Braves-Rays Preview

After playing well against the current NL East leaders, the Tampa Bay Rays look to continue their interleague success in Tuesday's opener of a two-game series with the Atlanta Braves at Tropicana Field.

The Rays rallied from three-run deficits in winning the final two of a three-game set with the previously surging New York Mets. Rookie Richie Shaffer completed the comeback in Sunday's 4-3 victory with a tie-breaking homer in the seventh inning.

Tampa Bay (56-56) has won five of seven to remain in contention in the AL wild-card race.

''These past few games we've played, we've been playing really, really well," pitcher Chris Archer said. "As a whole, we're starting to find it.''

The Rays are 9-6 against the NL this season and split a pair of earlier meetings with the Braves in Atlanta, earning a 5-3 win on May 19 behind five innings of three-run, two-hit ball from Tuesday starter Erasmo Ramirez.

Ramirez (8-4, 3.83 ERA) has a 2.79 ERA in 15 starts since joining the Rays' rotation in mid-May but is 0-1 with a 4.50 in four since the All-Star break.

The right-hander allowed five runs -- all in the first -- over six in a 6-5, 10-inning road loss to the White Sox on Wednesday.

A.J. Pierzynski is 1 for 8 against Ramirez but is hitting .417 with seven RBIs over his last nine games. Nick Markakis also is swinging well for Atlanta (51-61), amassing 10 RBIs in his last eight and batting .386 since July 27.

The Braves totaled 22 runs in three consecutive victories over lowly Miami before being held to three hits in Sunday's 4-1 loss, extending Shelby Miller's winless stretch to 15 starts.

"It seems like when he pitches, we don't get the hits we need to get," second baseman Jace Peterson said.

Williams Perez (4-2, 4.48) has been hit hard in both starts since returning from a five-week stint on the disabled list caused by a foot injury. The rookie right-hander has surrendered 15 runs and 19 hits over 10 1-3 innings in losses to San Francisco and Philadelphia.

Perez fared better in his first career start against Tampa Bay on May 20, allowing a run in five innings while not getting a decision in a 2-1 Braves win.

He'll face a hot hitter Tuesday in Asdrubal Cabrera, who's batting .463 in 11 games since returning from the DL July 28.

Desmond Jennings, out since April 25 with a left knee injury that required surgery, could return for the Rays after completing a rehab assignment Sunday. The outfielder went 3 for 21 in seven games with Triple-A Durham.

Catcher Curt Casali is expected back after taking a backswing to the head Saturday and missing Sunday's game, but center fielder Kevin Kiermaier's status is uncertain due to a jammed thumb sustained Saturday.

Atlanta has won 11 of 15 games at Tropicana Field, which it last visited in 2012.