When the Yankees square off against the Blue Jays in Sunday afternoon's rubber game at Yankee Stadium, they'll be looking to put an exclamation point on the end of one of their most successful homestands.
Since the All-Star break, the Yankees haven't been scalding their opponents, but they've been scoring just enough, winning seven of their first nine. That's been helped by the fact that entering Saturday, Yankees pitchers held opponents to a .222 batting average and a 1.97 ERA, which ranked second in the American League.
Five come-from-behind wins have helped this hot streak, including Friday's 6-4 victory. That boosted the Yankees, who entered the series virtually tied for second place with the Blue Jays in the AL East. But regardless of how the weekend finishes, both teams realize they're still in the thick of the race chasing the first-place Orioles.
"We've been able to win games," said the Yankees' Carlos Beltran. "The division is so tight right now that any inning counts."
The Yanks will tab rookie Shane Greene for the finale, hoping the righty can continue his impressive start (2-1, 2.79 ERA) at the Major League level. Earlier in the week, in light of the Yankees acquiring Chris Capuano, manager Joe Girardi pushed fellow rookie Chase Whitley to the bullpen, keeping Greene in the rotation.
"He's done really good things. You forget about where he was at and throwing the baseball," said Girardi. "Greene's a guy that I think has thrown 175 innings in the Minor Leagues, is used to being a starter. He's thrown the ball really well, and that's why we're staying with him."
Hoping to end some of that success, and steal the series, will be Toronto lefty J.A. Happ, who's coming off one of his best outings of the year, throwing six scoreless innings and earning the victory against the Red Sox.
"That might have been, in my opinion, his best outing of the year," said Blue jays manager John Gibbons. "He had a good curveball going that he established, he used quite a bit. He primarily relies on his fastball, because he has a good one, but he had a good curveball that he was throwing over the plate and a good changeup. That was big, that was a big part of the reason he held them in check."
Yankees: New additions fitting into their pinstripes well
• As Thursday's non-waiver Trade Deadline quickly approaches, the Yankees can rest assured that the new players they've acquired are adjusting well.
Righty Brandon McCarthy, in three starts for the Yankees since being obtained from the D-Backs, has thrown at least six innings each outing, only giving up three earned runs in that span. Meanwhile, third baseman Chase Headley has still been productive after supplying a walk-off hit against the Rangers in his first night since coming from the Padres. The switch-hitter has hit safely in his first five games as a Yankee and has been solid at the hot corner. In his Yanks debut in Saturday's 6-4 loss, Capuano allowed just two runs over six innings.
"I think it's coming to a team they feel has a good opportunity," Girardi said of his new players' success. "You're fighting for something in the month of July, August, September. But also being part of this New York Yankees organization, there's a lot of tradition here, there's a lot of great players that have walked through. The fans support is great, so I think they get excited about all those things. As long as they don't get caught up in expectations, they just go out and be themselves, players are usually OK."
Blue Jays: Encarnacion experiences setback
• Edwin Encarnacion suffered a minor setback in his recovery from a right quadriceps injury and will be shut down for the next few days.
Encarnacion felt some tightness while working out at the club's Minor League complex in Dunedin, Fla., on Friday. He was in the process of coming back from a strained quad that was sustained during a series in Oakland on July 5.
"Eddie had a little setback in Florida," Gibbons revealed Saturday morning. "He's a little bit tender, so we're going to back him off for a few days. ... He was feeling it when he was twisting, the torque in his swing."
The setback isn't considered serious, but it is yet another blow to a team that has been ravaged by injuries for the past month and a half. Encarnacion was nearing a return and there seemed to be hope that he would rejoin the Blue Jays next week in Boston or Houston.
• In 2014, the Yankees are the best in the Major Leagues with a 33-21 mark in games decided by two runs or fewer.
• The Blue Jays snapped their 17-game losing streak at Yankee Stadium in Saturday's 6-4 victory.
• After clobbering two homers Friday, Jose Bautista is the 12th player in the AL to hit 20 this season. It's his fifth straight season with 20-plus dingers.
Jake Kring-Schreifels is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.