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TOR@OAK: Morrow strikes out 10 over six innings

Jeff Niemann and Brandon Morrow are right where they want to be heading into Monday's series opener between the Rays and Blue Jays.

Niemann, with a 2-3 record and 3.48 ERA, is coming off his best start of the season. Morrow, meanwhile, has won four straight starts with a 0.65 ERA, 30 strikeouts and a shutout during that span. Both will look to keep the momentum in their favor at Rogers Centre on Monday night.

Morrow wasn't even at his best Wednesday against the A's, lacking his usual slider, but he commanded his fastball well enough on both sides of the plate that he racked up a season-high 10 strikeouts in six innings.

He hasn't lost since April 18, when the Rays roughed him up for six runs over six innings. That loss, in which he gave up three homers at Tropicana Field, is really the only bad outing the right-hander has had so far this season.

"It was a matter of keeping the ball down," Morrow said Wednesday. "All my misses were down or off the plate. I didn't have a very good slider and that probably played into it today, as far as getting deeper into counts when I might have been able to put some guys away."

Niemann, on the other hand, had everything working in his last start -- a no-decision against the Yankees in which he gave up one run on six hits and a walk while striking out five over seven innings.

The big right-hander thought he threw quality pitches and managed to stay around the strike zone throughout the game, mixing in his cutter and two-seam fastball with possibly the best fastball command he's had this season.

"It was a pretty good day for that," Niemann said. "That was my best one of the year so far. Hopefully we can build up that momentum and keep it going in the next one."

Rays: Racking up errors
• The Rays committed five errors Saturday night, one by five different players for the first time in franchise history, and recorded two more in Sunday's 9-8 win over the Orioles. Tampa Bay has been among the Majors' leaders in errors this season with 30. Last year, the Rays committed a Major League-low 73 errors.

• Infielder Sean Rodriguez was out of Sunday's starting lineup due to soreness on the left side of his chest but entered the game in the seventh inning as a defensive replacement at third base. He was unable to extend his 10-game hitting streak, however, striking out in the ninth inning.

Blue Jays: Lind hoping to break out of slump
• Adam Lind was out of the starting lineup Sunday and flied out in a big pinch-hit opportunity in the ninth inning, but he will head into this series against the Rays believing he's ready to turn it around. Lind averaged 28 homers, 91 RBIs and a .798 OPS the last three seasons, but he's hitting just .189 with three homers and 11 RBIs this year.

"I'm feeling better than I was a week ago," Lind said. "I know it's a process and hopefully the process is nearing an end.

"I changed a few things at the beginning of this road trip, from walking to trying to be more aggressive," he added. "It's sort of like having Spring Training to figure it out, but having to do it in the middle of the season. But I'm feeling good right now."

Worth noting
• The Rays are a Major League-best 13-3 at home this season, but just 8-11 on the road.

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