for this game

Blue Jays, Rays commence set up north

Sep 12, 2014 - 2:50 PM (Sports Network) - J.A. Happ wants to be like his teammates.

The left-hander gets a chance to prolong a stretch of recently solid starting pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night, when they host the Tampa Bay Rays in game one of a three-game weekend series at Rogers Centre.

Toronto has won five straight games and nine of 11, a stretch in which its starters have posted a 2.12 earned run average. During the five-game win streak, the Blue Jays' starters have allowed four runs in 29 1/3 innings.

Starters have thrown at least six innings in 17 straight games, which nears a record run of 19 consecutive games Toronto established in 1998.

Happ has split two decisions over his last three starts, but took a 4-3 loss to Boston on Saturday after allowing four runs on seven hits and walking three.

"Maybe I have to kind of rethink the game plan going on," Happ said. "You feel like you're executing, (but) not getting the results, (and) try to figure out what's going on. We'll definitely take a look and see if we have to change something."

He's 2-1 in five career starts against the Rays, including a 2.13 ERA in two straight wins. He last met them in a relief capacity on July 12 and allowed two runs in two-thirds of an inning.

The Blue Jays won three straight over Tampa at Tropicana Field last week and outscored the hosts, 16-6.

Nathan Karns makes his Tampa Bay debut on the mound in place of Drew Smyly, who was shut down for the season after exceeding 150 innings.

Karns lost his lone decision in three starts for Washington last season and was 9-9 in 27 starts for the Rays' Triple-A affiliate in Durham, N.C. in 2014.

"He's been a little bit back and forth," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "There's been times he's been lights-out. Other times, maybe he doesn't survive the third or fourth inning."

On Thursday in New York, Chris Young broke up Alex Cobb's no-hit bid in the eighth inning, then belted a walk-off three-run homer in the ninth to give the Yankees a dramatic 5-4 win over Tampa Bay.

Young's one-out shot into the left-field seats on a 97 mph fastball came after Rays closer Jake McGee (4-2) hit Chase Headley in the chin with a pitch and gave up a double to Ichiro Suzuki. An inning earlier, Young ended Cobb's bid after 7 1/3 innings with a double to right-center field.

Yunel Escobar homered twice off New York starter Michael Pineda -- a three-run blast in the fourth inning and a solo shot in the seventh -- but the Rays blew a sparkling outing from their starter.

On Wednesday in Toronto, Drew Hutchison tossed 6 1/3 strong innings and was backed with plenty of offensive support as the Blue Jays completed a three- game sweep of the Chicago Cubs with an 11-1 victory.

Hutchison (10-11) surrendered just one run on four hits and a walk with 10 strikeouts to earn the win.

"He was outstanding," Toronto catcher Dioner Navarro said.

Edwin Encarnacion, Navarro and Danny Valencia each drove in two runs and Anthony Gose had two hits, an RBI and three runs scored for the Blue Jays.