Blue Jays-Yankees Preview

While Jose Bautista’s power this season isn’t a surprise, Curtis

Granderson’s may be.

Baseball’s top home run hitters meet Monday night when Bautista

and the Toronto Blue Jays open a three-game road series against

Granderson’s New York Yankees.

Bautista has followed his major league-leading 54-homer campaign

from 2010 with 18 this year to lead all players. The Yankees

(25-20) know all about how he can impact a game since he has eight

homers against them since the start of last season.

Granderson is two homers behind Bautista – no other AL player

besides those two has more than 12. The Yankees center fielder is

on pace to shatter his career-high total of 30 set two seasons ago

with Detroit.

New York is 3-2 against Toronto (23-23) this season, with

Granderson going 8 for 21 with three homers and seven RBIs while

Bautista has hit .313 with two home runs.

Both players went deep twice over the weekend. The Blue Jays

lost two of three to Houston after a 3-2 loss Sunday while the

Yankees posted a 9-3 win over the Mets to take two of three.

New York used an eight-run rally in the seventh inning to win

the first edition of the Subway Series this year. Derek Jeter

delivered a two-run game-tying single in the inning for his second

hit of the game, leaving him 25 shy of 3,000.

“Sometimes things are contagious,” Jeter said, “and it seems

like it was that inning.”

The Yankees captain is 2 for 21 against Toronto this year.

Alex Rodriguez had four hits and is 13 for 27 over his last six

games. The third baseman’s .149 average against the Blue Jays since

the start of 2010 is his lowest against any opponent.

Toronto is seeking to win five straight on the road for the

first time since May 3-7, 2010.

The Blue Jays will have reliever Jon Rauch available again after

he allowed three runs over 1 1-3 innings in appearances Friday and

Saturday, and was rested Sunday. Infielder John McDonald is

scheduled to rejoin the team after missing the last two games for

personal reasons.

The Yankees will start Bartolo Colon (2-2, 3.16 ERA), who joined

the rotation April 20 by allowing two runs over 6 2-3 innings to

earn a 6-2 victory at Toronto. That was his first start since July

24, 2009.

The veteran right-hander is coming off his best outing of the

year, throwing eight scoreless innings of three-hit ball Wednesday

before Mariano Rivera blew a save in a 4-1, 15-inning victory at

Baltimore.

Bautista has a single in five career at-bats against Colon.

Toronto’s Carlos Villanueva (1-0, 1.48) will make his first

start since Aug. 17, 2009. He’s replacing Jesse Litsch, placed on

the 15-day disabled list Friday due to a right shoulder

impingement.

Villanueva went 6-12 with a 4.81 ERA in 27 career starts with

Milwaukee, the team with which he spent his first five seasons

before joining Toronto this year. Manager John Farrell indicated

the right-hander will be on a pitch count.

“I think every pitcher that has done both (relief and starting

roles) would rather start,” Farrell told the Blue Jays’ official

website. “He’s looking forward to the opportunity.”

Villanueva has thrown two scoreless innings of relief against

New York this year. Granderson has a double in five at-bats against

him.