Toronto (75-77) at New York (89-63)

  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Fri Sep 23, 2005
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Shawn Chacon may have saved his spot in the New York Yankees’ rotation in his last start.

The right-hander will try to build on his best performance as a Yankee when AL East-leading New York opens a three-game series with the visiting Toronto Blue Jays.

Chacon, acquired from Colorado at the trade deadline to help fill out New York’s injury-plagued rotation, went 3-1 in his first six starts with the Yankees, yielding two earned runs or fewer in all but one of those outings.

However, Chacon dropped two of his next three starts, including a 9-2 defeat to archrival Boston at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 10 that appeared to put his slot in the rotation in jeopardy.

Chacon didn’t take long to win back the confidence of manager Joe Torre. On Saturday, the five-year veteran picked up a fatigued bullpen by tossing eight innings of four-hit ball in a 1-0 victory over the Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre.

Chacon allowed four hits, struck out one and walked one to improve to 5-3 with a 3.25 ERA in 11 appearances, including 10 starts, for New York.

“The pressure was totally on Chacon and he handled it really well,” Torre said.

Chacon has pitched very well in three career starts against the Blue Jays, going 2-0 with 1.29 ERA.

The Yankees handled their first day in sole possession of first place since mid-July well, holding on for a 7-6 victory to complete a four-game sweep of Baltimore on Thursday.

Jorge Posada homered twice and Mike Mussina pitched six strong innings in his return from a sore elbow as New York pulled one full game in front of idle Boston in the East. The Yankees, who had not been alone in first since July 18, have won 10 of 11 and four in a row on a seven-game homestand.

The Blue Jays earned a split of their four-game series with Seattle, pulling out a 7-4 victory on Alex Rios’ two-run homer in the eighth. Toronto, which dropped two of three to New York at the Rogers Centre last weekend, completed a 4-6 homestand.

After taking on the Yankees, the Blue Jays will head to Boston for a four-game set with the Red Sox.

“It’s going to be nice to have a say in it,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said of the playoff race.

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Starting Pitchers

T. Lilly LAD vs. S. Chacon OAK
10-11 Record 8-10
5.56 ERA 3.44
96 K 79
58 BB 66
1.53 WHIP 1.33