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Justin Smoak and Troy Tulowitzki look on from the top step of the Jays dugout on Wednesday.Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

And now Toronto is off to Minnesota to deal with the Twins, who are just about the worst team in the majors, although the Blue Jays aren't exactly tearing it up, either.

After bidding good riddance to the Tampa Bay Rays, who beat Toronto 6-3 at Rogers Centre on Wednesday night to sweep a three-game set, the Blue Jays (19-23) will take their raggedy act on the road in the hope that a change of scenery might result in a change of fortune.

It had better, for the sake of a fan base still delirious over last year's giddy playoff appearance and the job security of a Blue Jays' coaching staff, which will undoubtedly pay the price should the team continue to underperform.

Toronto starter R.A. Dickey, coming off a great eight-inning performance in a victory over Texas on Friday, was simply pedestrian in his latest outing.

Dickey (2-5) allowed five runs (four earned) off eight hits, including three home runs, over six innings.

Edwin Encarnacion jacked his eighth home run off Tampa Bay reliever Erasmo Ramirez in the eighth inning, a solo shot that brought Toronto within two. But the Blue Jays had nothing left in the offensive tank after that in losing for a season-worst fifth straight outing.

Indicative of how bad things are going for Toronto, the Rays were able to restore their three-run cushion in the top of the ninth when Tim Beckham scored from second base on a wild pitch from Gavin Floyd.

Now the Blue Jays are hoping that a trip will help inject some liveliness into an attack gone sour. Toronto could only muster four hits against Tampa Bay on Wednesday.

"Obviously we are in a bit of a rut," Dickey said. "And I think there are some things we can hold on to that we can be optimistic about. I think last year at the end of May we were five or six games under .500. It's not where you want to be, obviously.

"But the same team is in here. We're all capable. And we ran into a team that …has a lot of momentum. They're swinging the bat really well. We are not and we're not pitching really well. And when you combine those things together, you get swept."

After playing four against the woebegone Twins, Toronto will be back to the meat-and-potatoes fare of the American League East with three games in New York against the Yankees.

The Blue Jays return to Toronto following that for a second helping of the Yankees before engaging the Boston Red Sox in a home-and-home encounter.

At that point, the Blue Jays will be pushing the 60-game boundary of the regular season, more than enough of a sample size to prove that last year's first-place finish was not just a one-and-done fling.

The series against the Rays, 19-19, who won the first two games by a combined score of 25-4, did little to sooth jittery nerves.

"We're going to get past this," acting Toronto manager DeMarlo Hale said before Wednesday's game. "When you say bottom line, we just got to start playing better baseball. That includes all phases – pitching, hitting, base running and defence.

"I thought we were doing that at the start of the road trip. When we went out to San Francisco we had some good games out there and Texas. And we come back home, which is a comfort, and Tampa Bay puts some runs up."

The road, Hale said, will hopefully provide a time to regroup.

"That's a good team in that locker room," Hale said. "We are a good team and there's some good players and you can trust them.

"And it's going to change."

Heading into Wednesday's game, the Blue Jays revealed the disconcerting news that the triceps tightness that landed lefty reliever Brett Cecil on the injured list on Sunday has now been diagnosed as a torn lat muscle. Cecil is expected to be out for at least a month.

Desperate for a win Wednesday night after four straight setbacks, the Blue Jays did not start Josh Donaldson, merely their best player. Donaldson had played in all of Toronto's first 41 games.

Hale, working his second game as interim manager while John Gibbons sat out the second of a three-game suspension for his role in the Texas tussle on Sunday, said their third baseman needed some down time. Veteran switch-hitter Jimmy Paredes, claimed on waivers off the Baltimore Orioles earlier in the week, got the start at third, and the move paid dividends early.

In his first starting assignment of the year, Paredes launched a Jake Odorizzi fastball over the wall in left field for a home run that put Toronto in front 1-0.

Back-to-back home runs by Logan Morrison and Desmond Jennings lifted the Rays in front 2-1 in the fourth.

Tampa Bay extended its lead to 3-1 in the fifth when a Paredes throwing error to first base allowed Beckham to score from second.

In the bottom half of the frame, Toronto's Michael Saunders hit his sixth homer to cut the score to 3-2.

But Dickey could not provide the lock-down inning, serving up a two-run home run off the bat of Kevin Kiermaier that brought the score to 5-2 in the sixth.

"We have a gazillion games left so we don't have the time to sit around and pout about it," Dickey said. "We're going into Minnesota and we've got to claim some games there, and I think that we will."