Toronto (13-15) at Tampa Bay (15-13)

Thunder in the Vicinity Currently: St. Petersburg, FL
Temp: 88° F
  • Game info: 6:40 pm EDT Tue May 3, 2011
  • TV: RSN, SUN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Tampa Bay Rays have put a disastrous start behind them despite having Evan Longoria(notes) on the disabled list for the last month.

Longoria will return Tuesday night against one of his favorite opponents as the Rays open a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays at Tropicana Field.

Longoria left Tampa Bay’s second game of the season and went on the DL the following day with a strained left oblique muscle. Hitless in five at-bats for the Rays (15-13), Longoria spent this past weekend with Double-A Montgomery and had four hits, including three homers, in 15 at-bats over four games.

“It feels like I’ve been gone so long,” he said. “I’m just happy to be back, and back in the lineup.”

Tampa Bay will have Longoria, who hit .294 with 22 homers and team highs of 46 doubles and 104 RBIs last season, back in the No. 3 spot in the lineup Tuesday, and it seems to come at a perfect time.

The three-time All-Star hit .385 with nine RBIs and 12 runs in 18 games against the Blue Jays last season, and is batting .464 with one homer and 14 RBIs in his last 16 home contests against them.

The Rays have won 23 of 29 meetings with the Blue Jays (13-15) at Tropicana Field, and took two of three in Toronto from April 22-24.

Tampa Bay seemed to be on the verge of winning its sixth straight series Sunday, leading Los Angeles 5-0 after one inning, but ended up losing 6-5 to drop two of three to the Angels. The Rays, who opened 1-8, have won 13 of 17.

“We’ve got to do a better job of a keeping a lead,” Joe Maddon said.

Maddon turns to Wade Davis(notes) (3-2, 2.73 ERA), who allowed two runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings in Wednesday’s 8-2 win over Minnesota.

Davis has posted a 1.74 ERA in winning his last three starts, and has yielded two or fewer runs in each of his last four outings. The right-hander won a career-best four consecutive starts last July.

Davis, whose turn in the rotation didn’t come up in the series in Toronto last month, has recorded a 1.84 ERA in winning his last two starts against the Blue Jays. He has limited Jose Bautista(notes) to one hit in nine at-bats.

Bautista, who has nine homers and a .530 on-base percentage, left a 5-2 loss to New York on Sunday with neck tightness, and he was not in the starting lineup Tuesday.

Bautista went 7 for 8 with three solo homers, a double, triple and five walks against the Rays last month.

Manager John Farrell gives the ball to Jo-Jo Reyes(notes) (0-2, 5.48) who could be pitching to keep his spot in the rotation.

Reyes hasn’t won since June 13, 2008, while pitching for Atlanta, having gone 23 starts since his last victory.

“He’s a pretty aware young guy,” Farrell told the Blue Jays’ official website. “He’s understanding of the situation he’s in, and he would do himself and certainly us a world of good to go out there and pitch a good game.”

The right-hander permitted six runs - all in the third inning and all unearned because of a one-out throwing error by third baseman Edwin Encarnacion(notes) - and five hits in a season-low 2 2-3 innings in a 7-6 loss to Texas on Wednesday but didn’t receive a decision.

Against Tampa Bay on April 22, Reyes gave up four runs and six hits - three to Sam Fuld(notes) - in seven innings of a 6-4, 11-inning win.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Reyes Phi vs. W. Davis KC
7-11 Record 11-10
5.57 ERA 4.45
87 K 105
48 BB 63
1.59 WHIP 1.38


Tuesday, May 3