Crawford looks to finish the three-game series between Tampa Bay (25-32) and Toronto (28-30) as strong as he began it when the teams meet Thursday at Rogers Centre.
The left fielder went 2-for-5 on Wednesday with four RBIs in the Devil Rays’ 6-2 victory one day after he was 3-for-6 with a homer, three RBIs and four runs scored in a 12-11 loss in which the Blue Jays scored six times in the bottom of the ninth inning.
“Last night was a devastating loss,” Crawford said. “To come back and respond, have a good game and get the win is good for us. Hopefully we can get some momentum going.”
Crawford, who became Tampa Bay’s all-time leader in hits on Tuesday, is hitting .303 with a team leading 38 RBIs. After Toronto second baseman Aaron Hill hit a two-run double in the third inning to tie Wednesday’s game, Crawford put the Devil Rays ahead for good an inning later with a three-run double.
The Devil Rays have won three of four and seven out of 12 games.
The Blue Jays missed a chance to move back to .500 for the first time since May 1, and had a three-game winning streak snapped. Starter Tomo Ohka allowed five runs and 10 hits in 3 1-3 innings one day after ace Roy Halladay also pitched just 3 1-3 innings.
Toronto stranded 11 runners and was 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position Wednesday.
“We had our opportunities, we had our chances,” said Toronto’s Vernon Wells. “We just didn’t get the job done when we needed to.”
The Blue Jays hope to get some innings out of A.J. Burnett (5-5, 4.02 ERA), who will try to bounce back from consecutive losses.
After allowing four runs in eight innings during a 4-2 loss at Minnesota on May 27, Burnett gave up three runs and six hits in 7 1-3 innings and struck out a season-high 12 on Friday in a 3-0 loss against the Chicago White Sox.
Burnett is 6-1 with a 2.45 ERA in 10 starts against the Devil Rays.
Tampa Bay’s Edwin Jackson (0-7, 7.77) will start again despite another rough outing. The 23-year-old right-hander allowed six runs and six hits in 3 1-3 innings of a 9-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Saturday.
“We’re planning on putting him out there next time out,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said Saturday. “We’ve seen some good performances this year, but we’ve seen this several times. He’s going to turn the corner at some point.”
Jackson is one loss away from Tanyon Sturtze’s team-record of eight straight losses to start a season set in 2002. He hasn’t won a start since Sept. 26, 2005 while pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Jackson has made one start and one relief appearance against Toronto. He failed to receive a decision in either, including a start on May 12 when he allowed four runs and six hits in a 5-4 loss.