American League Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, September 27th (All times eastern)
New York Yankees (90-65) at Toronto Blue Jays (68-87), 7:07 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: New York - Ivan Nova (12-7, 4.94) Toronto - Brandon Morrow (8-7, 3.28)
(Sports Network) - The New York Yankees hope to pad their lead atop the American League East on Thursday when they open a four-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
New York won for the ninth time in 11 tries on Wednesday, as CC Sabathia tossed eight strong innings to lead the Yankees past the Minnesota Twins, 8-2, in the rubber match of a three-game set at Target Field.
Sabathia (14-6) allowed two runs on six hits and a walk with 10 strikeouts to snap a five-start winless streak.
"I felt pretty good. The command on the fastball was there today," Sabathia said. "That's what felt good, being able to go out there and command the ball. The fastball command was great and everything works off of that."
Chris Dickerson hit a two-run homer, while Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson also knocked in a pair of runs for the Yankees, who sit 1 1/2 games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles for the top spot in the AL East.
New York could push that advantage to two on Thursday, as Baltimore has an off-day before starting a three-game series with the Boston Red Sox on Friday.
Getting the call for the Yankees on Thursday will be righty Ivan Nova, who is 12-7 with a 4.94 ERA. Nova was awful on Saturday against the Oakland Athletics, as he surrendered three runs and five hits with two walks in just 2 1/3 innings, but did not factor in the decision of his team's 10-9 win.
Nova beat Toronto the last time he faced it and is 3-1 with a 3.45 ERA in six games (5 starts) against it.
Toronto, meanwhile, will hand the ball in the opener to hard-throwing righty Brandon Morrow, who is winless in his last four starts (0-2). Morrow lost to Tampa Bay on Saturday, yielding five runs and five hits with four walks in four innings, dropping him to 8-7 to go along with a 3.28 ERA.
"I saw powerful stuff, maybe the best overall stuff that he's had since coming back from the injury," Farrell said. "They did an outstanding job of not expanding the strike zone on the slider.
"They laid off a number of them to force him to throw them for a strike and unfortunately he wasn't able to throw his breaking ball for a strike until the third inning, and by that time, they had put a number of good swings on some pitches and really ran up the pitch count."
Morrow is 3-3 in 16 games (9 starts) versus the Yankees with a 4.03 ERA.
Toronto helped the Yankees out a bit this week, as it split a four-game series with the Orioles. However, the Blue Jays were denied a series win on Wednesday, dropping a 12-2 decision.
Carlos Villanueva (7-7) was shelled for six runs and served up four home runs despite striking out seven batters in 4 2/3 innings.
"His secondary pitches were the pitches that were up over the middle of the plate that cost him," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said of Villanueva.
Edwin Encarnacion had a solo homer for the Blue Jays and Anthony Gose added an RBI single in defeat, Toronto's eighth in its last 10 contests.
New York has won nine of 14 from the Jays this season.
09/27 10:23:43 ET