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Yankees turn to Kuroda looking to salvage series in Toronto

After a heartbreaking loss on Tuesday night, New York hopes to take finale
06/25/2014 11:06 AM ET
By The Associated Press

Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda pitched to a 3.33 ERA in June.(AP)
(AP) -- Though the Toronto Blue Jays haven't been able to find a way to win at Yankee Stadium for nearly two years, they've fared well at home versus New York this week.

The Blue Jays are in position to record their first home sweep of at least three games over the sliding Yankees in almost 14 years Wednesday night.

Toronto (44-35) has averaged 2.8 runs during a 16-game losing streak in the Bronx, but has totaled 15 while winning the first two of this set versus New York (39-37), which will try to avoid a season-high fifth consecutive defeat. Dioner Navarro hit a three-run homer and Jose Reyes add two hits and scored the winning run on third baseman Yangervis Solarte's throwing error in the ninth inning of Tuesday's 7-6 victory.

The AL East-leading Blue Jays showed their resiliency by prevailing despite blowing a 6-0 lead, something they might have not been able to accomplish during the underachieving 74-88 season of 2013.

"That's big to win that game," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "We don't win that one last year, I know that."

Toronto, which dropped 11 of 15 prior to this series, hasn't swept a three-game set from the Yankees since Sept. 19-21, 2000.

Navarro is 5 for 8 with five RBIs in the last two games while Reyes contributed after going 1 for 24 in his previous six contests.

Derek Jeter and Brian Roberts homered for New York, which also has dropped a season-high four in a row on the road.

The Yankees have something positive to build on after scoring two more runs Tuesday than they did in the previous three games.

"I think over time, things usually balance out," manager Joe Girardi told MLB's official website.

The Yankees' Hiroki Kuroda (4-5, 4.23 ERA) is 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA against the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium, but 1-3 with a 5.65 ERA in five starts at Toronto.

Though he is 0-2 in four June starts, Kuroda has posted a 3.33 ERA while receiving only five total runs of support while on the mound during that span. The right-hander gave up two runs in six innings of a 5-3 win over Baltimore on Friday.

Reyes is 9 for 20 (.450) with two doubles and two triples against Kuroda.

The Blue Jays are hopeful slugger Edwin Encarnacion will be in the lineup after he took an inadvertent elbow to the back of the head from runner Mark Teixeira at first base Tuesday. Batting .436 in his last 10 games overall and .400 versus New York this season, Encarnacion, who leads the majors with 24 homers, remained in the game with no problems.

"There was really nothing I could do," Teixeira said. "Hopefully he's OK."

Teammate Drew Hutchison (5-5, 3.86) allowed a run in six innings of a 4-1 win in his first appearance against the Yankees in 2012, but has yielded 10 runs, 12 hits and seven walks in 7 2-3 innings during a pair of 6-4 defeats to New York this season. He allowed four of those runs and walked four in 4 1-3 innings Thursday.

"You've got to make better pitches," the right-hander said.

Jeter is batting .348 (8 for 23) in his last five games versus Toronto, and is 4 for 9 against Hutchison.

STARTING LINEUPS

YANKEES:

Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Carlos Beltran DH
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Brian Roberts 2B
Kelly Johnson 3B
Francisco Cervelli C

Hiroki Kuroda RHP

BLUE JAYS:

Jose Reyes SS
Melky Cabrera LF
Adam Lind 1B
Edwin Encarnacion DH
Dioner Navarro C
Juan Francisco 3B
Colby Rasmus CF
Munenori Kawasaki 2B
Anthony Gose RF

Drew Hutchison RHP

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