Final

Series: Game 1 of 3

Tampa Bay leads 1-0 (as of 9/12)

Game 1: Friday, September 12
Tampa Bay1Final
Toronto0
Game 2: Saturday, September 13
Tampa Bay3Final
Toronto6
Game 3: Sunday, September 14
Tampa Bay6Final
in 10
Toronto5

Rays 1

(71-77, 38-35 away)

Blue Jays 0

(76-70, 40-32 home)

    7:07 PM ET, September 12, 2014

    Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario 

    123456789 R H E
    TB 001000000 1 2 1
    TOR 000000000 0 2 2

    W: N. Karns (1-0)

    L: J. Happ (9-10)

    S: G. Balfour (12)

    Rays-Blue Jays Preview

    STATS LLC

    Solid starting pitching has helped pace the Toronto Blue Jays' current surge.

    Hoping to be more efficient than his last outing, J.A. Happ looks to continue that trend as the Blue Jays seek a fifth consecutive victory Friday night against the visiting Tampa Bay Rays.

    Toronto (76-69) starters have a 2.12 ERA while the club has won nine of 11, and yielded four runs over 29 1/3 innings during the club's current winning streak.

    "They've really picked it up," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons told MLB's official website. "Even coming into the season, that was really the question mark of the team, 'How was the rotation going to hold up?' ... They're pitching a lot better than I expected if you want to know the truth."

    Drew Hutchison yielded a run and struck out 10 over 6 1/3 innings in Wednesday's 11-1 rout of the Chicago Cubs. It marked the 17th consecutive contest a Toronto starter has pitched at least six innings -- the team's longest stretch since doing so over 19 straight in 1998.

    "Most of them give you a shot every time out there," said Gibbons, whose team is 3 1/2 games out of the final AL wild-card spot. "They're not going to be good every time, but they're on a nice little roll."

    Happ (9-9, 4.44 ERA) has gone 1-1 with a 4.74 ERA while lasting at least six in each of his last three outings. He hopes to better after allowing four runs and seven hits with three walks in six innings of a 4-3 loss at Boston on Saturday.

    "Maybe I have to kind of rethink the game plan going on," Happ said. "You feel like you're executing, (but) not getting the results, (and) try to figure out what's going on.

    "We'll definitely take a look and see if we have to change something."

    The left-hander went 0-1 with a 10.97 ERA in his first three career starts versus Tampa Bay, but has a 2.13 ERA while winning the last two. Though Happ is making his first start against the Rays (70-77) this season, he allowed two runs in two-thirds of an inning in relief during a 10-3 loss at Tropicana Field on July 12.

    Toronto, which totaled 28 runs while sweeping the Cubs, outscored the Rays 16-6 while taking all three in St. Petersburg last week.

    Jose Bautista hit .357 in that series, but he went 0 for 10 last month when the Blue Jays dropped two of three at home to Tampa Bay. Bautista's 13-game hitting streak ended with an 0-for-2 night Wednesday.

    Bautista and the Blue Jays will get their first look at Nathan Karns, who makes his Rays debut Friday after the club decided to shut down Drew Smyly.

    Karns, who went 0-1 with a 7.50 ERA in three starts for Washington last season, was 9-9 with a 5.08 ERA in 27 starts for Triple-A Durham this year.

    "He's been a little bit back and forth," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "There's been times he's been lights-out. Other times, maybe he doesn't survive the third or fourth inning."

    Ex-Blue Jay Yunel Escobar had four RBIs on two homers during the Rays' 5-4 loss to the Yankees on Thursday.

    He went 5 for 7 in the last two games but is 3 for 14 versus Happ.

    Teammate Ben Zobrist is 6 for 10 with three double against him.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Gameday Matchup

     Tampa BayToronto
    W-L77-8583-79
    Night49-5654-51
    Grass37-3531-40
    Current StreakL1L1
    Last 103-76-4

    Pitching Matchup

    Tampa BayToronto
    N. Karns
    1-1, 4.50 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/21 vs CHW
    5.0 IP, 6 ER
    Dec = Loss
    J. Happ
    11-11, 4.22 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/27 vs BAL
    6.1 IP, 2 ER
    Dec = Win

    Gameday Lineups

    NO.Tampa BayToronto
    1. B. Zobrist, LF J. Reyes, SS
    2. B. Guyer, LF J. Bautista, RF
    3. E. Longoria, 3B E. Encarnacion, 1B
    4. W. Myers, RF A. Lind, DH
    5. J. Loney, 1B D. Navarro, C
    6. Y. Escobar, SS D. Valencia, 3B
    7. L. Forsythe, 2B K. Pillar, LF
    8. R. Hanigan, C R. Goins, 2B
    9. S. Rodriguez, DH A. Gose, LF