Blue Jays-Yankees Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 25, 2013
While things haven't gone as planned for the Toronto Blue Jays, they're hoping to get a spark from their latest win. The visiting Blue Jays try to post back-to-back victories for the first time in almost two weeks Thursday night as they open a four-game set against the New York Yankees. After suffering back-to-back losses at Baltimore, Toronto (9-13) salvaged Wednesday's series finale with a 6-5, 11-inning win. Rajai Davis, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and J.P. Arencibia all homered before Maicer Izturis drove in the go-ahead run with a bases-loaded walk. "That's what it takes," Davis told MLB's official website. "It takes all of us out there on the field, it takes every one of us pitching (in) to help us win games. We have to pick each other up whenever that happens. "We didn't win the series, but we've got a lot to look forward to. We've got a lot more season left. We're looking forward to winning some more games." Despite Wednesday's effort, the Blue Jays have been limited to a .189 average in dropping three of four on the road. Sitting at the bottom of the AL East, Toronto is 10 for its last 64 (.156) with runners in scoring position. The Blue Jays' only consecutive wins came April 12-13 at Kansas City. "We keep on saying how much a win can do for us, but I think we have to clean up our game," said Arencibia, who leads the club with eight homers. Toronto now turns to Mark Buehrle (1-0, 5.87 ERA), who's gone 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA over his last two starts. He allowed three runs and seven hits over seven innings of Saturday's 5-3, 11-inning loss to New York (11-9). The veteran left-hander is 1-8 in 13 career starts against the Yankees while compiling a 6.03 ERA - his highest mark against any team. Buehrle can't be looking forward to facing Vernon Wells, who's gone 23 for 47 (.489) with two homers in their matchups. "He's a guy who throws strikes, and I'm usually a guy who is swinging often, so I've gotten a few to fall in," Wells said after taking Buehrle deep Saturday. "We talk to each other back and forth. We are two old guys that have been around a long time and have had to face each other several times, so we have fun with it." Wells, who spent the first 12 years of his career with Toronto, is batting .349 with four homers and nine RBIs in his last 10 games against his former team. New York counters with Hiroki Kuroda (2-1, 2.35). After throwing a five-hitter versus Baltimore on April 14, Kuroda scattered three hits over 7 1-3 innings of one-run ball opposite Buehrle last weekend. "His slider was really good," manager Joe Girardi said. "He used it really effectively against the right-handers. He used his split pretty effectively, threw some early curveballs. He just mixed his pitches. He gave us a great outing again." Kuroda, 2-0 with a 1.37 ERA over his last three starts in the series, faces a Blue Jays team that's dropped 12 of 14 in the Bronx. Toronto has hit .224 and been outscored 78-47 over that stretch. The Yankees return home looking to avoid a fourth loss in five games after falling 3-0 at Tampa Bay on Wednesday. New York managed just four singles as Robinson Cano, Travis Hafner, Francisco Cervelli and Lyle Overbay - the team's 3-4-5-6 hitters Wednesday - went a combined 0 for 13. Kevin Youkilis has missed the last four games with lower back tightness but could return Thursday. He's 3 for his last 28 with eight strikeouts.
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