ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Toronto Blue Jays got some good news about injured slugger Jose Bautista after another loss at Tampa Bay.
Alex Cobb pitched seven solid innings, helping the Rays keep up their home dominance of Toronto in a 3-2 victory over the Blue Jays on Wednesday night.
Toronto manager John Farrell said Bautista, on the disabled list since July 17 due to a left wrist injury, has been cleared to take dry swings and hit off a tee on Monday.
"At that point, it's still proceed with his tolerance to any kind of discomfort," Farrell said. "This will be a cautious approach and we'll monitor it daily. Hopefully with some additional time down, he'll get back into the swing of things. Looking forward to getting him back, making progress towards eventual activation."
The MRI exam showed improvement, but some inflammation in one small spot.
Bautista has 27 homers this season after belting 43 last season and a majors-leading 54 in 2010.
The Rays clinched their 16th consecutive home series win over Toronto by winning the first two games of the three-game set. The longest such streak in AL history is 19, held by the New York Yankees against the St. Louis Browns from 1946-51.
Carlos Villanueva (6-2), who rejoined the team Tuesday after tending to a personal matter, gave up three runs and six hits in six innings for the Blue Jays. Toronto has lost eight of 11, scoring just 29 runs over the stretch.
"We seem to struggle for some reason playing in this park," Villanueva said.
Villanueva had returned home to the Dominican Republic because he said an immediate family member had a life-threatening virus.
"My mind was in a better place now that I know everything back home is fine," Villanueva said.
Cobb (6-8) allowed one run and five hits, striking out seven.
After Joel Peralta fanned all three batters he faced in the eighth, Fernando Rodney got his 34th save despite giving up David Cooper's one-out, solo homer in the ninth.
Evan Longoria went 0 for 4, including three strikeouts, in his second game back as the Rays' designated hitter after sitting out 85 games because of a partially torn left hamstring.
B.J. Upton hit an RBI double and scored when Longoria grounded into a double play, and Jeff Keppinger hit a run-scoring single as the Tampa Bay took a 3-1 lead during the third.
"That inning I should have given up two runs," Villanueva said. "That Keppinger hit kind of bothered me. I had him two strikes."
The Blue Jays went ahead 1-0 on Edwin Encarnacion's sacrifice fly in the third.
Longoria struck out with a runner on a second and two outs in the first. He had one hit in three at-bats, and a sacrifice fly, in his return in Tuesday night's 4-1 win over the Blue Jays.
NOTES: Blue Jays 3B Brett Lawrie missed his fourth consecutive game because of a rib cage injury. Lawrie, who had an MRI exam Tuesday night that showed some oblique inflammation, said he feels a lot better. ... Toronto RHP Drew Carpenter, designated for assignment last Friday, has elected to become a free agent.