|Date of game: 7/26/2014
Toronto Blue Jays (54-50) at New York Yankees (54-48), 1:05 p.m. (ET)
(SportsNetwork.com) - The All-Star break appears to be just what the doctor ordered in New York. And a visit from the Toronto Blue Jays doesn't hurt much either.
Since returning from the Midsummer Classic, the Yankees have won all but one of their eight outings. They've been even more dominant at home with the Blue Jays in town and on Saturday will try to beat them in the Bronx for the 18th straight time when the American League East rivals play the middle test of a three-game set at Yankee Stadium.
Just a game over .500 at home to this point in the campaign, the Yankees are shooting for a fifth straight victory overall and hope that they can close the gap in the standings where they are three games behind division-leading Baltimore.
On Friday the hosts chased Mark Buehrle after just three innings, producing six runs on nine hits versus the veteran hurler. Chase Headley accounted for three of the 11 hits overall for the Bronx Bombers, scoring a pair of runs in the process. Ichiro Suzuki notched his first home run of the season as well, plating three.
"Every game from now on is going to be very important," Ichiro said through an interpreter. "Tonight was great, but we've got to go get them tomorrow. It's going to be a lot of tough games coming up."
Francisco Cervelli and Brian McCann added a pair of hits as well, while New York starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda made it through 5 2/3 innings in order to capture his seventh win. Kuroda gave up four runs on eight hits and struck out three, while walking one. David Robertson came on in the ninth to lock down his 26th save as he fanned a pair of batters.
"With the stuff I had, I was struggling all day, but at the same time, I tried to hang in there," Kuroda, who made the 200th start of his career, said through an interpreter.
Jose Bautista did all he could to keep the Jays competitive as he connected on a pair of home runs, finishing with three hits and four RBI. With the defeat, Toronto saw a three-game win streak come to an end and is now in third place in the AL East, four games off the pace.
The Blue Jays' drought in the Bronx is longest road slide by one team against another since Tampa Bay lost 18 in a row at Cleveland from 2005-10.
Winless in his last three outings, Drew Hutchison tries to get back on track for the Jays when he heads to the hill this afternoon. Currently three games under .500 on the campaign (6-9), the right-hander is in just his second major-league campaign after finishing 5-3 a year ago through 11 appearances.
Earlier this week Hutchison was pitted against the Boston Red Sox at home and lasted a mere 2 2/3 innings, bowing for the fifth time in the last six outings. The Sox pelted Hutchison with nine hits, leading to six runs.
The Florida native went up against the Yankees twice last month and each time came out on the losing end. The most recent of those encounters saw Hutchison permit four runs on seven hits and a couple of walks through six innings.
While the Yankees starting staff resembles nothing like it did when the season began, the team had planned on going with a young arm today in Shane Greene, but instead they added former Colorado Rockies hurler Chris Capuano to the roster on Thursday for cash considerations.
Capuano, who last pitched with the Boston Red Sox at the major league level last month, had been used as a reliever, but will be filling a void in the New York starting rotation for the moment.
The left-hander pitched for both for Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Colorado Springs after being released by the Sox in June. For his career, Capuano has a record of 1-0 with a 4.97 ERA in five all-time appearances versus the Jays.
New York is now ahead in the season series by a count of 7-3 and has won all 14 matchups played at home in the last two years.