ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Alex Cobb pitched seven solid innings, helping the Tampa Bay Rays keep up their home dominance of Toronto in a 3-2 victory over the Blue Jays on Wednesday night.

The Rays clinched their 16th consecutive home series win over Toronto by winning the first two games of the three-game set. The longest such streak in AL history is 19, held by the New York Yankees against the St. Louis Browns from 1946-51.

Cobb (6-8) allowed one run and five hits, striking out seven.

After Joel Peralta fanned all three batters he faced in the eighth, Fernando Rodney got his 34th save despite giving up David Cooper’s one-out, solo homer in the ninth.

Evan Longoria went 0 for 4, including three strikeouts, in his second game back as the Rays’ designated hitter after sitting out 85 games because of a partially torn left hamstring.

Carlos Villanueva (6-2), who rejoined the team Tuesday after tending to a personal matter, gave up three runs and six hits in six innings for the Blue Jays. Toronto has lost eight of 11, scoring just 29 runs over the stretch.

B.J. Upton hit an RBI double and scored when Longoria grounded into a double play, and Jeff Keppinger hit a run-scoring single as the Tampa Bay took a 3-1 lead during the third.

The Blue Jays went ahead 1-0 on Edwin Encarnacion’s sacrifice fly in the third.

Longoria struck out with a runner on a second and two outs in the first. He had one hit in three at-bats, and a sacrifice fly, in his return in Tuesday night’s 4-1 win over the Blue Jays.

NOTES: Toronto OF Jose Bautista, out since July 17 due to a left wrist injury and still experiencing soreness, had an MRI. … Rays DH Luke Scott (oblique) could be ready to start a minor league rehab assignment in the next few days. … Blue Jays 3B Brett Lawrie missed his fourth consecutive game because of a rib cage injury. Lawrie, who had an MRI exam Tuesday night that showed some oblique inflammation, said he feels a lot better. … Rays RHP Jeff Niemann (broken right fibula) allowed one run over 2 2-3 innings in his first start for Class A Charlotte. … Toronto RHP Drew Carpenter, designated for assignment last Friday, has elected to become a free agent.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.


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