in the seventh tied the game.
Munenori Kawasaki then put Toronto ahead with an RBI single later in the frame.
"I think a lot has kind of been made that our team hits home runs -- and that's kind of no secret, so it was nice that we came back with three to tie it up," said winning starter J.A. Happ. "Kawa got the huge hit, so that was really fun to see."
Bautista has homered in a career-high five straight games and is batting .283 with 29 homers and 83 RBI on the season. He is 8-for-26 with three homers lifetime against tonight's starter for the Rays, Jeremy Hellickson.
Hellickson is 1-2 with a 2.98 earned run average in eight starts this season, but 0-1 with a 3.32 ERA in his last four. The right-hander lasted just 4 1/3 innings versus Baltimore on Thursday, charged with four runs -- three earned -- on eight hits and two walks.
Hellickson faced Toronto on Aug. 23 and fanned eight over 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball, getting a no-decision.
Getting the call for the Blue Jays will be R.A. Dickey, who did not factor into his last start on Tuesday versus Boston. In Toronto's 11-7 setback, he gave up three runs -- one earned -- over six innings.
The right-hander is 1-2 with a 4.40 ERA over his last five starts and 10-12 on the year with a 4.00 ERA.
Dickey has lost both of his previous starts versus the Rays this year, giving up eight runs over 11 innings.
Tampa Bay is coming off a four-game split with the Boston Red Sox, winning Monday's finale 4-3 in 10 innings. Matt Joyce had the game-winning hit in the bottom of the bonus frame, driving a long fly to left field and over the head of Yoenis Cespedes with the bases full.
"[I wanted to] hit the ball in the air to left field, preferably far enough to where Cespedes couldn't throw the guy out," Joyce told Tampa Bay's website. "But he's got such a good arm -- you never know with that guy."
Evan Longoria drove in two runs and Wil Myers ended up with three hits and an RBI for the Rays.
Though Toronto leads the season series 7-6, Tampa Bay has won four of the past five meetings.
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