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Major League Baseball
Preview
Toronto at Tampa Bay
When: 7:10 PM ET, Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Where: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida

Jose Bautista is trying to keep the Toronto Blue Jays in the playoff chase on his own with homers in five straight games, one shy of the club record set in 2001 by Jose Cruz Jr. Bautista, who has belted 29 home runs this season, will try to make history when the Blue Jays visit the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday in the opener of their three-game series. Toronto starts a six-game road trip after winning three of its last four and is 5 1/2 games behind Detroit in the race for the American League’s second wild-card spot.

Edwin Encarnacion and Melky Cabrera also homered in the 4-3 victory over the New York Yankees on Sunday as the Blue Jays won a series after going 0-4-1 in their previous five. Tampa Bay is 6-10 since climbing back to .500 from 18 games below and needs a major run to get back in the playoff race. Evan Longoria has collected 18 RBIs for the Rays in his last 18 games for a team-high 78.

TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, RSN (Toronto), Sun Sports (Tampa Bay)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Blue Jays RH R.A. Dickey (10-12, 4.00 ERA) vs. Rays RH Jeremy Hellickson (1-2, 2.98)

Dickey has managed just one victory in his previous five starts and has struggled with control, walking 11 over his last four outings. The 39-year-old knuckleballer is 4-9 on the road in 2014 and has permitted 23 homers overall - seven in his last eight games. Matt Joyce has homered twice against Dickey, who is 4-5 (0-2 this season) versus Tampa Bay with a 4.30 ERA in 15 career games (11 starts).

After allowing fewer than two runs in four of his first five starts, Hellickson has given up nine over a total of 15 2/3 innings in his last three outings. The Iowa native surrendered two runs and three hits in 6 1/3 frames without receiving a decision against the Blue Jays on Aug. 23. Bautista is 8-for-26 with three homers versus Hellickson, who is 5-3 with a 3.06 ERA in 13 career starts against Toronto.

WALK-OFFS

1. The Rays have committed 75 errors this season, already 16 more than they were charged with in 2013.

2. Toronto 1B-DH Adam Lind has hit 22 homers against Tampa Bay in his career, his highest total versus any team.

3. Tampa Bay’s starting pitchers were second in the majors in ERA (2.93) during August, but the Rays finished the month with a 13-16 record.

PREDICTION: Blue Jays 6, Rays 3
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Toronto 69-67 W2 37-31 32-36 31-26 16-16 12-18 10-7
Tampa Bay 67-71 W1 31-38 36-33 28-30 12-14 17-17 10-10
Last Meeting
Toronto Tampa Bay
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
8/24/14 TB 2 x TOR 1 .216 0 .501 .263 0 .633
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Toronto J. Reyes .325 13 .747
Tampa Bay M. Joyce .419 13 1.148
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Toronto J. Bautista 2 7 6
Tampa Bay E. Longoria 2 7 11
Pitching ERA Avg K
Toronto 4.70 .246 97
Tampa Bay 3.66 .278 101
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Toronto M. Cabrera .305 169 .819
Tampa Bay J. Loney .283 147 .703
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Toronto J. Bautista 29 79 83
Tampa Bay E. Longoria 17 70 78
Pitching ERA Avg K
Toronto 4.13 .259 1006
Tampa Bay 3.46 .249 1243