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Red-hot Blue Jays eye ninth straight win and sweep of Rays

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The Sports Network
5/28/2014 10:55:45 AM
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Having already locked up their fifth consecutive series victory, the Toronto Blue Jays will try to sweep the Tampa Bay Rays for the first time since 2010 as the clubs conclude a three-game set tonight.

The Blue Jays have slugged their way to a pair of victories to open this set, pushing their winning streak to an impressive eight straight games. Tuesday's 9-6 win gave Toronto a fifth straight series victory for the first time since Sept. 17-Oct. 3, 2010 and put the club in position to sweep Tampa Bay in a three-game set for the first time since Aug. 6-8, 2010 in Toronto.

Toronto has homered in 10 straight games, with Edwin Encarnacion a big part of that surge. He went deep in last night's win to match a club record for the most homers in a month with 14. That equaled Jose Bautista's mark set in June of 2012.

Juan Francisco and Adam Lind also homered, while Bautista went 3-for-4 with an RBI in Toronto's 13th win in 15 games.

"Everybody's having fun," Encarnacion said. "You can see it on their faces. We're playing great baseball."

That also holds true for starter Mark Buehrle, who picked up his Major League- leading ninth win of the season last night. He gave up four runs -- three earned -- over 6 2/3 innings.

Sean Rodriguez went 2-for-3 with three RBI and Wil Myers knocked in two runs for the Rays, who had won four in a row prior to this series.

Tampa Bay starter Alex Cobb came into Tuesday's start with a 21 2/2 scoreless- innings streak. He stretched that to a club-record 24 2/3 straight frames before the Blue Jays finally got to him for a total of six runs over his five- inning outing.

"He was really good, moving along really nicely and all of a sudden they struck," Rays manager Joe Maddon said of Cobb.

Now it will be Chris Archer's turn to try and tame the Blue Jays' offense and he comes in having not allowed a run in his past two outings.

Archer hurled 5 2/3 frames of two-hit ball in a 3-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels on May 16, then did not factor into Friday's decision versus Boston despite six scoreless innings. Archer scattered four hits and five walks while matching a career high with 11 strikeouts and throwing a personal high 119 pitches.

Walks have been a concern for the right-hander as he has issued 19 free passes over his last five outings, but still comes in 3-2 on the year with a 4.11 earned run average.

Archer, 25, is 2-0 with a 2.01 ERA in four previous meetings with the Blue Jays, beating them on April 3 after giving up two runs over six frames with seven strikeouts.

The Blue Jays counter with Liam Hendriks, who made his Toronto and season debut with a 3-2 win over Oakland on Friday. The righty yielded one run on three hits and three walks, also fanning three in 5 2/3 frames.

"I was given opportunities in Minnesota and I didn't capitalize on them," said the 25-year-old Hendriks, who played for the Twins from 2011-2013. "Now I've got a different mindset coming into the season of just getting ready, getting aggressive and getting after guys early.

"I think it's paid dividends so far and hopefully I can continue this trend and stay up here all year."

Hendriks, who was 5-0 with a 1.48 ERA in nine games this year with Triple-A Buffalo before getting recalled, faced the Rays once before while with the Twins and did not get a decision, allowing four runs over 5 2/3 frames in the start.

Liam Hendriks (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)

Tonight's Blue Jays lineup vs. Rays

1. Jose Reyes-SS
2. Melky Cabrera-LF
3. Jose Bautista-RF
4. Adam Lind-DH
5. Edwin Encarnacion-1B
6. Juan Francisco-3B
7. Brett Lawrie-2B
8. Dioner Navarro-C
9. Anthony Gose-CF
SP Liam Hendriks

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