It took nearly a month for the Tampa Bay Rays to win five road games, but they're on the verge of winning that many in less than a week as part of a hot stretch.
The Rays (24-21) didn't win their fifth road game until May 3, but they've won four of five on a trip that ends with this contest after beating Toronto 4-3 on Tuesday.
Evan Longoria went 2 for 4 to extend his hitting streak to 15. He's batting .400 with three homers and 14 RBIs during the run, which began when he hit a grand slam off Buehrle in an 8-7 loss May 6.
The third baseman is batting .512 with 16 RBIs during a 10-game hitting streak versus Toronto.
Buehrle (1-3, 6.33 ERA) gave up seven runs in six innings against the Rays earlier this month. He's 5-4 with a 5.13 ERA in his last 14 starts versus Tampa Bay, including a loss in the 2008 postseason while with the Chicago White Sox.
The left-hander hasn't won since beating the White Sox on April 15, going 0-3 with a 6.68 ERA in his last five starts. He gave up five runs in six innings of a 5-0 loss to the New York Yankees on Friday.
"I can't really pinpoint (my command) from where it was in previous starts," Buehrle told the team's official website. "I haven't changed anything. I go out there and do what I need to do in between starts to get ready for the next one."
Hellickson (2-2, 5.82) opposed Buehrle earlier in the month, giving up three runs - including a two-run homer to Colby Rasmus - and walking four in five innings. Unfortunately, that's his best outing in a five-start stretch in which he's gone 1-1 with a 7.71 ERA.
The right-hander won Friday despite allowing eight runs and 10 hits in 7 2-3 innings of a 12-10 victory over Baltimore. It was the most earned runs given up in a victory since the Yankees' Andy Pettitte also allowed eight in an 11-10 win over the Orioles on Sept. 29, 2007.
"It's probably my ugliest win," said Hellickson, 3-2 with a 3.19 ERA in seven career starts versus Toronto.
The Blue Jays (18-27) have dropped three of four following their season-best four-game winning streak, totaling five runs in the defeats. Rasmus went 2 for 4 on Tuesday with a homer - his first since hitting one in back-to-back games versus the Rays on May 6 and 7.
Jose Bautista , who went hitless in nine at-bats over his previous three contests, was 2 for 3 with an RBI single Tuesday and has batted .400 in his last eight versus the Rays.
Toronto has lost seven of the last 10 home matchups with Tampa Bay.
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|May 16, 2013||David Price||15-Day DL||Left triceps strain|
|May 15, 2013||David Price||Day-to-Day||Left tricep tightness|
|May 08, 2013||Brandon Gomes||15-Day DL||Strained right lat|
|May 04, 2013||Yunel Escobar||Day-to-Day||Left hand contusion|
|April 27, 2013||Jose Molina||Day-to-Day||Knee|
|April 25, 2013||Yunel Escobar||Day-to-Day||Hamstring|
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|May 11, 2013||Rajai Davis||15-Day DL||Strained oblique|
|May 10, 2013||Rajai Davis||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained oblique|
|May 08, 2013||J.A. Happ||15-Day DL||Head contusion|
|April 29, 2013||Josh Johnson||15-Day DL||Right triceps inflammation|
|April 22, 2013||Maicer Izturis||Day-to-Day||Sore hamstring|
|April 14, 2013||Sergio Santos||60-Day DL||Right triceps strain|
TORONTO (AP) -- Jose Bautista is one dangerous hitter, and he loves to come to the plate with the game on the line.
Bautista homered twice and drove in the winning run with a 10th-inning single, leading the Toronto Blue Jays to a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday.
"He's not just a slugger, he's a complete hitter," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He can do a lot of things with that bat."
The two-time major league home run champion said he thrives on hitting in key situations.
"I get a little more excited for those," Bautista said. "It was a huge moment and I'm just glad I was able to get the ball through that hole and drive in the winning run."
Bautista went 4 for 4 with a walk and four RBIs. Three other players had one hit, but that was it for Toronto's offense.
"He was the reason we won the game today," Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle said.
