New York (83-62) will conclude this nine-game road trip with a three-game series at first-place Boston starting Friday. The Yankees, seeking a 10th straight AL East title, trail the Red Sox by five games in the division race.
This trip has been a pleasant one so far for New York, which has won the first five games to move closer to securing a postseason berth. The Yankees, who are on their longest winning streak since a season-high, nine-game run from June 5-14, lead Detroit by four games for the wild card.
New York won 4-1 on Wednesday despite managing only four hits. The game marked a successful return to the rotation for veteran Mike Mussina, who made his first start since Aug. 27.
Mussina yielded five hits over 5 2-3 scoreless innings to earn the victory after going 0-3 with a 17.69 ERA in his previous three starts.
“When I look back on this year, those three games are probably going to ruin my year,” Mussina said. “I’ve got to live with that and move on from it.”
Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez went 0-for-3 to end his streak of multihit games at seven. Rodriguez was 15-for-27 (.556) with seven homers and 11 RBIs during his run, and is hitting .332 on the road.
Rodriguez also committed a throwing error on a routine grounder in the eighth inning that allowed Russ Adams to score Toronto’s only run. The unearned run ended Yankees rookie Joba Chamberlain’s scoreless streak at 15 1-3 innings.
Rookie Ian Kennedy (1-0, 2.25 ERA) makes his third career start for New York. Kennedy was impressive in winning his debut, allowing three runs—one earned—and five hits over seven innings in a 9-6 victory over Tampa Bay on Sept. 1.
The right-hander followed that up by lasting five innings and giving up two runs and seven hits in a 3-2 win at Kansas City last Friday.
Kennedy’s first two starts came when he replaced Mussina in the rotation. A first-round draft pick out of Southern California in 2006, he started the season at Single-A Tampa, and was promoted to Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before the Yankees recalled him.
Although Mussina has returned, Yankees manager Joe Torre indicated he might use six starters once Roger Clemens returns from an elbow injury.
Toronto (72-73) has lost five straight to fall below the .500 mark for the first time since it was 53-54 on Aug. 1. The Blue Jays have also lost eight of their last 10 meetings with the Yankees, who haven’t swept a three-game series at Rogers Centre since March 31-April 2, 2003.
A.J. Burnett (8-7, 3.56) has been outstanding for Toronto since returning to the rotation on Aug. 12. He is 3-1 with a 1.90 ERA in six starts since missing nearly six weeks due to right shoulder pain.
Burnett pitched well Saturday, conceding only one run and three hits over eight innings, but closer Jeremy Accardo allowed four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning in a 5-4 loss at Tampa Bay on Saturday that started the club’s current skid.
“He was really impressive, once again,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons told the team’s official Web site. “Early on, he was just throwing, but then he started throwing more breaking stuff, more curves and he shut them down for eight innings.”
Burnett won his only start against the Yankees this season, scattering four hits over seven innings in a 6-0 victory on April 26. The right-hander improved to 3-2 with a 3.73 ERA in five career starts against them.