With their offense clicking, the Toronto Blue Jays are closing in on .500.
After a thrilling comeback victory their last time out, the Blue Jays look to win a season-high four games in a row and move back to the break-even mark for the first time in more than a month as they continue their three-game series with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Wednesday
Toronto (28-29) hasn’t been at .500 since May 1, when it was 13-13. The Blue Jays opened May with a nine-game losing streak, but have won 15 of their last 23 games.
Toronto won Tuesday’s series opener with the Devil Rays in exciting fashion, rallying from an early seven-run deficit, and scoring six runs in the bottom of the ninth to win 12-11.
“It was neat to start it and finish it,” Hill, who also started the ninth-inning rally with a leadoff walk. “It was the first time guys didn’t try to do too much. Just a knock here, get them in there and it worked out for the best.”
The Blue Jays have scored 25 runs during their three-game winning streak, and have not won four in a row since Sept. 13-17.
The Devil Rays (24-32), meanwhile, squandered a season-high 17 hits in losing for the third time in five games.
“If you’ve got that many runs, you should win one hundred percent of the time,” Tampa Bay relief pitcher Tim Corcoran said.
Tampa Bay dropped to 2-5 against Toronto this season with Tuesday’s loss, and Scott Kazmir (3-3, 3.95 ERA) looks to shake his struggles against the Blue Jays as he faces them for the third time this season.
Kazmir has lost each of his prior two starts against Toronto, giving up four runs in seven innings of a 6-3 defeat on April 8, and allowing five runs and a season-high nine hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 5-1 loss on May 11.
Kazmir’s only two losses on the season came against the Blue Jays until Friday, when he gave up three runs, eight hits and struck out seven in seven innings of a 4-1 loss to Kansas City.
He threw 105 pitches, and high pitch counts have been a problem for the 23-year-old left-hander all season. Kazmir has thrown at least 102 pitches in 11 of his 12 starts.
“The pitch count got up there. Feels like it’s been like that all season,” Kazmir said after the loss to the Royals. “It’s very frustrating.”
Kazmir is 2-4 with a 3.43 ERA in 10 starts all-time against them.
The Blue Jays counter with Tomo Ohka (2-4, 5.30), who seeks his first win in more than a month.
Ohka has gone 0-2 with a 5.63 ERA in four starts since beating Texas on April 29. The right-hander gave up three runs and eight hits in seven innings of Toronto’s 9-8, 13-inning win over Minnesota in his last start on May 26.
Ohka made his season debut against the Devil Rays on April 7, getting tagged for five runs and six hits in 4 1-3 innings of an 8-5 victory. He is 2-0 with a 2.68 ERA in six lifetime starts against them.