Blue Jays-Rays Preview

The Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays' series has been free of confrontations to this point, but that could change when Chris Archer and Mark Buehrle take the mound 10 days after a heated exchange.

Archer looks to lead Tampa Bay to a fifth straight victory Sunday at Tropicana Field while Buehrle tries to move to 4-0 for the second straight year.

Archer (2-2, 1.07 ERA) shut down Toronto in a 4-2 road victory on April 16, striking out 11 while giving up two hits in seven scoreless innings. He got the Blue Jays' attention by hitting Russell Martin and Edwin Encarnacion, though he said both were accidents.

Toronto seemed to retaliate by hitting Evan Longoria in the eighth inning, and Buehrle and Archer shouted at each other from their dugouts afterward. Tampa Bay reliever Steve Geltz also hit Josh Donaldson.

Only one player has been hit by a pitch through two games in this series. A knuckleball got away from R.A. Dickey and struck Brandon Guyer in the Rays' 12-3 win Friday.

Archer said he doesn't anticipate any fireworks Sunday.

"I hope not," he told MLB's official website. "Because it seemed more like a misunderstanding than anything else."

The right-hander hasn't given up an earned run in his last three starts spanning 19 2-3 innings, though an unearned run cost him in Tuesday's 1-0 loss to Boston. He is 3-1 with a 2.98 ERA in 10 career starts versus Toronto, but was crushed in his last two home matchups in 2014, allowing 11 runs over 11 innings.

Buehrle (3-0, 4.00) can become the first Blue Jay to win his first four starts in two straight seasons and the first player since Jack McDowell of the Chicago White Sox from 1992-93. Buehrle also won each of his first four outings in 2002.

Despite that potential achievement, the left-hander hasn't been dominant, giving up eight runs and 23 hits through 18 innings. He allowed three runs - all on homers by Steven Souza Jr. and Mikie Mahtook - over six innings in Toronto's 12-7 home win a day before exchanging words with Archer, improving to 3-0 with a 2.89 ERA in seven matchups since the start of last season.

Buehrle has received 11 runs of support in each outing thus far, becoming the first pitcher to be backed by at least 33 runs in his first three starts since the Chicago Cubs' Jeff Pico had 34 runs of support in 1990.

Toronto (9-9), in danger of dropping three in a row for the first time after Saturday's 4-2 loss, might not be capable of another explosive offensive effort, however. Three of the Blue Jays' five runs in the series have come on solo homers, and Jose Bautista missed his fourth straight game due to a sore shoulder, though he could return Sunday. He's just 2 for 24 against Archer for an .083 average, his second-lowest versus any of the 28 pitchers against whom he has at least 20 at-bats.

Jose Reyes is 9 for 21 against Archer, but 2 for his last 21 overall.

Devon Travis was 2 for 4 Saturday to improve to 18 for 44 (.409) during a 12-game hitting streak.

Longoria was 4 for 4, doubling for the third straight game and moving to 8 for 16 in his last four after hitting .186 previously. Tampa Bay (10-8) is 10 for 32 (.313) with runners in scoring position during its winning streak.

"There are guys top to bottom in the lineup coming through with big hits," Longoria said. "Really just never giving up."

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