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Preview: Blue Jays at Rays

Current Conditions – St. Petersburg
Wind: SW 12
5-Day Forecast GAME: Toronto Blue Jays (93-68) at Tampa Bay Rays (79-82)
DATE/TIME: Sunday, October 04 – 3:10 PM EST
WHERE: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida

The Toronto Blue Jays need a victory in their regular-season finale and some help to earn home-field advantage throughout the American League playoffs. The Blue Jays go into Sunday’s contest against the host Tampa Bay Rays one game behind the Kansas City Royals (94-67) and own the tiebreaker in the race for the best record and home field in the AL postseason.

Edwin Encarnacion homered for the fourth consecutive game to push his total to 39 before the Rays rallied for a 4-3 walk-off victory Saturday that evened the season series at 9-9. Encarnacion attempts to join Josh Donaldson (41) and Jose Bautista (40) in the Toronto’s 40-homer club in 2015 while shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is expected back in the lineup after sitting out Saturday. Tampa Bay snapped a five-game losing streak against the Blue Jays on Tim Beckham’s two-run single in the ninth Saturday. Asdrubal Cabrera also homered in the contest for the Rays and boasts nine RBIs in his last nine games.

TV: 3:10 p.m. ET, SNET (Toronto), Sun Sports (Tampa Bay)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Blue Jays LH Mark Buehrle (15-7, 3.82 ERA) or RH Drew Hutchison (13-5, 5.47) vs. Rays LH Matt Moore (2-4, 5.84)

Toronto manager John Gibbons told reporters if Buehrle feels up to it, he will get the start despite tossing 6 2/3 innings in a victory over the Rays on Friday. Buehrle needs two innings to reach 200 for the 15th consecutive season and Hutchison gave up three runs in one inning of a start Thursday at Baltimore before a rain delay. Buehrle is 12-6 lifetime versus the Rays while Hutchison is 4-2 – winning both starts this season.

Moore hopes to finish the season with his fourth consecutive strong performance as he makes his 12th start since returning from Tommy John surgery. The 26-year-old limited his last three opponents to three runs with 19 strikeouts and three walks over 20 2/3 innings combined. Russell Martin is 3-for-5 with a pair of homers against Moore, who is 4-2 with a 3.27 ERA in eight career starts — none this season — against Toronto.


1. Blue Jays CF Kevin Pillar is 20-for-36 during a nine-game hitting streak, recording at least two in seven of those outings.

2. Tampa Bay OF Grady Sizemore belted a double in the ninth inning Saturday to extend his hitting streak to eight games.

3. Toronto LF Ben Revere has hit safely in seven consecutive contests, going 13-for-34 with five RBIs.

PREDICTION: Rays 5, Blue Jays 3