MLB

Rays-Blue Jays Preview

Toronto Blue Jays sluggers Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion have been held almost completely in check in this series against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Chris Archer figures to add to their woes.

The Rays have won nine of Archer's last 10 road starts as they try to capture this four-game series Thursday night in this matchup of 5-4 clubs.

Bautista drilled a two-run homer in Wednesday's 12-7 victory that ended Tampa Bay's four-game win streak for his only hit in seven at-bats in this series to go with four walks. Encarnacion has fared worse, going hitless in 12 at-bats.

Archer (1-1, 2.13 ERA) has enjoyed facing them in the past. Bautista is 2 for 21 with no homers against him; the only AL pitchers Bautista has faced more and has yet to homer against are Baltimore teammates Tommy Hunter and Ubaldo Jimenez.

Encarnacion is 4 for 21 off Archer, though three have gone for homers.

Archer will no doubt be more concerned with Jose Reyes, who is 9 for 20 versus him and 12 for 36 this year.

The Rays right-hander is 1-0 with a 1.84 ERA in five starts in Toronto. He improved to 5-1 with a 1.68 ERA in his last 10 road starts by pitching seven innings of one-hit ball in Saturday's 2-0 victory over Miami.

"Everything felt great," Archer said. "When you're locating your fastball, it makes your secondary stuff twice as good."

Archer has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 14 consecutive road outings to match the club record set by Jeremy Hellickson from April 19, 2012, to April 15, 2013.

He'll get his first look at Blue Jays rookie Devon Travis, who is 5 for 11 in this series after he had three hits with a homer in his first multihit effort Wednesday.

''It's just a really fun lineup and it's great to be a part of it," Travis said.

Josh Donaldson has gone 5 for 9 with three RBIs in his last two games with three hits Wednesday in his first game in the No. 2 batting slot.

Steven Souza Jr. is 6 for 13 in this series for Tampa Bay, including homers in consecutive games for the first time in his career.

''It seems like those just misses are becoming just connections now,'' manager Kevin Cash said of Souza. ''It's good to see.''

Cash would no doubt like to see more from Evan Longoria, who is 6 for 28 this year and 1 for 7 in this series with three walks.

Toronto's Aaron Sanchez (0-1, 8.10) makes his second career start after surrendering three runs in 3 1-3 innings Saturday in his first one, a 7-1 defeat at Baltimore.

The 22-year-old right-hander earned a rotation spot because of Marcus Stroman's season-ending knee injury in spring training. Sanchez yielded one hit over 5 2-3 scoreless innings of relief against Tampa Bay last year as a rookie, with Longoria going 0 for 3 against him.

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