The Tampa Bay Rays hope to keep pace in the AL East race as they battle the Toronto Blue Jays in the final stage of a three-game series at Tropicana Field.
Adam Lind homered twice and J.A. Happ delivered a solid start to lift the Blue Jays to a 6-2 victory over Tampa Bay in the second game of the series to avenge a 5-4 loss they endured in Friday's opener. Jose Bautista added a solo homer and two runs scored in the win, while Brett Lawrie extended his hitting streak to seven games by going 2-for-4 with an RBI single.
"I'm always trying to find my swing, no matter what time of the season it is," Lind said. "The season is so long. You just have to fight through the bad times and find a comfort zone. It's like everything else in life. When you feel comfortable, you have a better chance of success."
Toronto won despite Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Gose both going 0-for-4. Encarnacion, who is tied for third in the majors in home runs with 30 and is also ranked fourth with 90 RBI, had a five-game hitting streak end in the win. Jose Reyes was not in the lineup and is out until at least Tuesday because of swelling in his right knee.
The Blue Jays will send Todd Redmond to the hill as they try to steal the series. The 28-year-old righty held Boston scoreless for 5 1/3 innings on Tuesday but took a no-decision. Redmond has allowed three runs or fewer in all six of his starts. He has fanned 36 batters in 29 2/3 innings.
Tampa Bay is hopeful Chris Archer can finally find success in August after being named the AL's Pitcher and Rookie of the Month in July. The 6-foot-3 right-hander went 4-0 with a 0.73 ERA last month, but is 0-2 with a 6.59 ERA in August. He fell to 6-5 after he surrendered five runs to Seattle on nine hits before being replaced after five innings on Tuesday.
"I'm making good pitches and sometimes, good isn't enough," Archer said after Tuesday's setback. "I take full responsibility for that loss. If I execute a couple pitches, we win that game. It's on me, and I was really hoping to go out there and reverse the fortune we've been having. Tonight wasn't the night."
Archer lasted at least six innings in all five of his starts in July. He defeated Toronto on July 21, holding the Jays to a single run over seven innings. In that game, Encarnacion, Bautista, Lind and Lawrie went a combined 0-for-13 against Archer.
The offense will need to be better for Archer to have a chance. On Saturday, Evan Longoria finished 2-for-4 with a run scored and Yunel Escobar had an RBI single for Tampa Bay, which had a three-game win streak halted and fell two games back of Boston for first place in the AL East. Wil Myers is 0-for-8 with four strikeouts so far in the series.
Tampa Bay is 9-6 against the Jays this season. Toronto is in sole possession of last place in the AL East, entering Sunday sitting 15 games back of Boston.