After ending a lengthy losing streak at Yankee Stadium, the Toronto Blue Jays will look to accomplish something else that’s proven elusive there in recent years – win a series.
Toronto takes on the New York Yankees on Sunday seeking just a second series victory in its last 12 tries in the Bronx.
The Blue Jays (55-50) had dropped 17 straight road games versus New York since Aug. 29, 2012 prior to Saturday’s 6-4 victory, which pulled them back into a second-place tie in the AL East with the Yankees. The victory in the Bronx two years ago was part of their only series win in their last 11 at Yankee Stadium.
Dan Johnson drove in four runs, including three on a ninth-inning homer, his first since Oct. 3, 2012, when he went deep three times for the White Sox at Cleveland.
"We were trying anything," Johnson said of the Blue Jays, who skipped batting practice before each of the past two games. "Just to kind of change the feeling, the mojo here."
Toronto, which had plated four runs or fewer in each of its previous 14 games at Yankee Stadium, is batting .323 while averaging 6.2 runs over a 4-1 stretch. Jose Bautista, who hit his 20th double Saturday, is 9 for 17 in that span, while Melky Cabrera and Dioner Navarro are each 8 for 20.
J.A. Happ (8-5, 4.55 ERA) will try to nail down the series after shutting Boston out for six innings in a 7-3 victory on Tuesday.
"It might have been his best outing of the year," manager John Gibbons said.
The left-hander owns a 7.52 ERA over his last six road games and is 2-2 with a 5.22 ERA in seven career starts versus the Yankees, though he held them to one run and four hits over seven-plus innings without a decision in a 4-3 loss on Sept. 18.
Carlos Beltran, who homered for the second straight game Saturday, is 7 for 20 off Happ with three home runs. Derek Jeter, batting .353 during an eight-game hitting streak versus Toronto, is 6 for 11 off Happ.
The Yankees (54-49) will be turning to rookie Shane Greene (2-1, 2.79) after a rough performance in his first career home start Monday. Greene limited Cleveland and Baltimore to a combined two runs over 13 1-3 innings in his first two starts, but committed three errors and needed 113 pitches to get through 5 2-3 innings while giving up four runs in a 4-2 loss to Texas. He threw seven fewer pitchers over 7 1-3 innings in his previous outing at Baltimore.
"I think I was just rushing a little bit," Greene told MLB’s official website. "I wasn’t exactly making the pitches I wanted to make, and they took advantage of it."
Rookies are 5-3 with a 4.89 ERA in 10 starts against Toronto this year. New York’s Masahiro Tanaka and Chase Whitley accounted for three of those victories.
The Blue Jays haven’t won consecutive road games since a six-game winning streak from May 20-June 5. They’ve since gone 6-16 away from Toronto.