Facing Cesar Ramos (1-1), Colby Rasmus reached on an infield single to begin the 10th. Rasmus moved to second on Emilio Bonifacio 's sacrifice, then took third on Munenori Kawasaki 's grounder. Pinch hitter Mark DeRosa walked and Kyle Farnsworth came on to face Bautista, who fell behind 0-2 before lining a single into shallow right for the Blue Jays' first game-ending hit of the season.
"The win is huge," Bautista said. "We're obviously excited. Any time you have a walk-off win, it's exciting."
Aaron Loup (2-3) pitched one inning for the win as Toronto took two of three to win a series against Tampa Bay for the first time since August 2010. The Rays had won their past 15 series against the Blue Jays.
"It was pretty important to us," Bautista said. "It's a division game against a team that we haven't won a series against in a long time."
The teams were tied at 2 before Tampa Bay got a run in the ninth. Evan Longoria hit a one-out double off closer Casey Janssen , extending his hitting streak to 16 games. James Loney followed with an RBI single.
But Fernando Rodney couldn't nail down the save, yielding a leadoff home run to Bautista in the bottom half. It was Rodney's fourth blown save in 13 opportunities.
"I think I made a good pitch and he hit a good pitch," Rodney said. "When you have a type of hitter like that, like Bautista, and you make a good pitch and they hit your best pitch, there's nothing you can do."
The Rays have blown 28 leads this season, including four in the ninth inning.
"It's been kind of difficult," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "That was another one that got away. Everybody is doing their best, they're trying. It's just not working out."
Bautista's 11th homer helped Janssen avoid his first loss since April 26, 2012, at Baltimore. Bautista said he feels comfortable facing Rodney, who had 48 saves in 50 chances last year, but refused to explain why.
"I think I have a different approach than everybody else," Bautista said. "I feel pretty comfortable at the plate when he's on the mound. That's pretty much all I can say about that."
Bautista also hit a leadoff drive in the fourth off Jeremy Hellickson . It was his second multihomer game of the season and No. 19 for his career.
"Bautista had himself a pretty good day today," Maddon said.
Toronto is the first team in the majors this season to have three players with 10 or more home runs. Edwin Encarnacion has 12 and J.P. Arencibia has 10.
Rodney got Encarnacion to ground out but was replaced after walking Adam Lind . Joel Peralta came on and sent it to extra innings by fanning Arencibia and retiring Brett Lawrie on a foulout.
Hellickson bounced back after giving up career highs of eight runs and 10 hits against Baltimore in his last outing. He allowed two runs and four hits in a season-high eight innings.
"He did really well," Maddon said. "That was more like Helly tonight."
Anthony Gose doubled on Hellickson's first pitch of the game and scored when Bautista followed with a single. But Bautista was thrown out trying to advance to second on Encarnacion's fly ball to left, and Hellickson set down his next seven batters.
The Rays took advantage of an error by second baseman Maicer Izturis to score two runs in the third. Jose Molina hit a one-out single and Desmond Jennings drew a two-out walk. Ryan Roberts hit a slow roller toward second but Izturis came up empty on an attempt to barehand the ball, allowing Molina to score. Ben Zobrist followed with an RBI single.
The Blue Jays tied it again, and snapped Hellickson's streak of eight straight outs, when Bautista crushed the first pitch of the fourth into the second deck in left.
Buehrle allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings, matching his longest outing of the season. Buehrle has not won since April 15 against the Chicago White Sox, a span of seven starts.
Buehrle struck out four straight in the second and third, and ended his outing by recording 11 straight outs.
NOTES: Longoria started at DH but came on as a defensive replacement at third base in the ninth. ... Rays rookie RHP Jake Odorizzi will get an extra day of rest before his next start, Monday against Miami. The move means RHP Alex Cobb will start on regular rest on Sunday against the Yankees. ... The Blue Jays said RHP Josh Johnson (right triceps) will make his second rehab start with Triple-A Buffalo on Saturday. Johnson pitched three innings for Class-A Dunedin on Monday.