Rays hope to stay in win column vs. Blue Jays

The Tampa Bay Rays try to make it three victories in a row on Friday when they start a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays at Tropicana Field.

Tampa put the brakes on a six-game losing streak by winning the final two of their three-game series with the Seattle Mariners. On Thursday, Evan Longoria's two-run homer in the fifth inning helped lift Tampa Bay to a 7-1 win.

Wil Myers went 3-for-4 with four RBI while crossing the plate twice for the Rays, who are two games back of the Boston Red Sox in the American League East.

Alex Cobb (7-2) tossed five innings in his first game back from the disabled list. Cobb landed on the DL after being struck on his right ear by a line drive in a game against Kansas City on June 15. The right-hander only gave up one run on three hits while fanning six batters.

"It was awesome," Cobb said of returning to the mound. "It's a feeling you can't duplicate anywhere else but being out on the mound and competing at the big league level."

Getting the call for the Rays will be righty Jeremy Hellickson, who is 10-6 with a 4.93 ERA. Hellickson lost his third straight start on Sunday in Los Angeles, as the Dodgers reached him for four runs and seven hits in only three innings.

"Hopefully, I can figure it out (Friday)," Hellickson said. "I feel good. My stuff feels good. I just have to throw more strikes and have better command. If I'm able to do that, I'll be OK."

Hellickson beat the Jays the last time he faced them and is 5-2 lifetime against them with a 2.74 ERA in 10 starts.

Toronto, meanwhile, will counter with the National League's reigning Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey, who is 9-11 with a 4.46 ERA. Dickey did not get a decision on Sunday against Oakland, as he surrendered three runs and six hits in seven frames of his team's 6-4 loss.

Dickey has faced the Rays 11 times (7 starts) and is 3-3 with a 3.99 ERA against them.

Toronto earned a series win over Boston on Thursday, as Mark Buehrle tossed seven innings of one-run baseball and the Blue Jays scored twice in the seventh inning to claim a 2-1 victory over the Red Sox.

Buehrle (9-7) gave up 10 hits while striking out four for the Blue Jays, who have won two in a row since a three-game skid.

Tampa Bay is 8-5 against the Jays this season.