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American League Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, May 22nd (All times Eastern)
Tampa Bay Rays (24-21) at Toronto Blue Jays (18-27), 4:37 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Tampa Bay - Jeremy Hellickson (2-2, 5.82) Toronto - Mark Buehrle (1-3, 6.33)
(Sports Network) - Jeremy Hellickson tries to keep Tampa Bay in the win column on Wednesday when the Rays play the rubber match of their three-game set with the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
Tampa bounced back from a loss in the opener of this set on Tuesday, as Evan Longoria tallied two hits and scored twice, while Kelly Johnson and Desmond Jennings smacked solo homers in the Rays' 4-3 win.
Longoria extended his career-best hitting streak to 15 games and is batting .400 (24-of-60) with nine doubles, three homers and 14 RBI during the torrid stretch.
Alex Cobb (5-2) surrendered a run on three hits and two walks for Tampa Bay, which has won four of its last five and 10 of its last 13 games.
"I kind of felt like it was my worst stuff-wise game, but when you have a quality outing without your best stuff, you're very pleased with that," Cobb remarked.
Fernando Rodney tossed the final 1 2/3 innings to notch his ninth save of the year.
Ramon Ortiz (1-2) lasted just 2 1/3 innings and gave up four runs on six hits and a walk for the Blue Jays, who had prevailed in five of their past seven tilts coming in.
"He didn't have it tonight," Jays manager John Gibbons said of Ortiz. "His command was off and that's something he needs."
Getting the call on Wednesday for Tampa will be Hellickson, who is 2-2 with a 5.82 ERA. Hellickson did not have his best stuff on Friday in Baltimore, but got the win, despite surrendering eight runs and 10 hits in 7 2/3 innings.
It was the most earned runs allowed by a winning pitcher since New York Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte on Sept. 29, 2007.
"The guys are getting so many runs; all I want to do is help this team win, and it feels like I'm doing the complete opposite," Hellickson said. "Especially late in the game, when I want to be out there. I'm just putting myself in some tough situations there the last few games. I just have to get better with runners on and eliminating those innings that have been happening."
Hellickson is 3-2 in seven starts versus Toronto with a 3.19 ERA.
Toronto, meanwhile, will counter with lefty Mark Buehrle, who has lost his last three decisions. Buehrle was roughed up by the Yankees on Friday and allowed five runs and six hits in six innings to fall to 1-3 on the year to go along with a 6.33 ERA.
"I didn't feel as good as last game but still making some pitches," Buehrle said after the game. "Just that last inning, first-pitch double and then a good bunt, and I tried to battle, tried to get out of that inning, but unfortunately I couldn't."
Buehrle could get himself untracked Wednesday, as he is 8-3 lifetime versus the Rays with a 4.56 ERA in 19 games (14 starts).
Tampa has won 13 of 19 north of the border. The Rays, though, split a four- game series with the Jays at home earlier in the month.
05/22 10:29:16 ET
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