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Rays-A's preview

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What's new: The A's (75-58) are coming off a walkoff loss to the Tigers on Thursday. But they took three of four from the Central leaders (after losing two of three at Baltimore) and are only a half-game behind the Rays for the top wild-card spot. Oakland recently got opening day starter RHP Brett Anderson (stress fracture in his right foot) back, and ace RHP Bartolo Colon (groin) returned Thursday. 3B Josh Donaldson (.294, 19 homers, 77 RBIs) is having a good year with LF Yoenis Cespedes (20 homers) and OF/1B Brandon Moss (25) providing power. RHP Grant Balfour gave up four in the ninth Thursday but has converted 33 of 35 save chances.

Key stat: Moss hit four home runs during the four-game series against the Tigers and already has surpassed his career high (set last season) by four.

Connections: Balfour, C Stephen Vogt and injured C John Jaso are former Rays. A's bullpen coach Darren Bush, 39, was born and raised in Dunedin. Rays OF David DeJesus and first-base coach George Hendrick are former A's.

Series history: The Rays swept a three-game series at the Trop April 19-21. The A's lead overall 86-55, including 47-21 in Oakland.

Joe Smith, Times staff writer

Rays-A's preview 08/29/13 [Last modified: Thursday, August 29, 2013 8:09pm]
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  1. Offense gets some juggling

    The Heater

    TORONTO — The night after scoring six runs to emerge from what had been a historically fallow offensive stretch seemed like an odd time to make changes to the lineup, but that was exactly what the Rays did for Wednesday's late game against the Blue Jays.

    Associated Press
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Blue Jays game

    The Heater

    You wonder if the scouting reports and/or workload are catching up to rookie RHP Jake Faria. The bottom line wasn't bad again, three runs in 5 1/3 innings, but he's having to work harder to get there.

  3. Rays journal: Chris Archer eager for eventful final stretch

    The Heater

    TORONTO — RHP Chris Archer takes the mound today for the Rays as they head into the final 40 games of the season with little margin for error as they battle for an American League playoff spot.

    PLUNKED AND PEEVED: The Jays’ Josh Donaldson gets hit by a Jake Faria pitch in the third inning, showing displeasure with a long stare on his way to first base.
  4. Tim Tebow's slump continues, as does fan support


    CLEARWATER — On July 29, playing against the Charlotte Stone Crabs, Tim Tebow smacked a mammoth three-run homer, helping the St. Lucie Mets cruise to a 10-3 victory at Charlotte Sports Park.

    St. Lucie’s Tim Tebow, shown Monday at Spectrum Field, struggled at the plate Wednesday against the Threshers.
  5. Rays at Blue Jays, 4:07 p.m. Thursday


    Today: at Blue Jays

    4:07, Rogers Centre, Toronto

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Rays info: Toll-free 1-888-326-7297

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: RH Chris Archer (8-7, 3.84)

    JAYS: RH Chris Rowley (1-0, 1.69)