MLB

Blue Jays-Yankees Preview

Bold moves at the trade deadline have the Toronto Blue Jays creeping closer to the New York Yankees in the AL East race.

The surging Blue Jays take aim at an eighth straight win and three-game sweep of the first-place Yankees on Sunday with a chance to move within 1 1/2 games of the division lead.

Toronto's hot streak has been fueled by deals for All-Stars David Price and Troy Tulowitzki, both of whom played key roles in Saturday's 6-0 victory. Price yielded three hits over seven innings while Tulowitzki had a solo home run, which followed Justin Smoak's grand slam that snapped a scoreless tie in the sixth.

''Everybody's doing their part. Everybody's being their piece of the puzzle,'' said Price, who's given up one run in 15 innings in winning his two starts with Toronto.

The Blue Jays (60-52) have won all 10 games Tulowitzki has started and 10 of 11 overall. They've homered four times while limiting the Yankees to one run in the series and can record their first sweep of New York of at least three games since May 2003.

The Yankees (61-48), who haven't dropped three straight since June 28-30, will call upon Masahiro Tanaka to prevent their first three-game sweep since Texas accomplished the feat at Yankee Stadium from May 22-24.

Tanaka (8-4, 3.84 ERA) has won four consecutive home starts behind an offense that's produced 32 runs in those outings. The right-hander was backed generously in Tuesday's 13-3 rout of Boston in which he allowed three runs in six innings.

Tanaka won all three starts against Toronto last season but allowed four earned runs in four innings of a 6-1 home defeat to the Blue Jays on opening day.

"We need him to step up and pitch a good game, give us an opportunity to win," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Edwin Encarnacion had a two-run homer in that April 6 meeting and is 5 for 10 against Tanaka, who's held Jose Bautista and Josh Donaldson to a combined 1 for 16 with six strikeouts.

Encarnacion is batting .400 during an 11-game hitting streak and Donaldson is at .372 with six homers and 14 RBIs over his last 11.

Toronto's 151 home runs rank second in the majors - four ahead of the Yankees - while Tanaka has surrendered six in his last three home outings and 12 in his past eight starts overall.

New York, which has managed 11 hits over the first two games, will attempt to break out against Marco Estrada (9-6, 3.40). The Yankees tagged the right-hander for five runs and eight hits over four innings in his lone start against them, a 6-3 Toronto loss at Rogers Centre on May 5.

Estrada has been solid of late, however, posting a 2.50 ERA in his last nine starts. He gave up three runs over 12 1/3 innings to notch wins over Kansas City on July 30 and Minnesota on Wednesday, though both came at home.

Estrada has gone 3-3 with a 4.17 ERA in eight road starts. He's 3-0 with a 2.65 ERA in eight day appearances, however.

Several Yankees have enjoyed success against Estrada. Mark Teixeira has homered twice in five at-bats, Brian McCann is 6 for 15 and Jacoby Ellsbury 3 for 5. Carlos Beltran is 3 for 15 in the matchup but two of the hits were home runs.

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