The Toronto Blue Jays will try to push their winning streak to four in a row tonight as they play the middle contest of a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays.
After closing July on a six-game winning streak, the Blue Jays won consecutive games just twice in August, including the first two contests of their current winning streak. They extended their current run on Tuesday with an 8-2 victory over the Rays.
Jose Reyes had a three-run homer, Dioner Navarro connected on a two-run shot and Danny Valencia added a solo homer for the Blue Jays, who are 5 1/2 games out of the American League's second wild card spot.
R.A. Dickey earned the win after holding Tampa Bay to just two runs off two hits and three walks with six strikeouts over seven solid innings.
"From a movement standpoint, I had a really good knuckleball tonight," Dickey said.
Ryan Hanigan and Kevin Kiermaier each had an RBI for the Rays, who mustered just two hits and have dropped six of their last nine games.
Jeremy Hellickson lasted just 3 1/3 innings as the right-hander's struggles at home continued. He gave up five runs on eight hits and two walks to stretch his winless streak at Tropicana Field to 10 straight starts.
"A lot of it was poorly-located pitches at the wrong time," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "That three-run home run was the difference in the game."
Toronto will go for the series victory tonight behind right-hander Marcus Stroman, who struggled in his first career meeting with the Rays on Aug. 22.
The rookie was hit hard in the 8-0 loss, charged with five earned runs, 10 hits and three walks over five innings of work.
Stroman did rebound to beat Boston 5-2 on Wednesday and snap a string of three straight losing decisions. The 23-year-old held the Red Sox to two runs -- one earned -- on five hits over 7 2/3 frames with six strikeouts, moving to 8-5 on the season with a 3.88 earned run average.
Countering for the Rays will be right-hander Chris Archer and he'll be trying to put his most recent outing in the rearview.
Archer had been charged with only one earned run in four straight outings, including a seven-inning no-decision at Toronto on Aug. 24, before getting lit up by Boston on Friday. Archer was hammered for eight runs -- seven earned -- and 10 hits over four innings in taking an 8-4 loss.
"This game has a funny way of humbling you, and tonight was a very humbling experience. I'm disappointed in myself," said Archer, who dipped to 8-7 with a 3.40 ERA on the year.
The 25-year-old has never lost in seven previous meetings with the Blue Jays, going 2-0 with a 2.90 ERA.
Though Toronto leads the season series 8-6, Tampa Bay has won four of the past six meetings.