Toronto has now won 13 of its last 15 games, increases AL East division lead

Mark Buehrle becomes MLB's first nine-game winner

TORONTO (AP) - Alex Cobb got drilled by another line drive, only this one was below the belt instead of above the neck.

Mark Buehrle became the first nine-game winner in the majors, Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind hit back-to-back home runs and the Toronto Blue Jays extended their winning streak to eight games, beating Cobb and the Tampa Bay Rays 9-6 Tuesday.

Last June, Cobb was hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of Kansas City's Eric Hosmer and wound up in hospital. He didn't return until mid-August.

This time, he was struck on the upper right thigh by Jose Reyes, the first batter of the fifth inning. Cobb tumbled backward and appeared shaken up, but stayed in the game.

"The first couple of warmup pitches the leg was still a little bit dead," Cobb said. "Honestly, by the third or fourth pitch, going back into game mode, it wasn't a factor. It was something I felt was out of my mind."

Cobb said last year's scary incident "didn't even cross my mind while I was out there."

Asked whether he felt fortunate to be struck on a fleshy part of the body, rather than his skull, Cobb wasn't entirely convinced.

"That's an odd word to choose," he said. "I've had worse outcomes on comebackers. You hope when it does happen it hits you in a meaty spot on the body and this time it did."

Cobb (1-2) lost for the first time since April 1 and saw his streak of 24 2-3 scoreless innings snapped. He allowed season-worsts of six runs and nine hits in five innings, walked one and struck out seven.

"He was carving us up pretty good early until he got hit," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.

Sean Rodriguez had three RBIs for the Rays, who lost their second straight following a season-best four-game winning streak. Rays manager Joe Maddon is hoping to get out of Toronto without being swept.

"Taking one out of three right now sounds very enticing," Maddon said.

Buehrle (9-1) won his season-best fifth straight decision, allowing four runs, three earned, and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings. The left-hander walked one and struck out three.

Casey Janssen finished for his eighth save in as many chances.

Juan Francisco also homered for the AL East-leading Blue Jays, who have won 13 of 15 and are 19-7 in May.

Encarnacion connected for the 14th time in May, matching Jose Bautista's team record for home runs in a month. Bautista hit 14 homers in June 2012.

The Blue Jays lead the majors with 76 home runs. They have gone deep in 10 straight games and 29 of their past 34, hitting 58 homers in that span.

"They're no fun right now," Maddon said. "Everything they've got going on right now seems to be working."

The Rays gave Cobb the lead in the fourth on an RBI double by Rodriguez and an RBI grounder by Will Myers, but the right-hander couldn't hold it. Brett Lawrie and Dioner Navarro hit two-out RBI singles in the bottom half to tie the game and snap Cobb's scoreless streak. He had not allowed an earned run since his first start, April 1 against Toronto.

Things unraveled quickly for Cobb after he was struck. Reyes went to second on a grounder and scored on Bautista's single. Lind hit an opposite field home run and, two pitches later, Encarnacion drilled a towering homer into the third deck, his 16th, tying him with Baltimore's Nelson Cruz for most in the majors.

Rodriguez hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth, but Toronto added two more in the bottom half on an RBI single by Melky Cabrera and a bases-loaded balk by reliever Brad Boxberger.

The Rays chased Buehrle in the seventh when James Loney doubled and scored on Matt Joyce's RBI grounder.

Francisco replied in the bottom half with a leadoff homer off Josh Lueke.

Rodriguez tripled home a run off Steve Delabar in the eighth and scored on Myers' sacrifice fly.

NOTES: The Rays selected C Ali Solis from Triple-A Durham and transferred RHP Matt Moore (elbow) to the 60-day DL. ... Rays RHP Chris Archer (3-2) faces Blue Jays RHP Liam Hendriks (1-0) in Wednesday's series finale.
 

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