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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, July 18th (All times eastern)

Toronto Blue Jays (45-46) at New York Yankees (56-34), 1:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Toronto - Ricky Romero (8-5, 5.03) New York - Hiroki Kuroda (8-7, 3.67)

(Sports Network) - The power of the New York Yankees has been well documented this season and it has the ballclub on the doorstep of a three-game sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays this afternoon from the Bronx.

The Yankees lead the majors with 145 home runs and target their eighth series sweep of the season (one short of 2011). They have scored six runs in each of the first two games of this series and are coming off Tuesday's 6-1 triumph behind the return of All-Star left-hander CC Sabathia.

Sidelined with a strained groin, Sabathia was activated off the disabled list in time to toss six scoreless innings. He struck out six batters, walked one and allowed four hits for his 10th win of the season (10-3).

"He looked like he (did) before he got hurt," Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said of Sabathia. "He did exactly what we've come to expect."

Five relievers held the Blue Jays to a run the rest of the way and closer Rafael Soriano nailed down his 24th save by getting the final two outs in the ninth inning. New York, which leads the AL East by 9 1/2 games ahead of Tampa Bay, has won eight of 10 games and has scored three or more runs in 41 straight games. The team record is 49 games from Sept. 7, 1950 through May 16, 1951. Cleveland did it in 48 games back in 1994.

Andruw Jones hit a three-run homer and Robinson Cano went 1-for-4 with a run scored to extend his career-high hitting streak to 20 games. Cano has 13 runs, six homers, 20 RBI and 11 multi-hit games during the surge. The Yankees have homered 44 times in the past 23 contests and are 38-2 when holding opponents to three runs or less.

The Yankees will start a seven-game road trip out west following today's game and will visit both Oakland and Seattle.

Taking the mound for New York Wednesday will be Hiroki Kuroda. Kuroda has been shelled in each of his last two starts -- both no-decisions -- and has allowed a total of 11 earned runs. He took the hill in Friday's 6-5 win over the LA Angels of Anaheim and gave up five runs and eight hits in 7 1/3 innings. He is still 8-7 on the season with a 3.67 earned run average in 18 starts.

Kuroda is 6-3 in 10 starts at Yankee Stadium in 2012 and lost his only appearance against the Blue Jays in an 8-1 loss on May 16 up north. The Japanese right-hander was reached for seven runs and eight hits in five innings.

Toronto hopes to salvage the finale of this set in the Bronx before heading to Fenway Park for a three-game series with the Boston Red Sox.

With slugger Jose Bautista on the disabled list with a wrist ailment, the Jays displayed no power last night. Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind finished with two hits apiece for Toronto, which lost for the sixth time in nine tries. Colby Rasmus provided the scoring with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning.

Encarnacion has recorded a hit in 23 of his last 24 games on the road, dating back to May 13.

Brett Cecil started for the Blue Jays and was dealt the loss for surrendering three runs and six hits in six innings. Sam Dyson allowed three more runs in relief.

"It was a pretty solid outing," said Cecil. "I kept the ball down for the majority of the game."

It's been almost a month since Blue Jays starter Ricky Romero tasted victory and getting off the schneid today could be a challenging task. Romero is 0-4 with an 8.14 earned run average in his last four starts and last prevailed on June 22 at Miami.

Romero turned in a quality start in Friday's 1-0 loss to Cleveland and gave up the lone run and six hits in six innings. He is 8-5 in 19 starts this season and managed to lower his earned run average to 5.03.

The left-hander will face the Yankees for the first this season and is 3-3 with a 5.65 ERA in 10 starts against them. He also is 3-2 with a 4.95 ERA in seven starts at Yankee Stadium, spanning 43 2/3 innings. Romero went 1-2 in four starts against the Yankees last season.

Toronto won two meetings with New York back in May, but has lost seven in a row at Yankee Stadium, getting outscored 42-20 in that time.

The Blue Jays' seven straight losses at Yankee Stadium marks their longest road losing streak against New York since dropping eight straight from June 23, 1995-June 4, 1996.

07/18 10:31:55 ET