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TB@TOR: Buehrle allows three runs over 6 1/3 innings

For Mark Buehrle, a solid outing against the Rays in the series finale on Thursday will go a long way toward hitting the 200-inning mark for the 14th straight season. It would also give the Blue Jays a shot at sweeping the three-game set at Tropicana Field.

In his 13 years as a starter, Buehrle has yet to fall short of the 200-inning plateau, although a three-month-long slump has the veteran lefty in danger of missing it this year. Buehrle is 33 innings short heading into Thursday.

With Toronto trailing Detroit by 4 1/2 games for the second American League Wild Card spot, a start against the Rays may come at the right time. Buehrle is 10-5 all-time against Tampa Bay with a 4.19 ERA in 21 starts, his best career numbers against any AL East opponent.

But after a red-hot start to the season, Buehrle has won only once since June 1, and over his last 10 games, he is 1-4 with a 5.45 ERA. He hasn't been able to last seven innings in a game over that span.

"He had that stretch, two or three starts in a row, where he didn't make five [innings]. But he feels good; he says he kind of caught a second wind. His arm feels good," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons.

Right-hander Jake Odorizzi will try to help the Rays avoid being swept for the first time since they dropped four in a row to the Marlins in the first week of June. It'll be his 28th start of the season.

Odorizzi allowed no runs on one hit and three walks while striking out seven in seven innings against the Red Sox his last time out to move to 10-11.

Things almost got away from Odorizzi in the seventh when he issued three straight walks, but overall, he said he felt sharp.

Odorizzi is focused on staying healthy while shouldering a solid workload as the regular season winds down.

"You don't want to have something pop up this late in the year and that's how your season ends. You want to end the season on your own terms," he said. "Go out, make all your starts. That's been my goal from the beginning of the year -- make every start."

Blue Jays: Rasmus loses center-field job
Colby Rasmus is no longer the full-time starter in center field as the Blue Jays intend to use the final month of the season to evaluate some of their younger players.

Rasmus was informed of the club's decision earlier this week. Anthony Gose and Kevin Pillar are expected to receive the bulk of the playing time as they audition for a potential platoon situation next year.

This would appear to mark the end of Rasmus' up-and-down tenure in a Blue Jays uniform. There hasn't been any indication about when he's expected to play, but at most, Rasmus, who will become a free agent in the off season, will be used in a part-time role.

Rays: Martinez interested in Astros' job
Bench coach Dave Martinez found himself on the short list of candidates when the Astros were looking for a manager two years ago, and he believes he's ready for another shot at the job this time around.

After dismissing Bo Porter on Monday, Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said the search for a new manager would begin immediately. Luhnow has said he is willing to hire a candidate with no previous managerial experience, and he'd take another look at some of the candidates who interviewed in 2012.

Martinez said on Wednesday that he hasn't heard from Houston since Porter was dismissed, but he would seem to fit the job description.

"Right now, as far as I'm concerned, it's just speculation. I heard my name was thrown out there, and I welcome all interviews. It would be a great opportunity," Martinez said.

Martinez, who will turn 50 later this month, has previously interviewed with the Indians, Blue Jays, Astros and Cubs.

Worth noting
• The Rays lost a set to the Blue Jays at home for the first time in 22 series, 21 of which came at Tropicana Field. Tampa Bay also swept one three-game "home" series against the Jays in Orlando in 2008.

• Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista has reached base safely in 119 of his 131 starts this season.

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