September 07, 2014

Paced by the streaking Jose Bautista, the Toronto Blue Jays continue to do their best to remain a serious postseason contender.

The surging Blue Jays can record a fourth consecutive victory by sweeping the visiting Chicago Cubs, who hope to avoid matching a season high with their sixth straight defeat Wednesday night.

Bautista delivered a go-ahead, three-run double in the seventh as Toronto (75-69) scored all but one of its runs in its last two at-bats of Tuesday's 9-2 victory. Edwin Encarnacion and Kevin Pillar each had three hits as the Blue Jays also won their fourth straight at home.

Winners in eight of 10, the Blue Jays are doing their best to remain in the mix for a wild-card spot in the AL.

Bautista is batting .333 with eight homers and 19 RBIs during a 13-game hitting streak that matches his career high.

''Jose has been one of the best hitters in baseball over the last few years,'' Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. ''He's got the knack of doing something big when it counts, when we need something.''

Encarnacion, meanwhile, is batting .381 in the last five games, and Pillar is 8 for 16 in the last four.

After pounding out 26 hits while outscoring the Cubs (64-81) 17-2 in the first two games of the set, Toronto could face a serious challenge against rookie Kyle Hendricks (6-1, 2.02 ERA).

Chicago has won seven straight starts and all but one of the 10 by Hendricks, who has yielded 10 earned runs over 56 1-3 innings since giving up four over six of a 6-4, 12-inning loss at Cincinnati in his major league debut July 10.

The right-hander allowed a season-high nine hits but two runs and didn't walk a batter during the 6-2 victory over Milwaukee last Wednesday.

"This start was a lot different than all the other ones I've had," Hendricks told MLB's official website. "It was by far the worst stuff I had. It was just one of those days. I was able to limit the damage."

Batting .218 while being outscored 37-9 during their five-game slide, the Cubs could be in for another rough outing versus Drew Hutchison (9-11, 4.47).

The right-hander has allowed two runs and eight hits while striking out 24 over 21 2-3 innings to go 2-0 in his last three home starts. He gave up one hit and fanned nine in seven innings of a 2-0 victory over the New York Yankees there Aug. 30.

Hutchison followed that gem by yielding three runs and striking out six in six innings of a 9-8, 10-inning defeat at Boston on Friday.

Facing the Cubs for the first time, Hutchison gave up 10 runs and 15 hits in 11 innings to go 0-1 in his first two interleague starts this season before allowing a run and three hits while striking out 10 in seven innings of a 4-1 home victory over Milwaukee on July 1.

Chicago's Welington Castillo had three hits Tuesday and is 10 for 25 with six RBIs in his last seven contests.

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