The Blue Jays' winning streak is over, having ended at 11 games as the Rays held them to four hits in a 4-1 loss on Monday night.
But things are different now. Perhaps disappointment will begin to fade out of conversations regarding Toronto's performance following a busy offseason of acquisitions.
The Blue Jays are finally above .500 and in the hunt in the American League East.
"When [the winning streak is] finally over, you hope to start another one," said manager John Gibbons. "But what it comes down to, we're playing good baseball in all phases of the game and a lot of breaks are going our way."
During the winning streak, the starting rotation put together a 2.65 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, led by 34-year-old Mark Buehrle, who has lowered his ERA from 6.33 to 4.60 thanks to six consecutive starts in which he's allowed three earned runs or fewer. He's allowed just two homers over his last eight starts, after allowing 11 homers through his first seven starts.
"Wins kind of come and go, and you can't control some of that, but your ERA and innings are the things I look at personally," he said after shutting out the Rangers over seven innings on June 14. "So for that to keep going down, I know I'm going out there deep into games and giving my team a chance to win."
The Rays, a game ahead of the Blue Jays in the standings, have been playing solid baseball of late, too, though they haven't had much to show for it. That big out from the mound or timely hit at the plate has seemed elusive, though they continue to battle their way through.
Jeremy Hellickson has made big strides, culminating with his seven-inning, one-hit performance on Monday. And Matt Moore, who started the year 8-0 before posting three straight forgettable outings, has turned a corner as well.
Moore, who will take the mound Tuesday, held the Yankees to three runs in his last appearance.
"I don't know if I found something," Moore said. "I think I just kind of started feeding from pitch to pitch. I found a pretty good groove and I tried to stay in it as long as I could.
"I'm trying to stay away from [thinking about mechanics] when I'm on the field. It's more go at them with what you have. ... Just staying aggressive in the zone and attacking early is primarily what we're thinking about right now."
Blue Jays: Reyes on the way
The Blue Jays won't have to wait much longer for the return of Jose Reyes. Toronto announced late Monday night that Reyes will be activated in time for Wednesday's series finale against the Rays. He has been out since April 12 with a severely sprained left ankle but impressed during a recent rehab stint.
Reyes hit .414 (12-for-29) with a double and six runs scored in seven games for Class A Dunedin and Triple-A Buffalo. General manager Alex Anthopoulos watched him play Monday night in Buffalo and then gave the green light for Reyes to rejoin the team.
"He's not limited in anything that he can do, not hobbling at all," Gibbons said earlier in the day on Monday. "He's swinging the bat, stole a base. Basically, he has come so far, but as far as actually playing games, it hasn't been that long -- just trying to build that up."
Rays: Cobb thinks he'll pitch again in 2013
Alex Cobb returned to Tropicana Field on Monday for the first time since getting hit in the head with a line drive on June 15. He's healing quicker than expected.
"I've read a few things where people said I might not pitch again this year," Cobb said. "There couldn't be anything further from the truth. I'll be ready to go as soon as my body tells my I'm 100 percent."
Cobb's return date is still unknown. Alex Colome, who started against the Yankees on Saturday, could continue to fill Cobb's place in the rotation.
• James Loney, Wil Myers and Sam Fuld hit back-to-back-to-back homers on Monday. It was the second time in franchise history the Rays have done that. It first happened in 2008.
• Rays reliever Alex Torres gave up one run on Monday, the first he's allowed this season. He had previously been scoreless in 20 innings, having allowed just four hits.
• Since the beginning of May, Adam Lind is hitting .354 with 10 homers and 27 RBIs.