Preview: Rays seek series split vs. Blue Jays

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TIME: Coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. ET

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TORONTO -- Chris Rowley made history Saturday, becoming the first graduate of West Point to pitch in the major leagues.

The Toronto Blue Jays right-hander won the game, holding the Pittsburgh Pirates to one run in 5 1/3 innings.

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Rowley (1-0, 1.69 ERA) makes his second start Thursday in the finale of a four-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays at the Rogers Centre.

Tampa Bay will start right-hander Chris Archer (8-7, 3.84 ERA).

The Rays showed signs of emerging from an offensive slump when they defeated the Blue Jays 6-4 on Tuesday in the second game of the series.

They reverted to their recent ways Wednesday, though, with a 3-2 loss to the Blue Jays. Tampa Bay needs a win Thursday to escape with a split against its American League East rival.

The Rays stranded nine baserunners Wednesday.

"Tight ballgame," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "We had our opportunities but just weren't able to capitalize."

The Rays (60-62) have been held to two or fewer runs eight times over their past 12 games, going 3-9 in that span.

The Blue Jays (58-62) are 9-5 in their past 14 games and have allowed two or fewer runs in five of their past seven contests.

The Rays adjusted their lineup for the Wednesday game, moving Corey Dickerson from the leadoff spot to sixth in the order with Brad Miller batting first.

"Maybe just a change of scenery for both the guys that got flip-flopped will do some good," Cash said. "I like the way that Brad has gotten on base. That helps. And Corey, to be able to drop him down, give him a blow in some of those big pressure situations, might help get him going also."

Miller is not likely to remain in the leadoff spot, but Dickerson is likely to remain lower in the order for a while.

"Giving him some time to get some stuff in order," Cash said.

Miller was 1-for-4 with one RBI on Wednesday while Dickerson was 2-for-4 with a double.

It was Dickerson's first multi-hit game since Aug. 3. In his 10 previous games, he was 4-for-44.

Archer ended a run of 15 consecutive starts in which he had pitched at least six innings when he lasted 5 1/3 frames against the Cleveland Indians on Saturday. He allowed seven hits, two walks and three runs while striking out eight in a 3-0 loss.

He will be making his 23rd career start against the Blue Jays.

Archer is 6-4 with a 3.13 career ERA against the Blue Jays, his most frequent opponent. In three starts against Toronto this season, he is 0-0 with a 2.57 ERA. He has made 10 career starts at the Rogers Centre, going 3-2 with a 2.98 ERA.

Rowley allowed five hits and one walk while striking out three against the Pirates.

"Awesome, really, and we've been looking for that," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He looked very confident out there. He had good life on his fastball, good sink to his fastball. Threw some good breaking balls. A debut is never easy, but I thought he did a tremendous job. He ought to feel proud of himself and excited."

Rowley received a standing ovation at Rogers Centre when he was replaced in the sixth inning.

"That was really, really cool," Rowley said. "Having my family here to share it with me, walking off and all those people standing, that was something that was really special for me. I don't think anybody really expects to experience that in their life, but it was pretty special."