Two starting pitchers who weren't even with the team a few weeks ago have helped the New York Yankees stay in the thick of the AL East race.
Now they'll test out a third - and their 11th different starter this year - as newcomer Chris Capuano looks to cool off Jose Bautista and extend the Toronto Blue Jays' astonishing misery in the Bronx on Saturday.
New York's 6-4 victory Friday broke a second-place tie with the Blue Jays in the East and pushed its winning streak to four, one off a season high. Toronto had a three-game win streak snapped as its drought at Yankee Stadium reached 17 games, the longest road slide by one team against another since Tampa Bay lost 18 in a row at Cleveland from 2005-10.
New York is 7-1 on a 10-game homestand which began after the All-Star break.
"You walk in this stadium, you feel energy. It's hard to really describe why, but it's there," said Chase Headley, who had three hits in his fourth game since joining the Yankees.
Toronto (54-50) has not surpassed four runs in its last 14 games in the Bronx, and New York (54-48) hasn't allowed more than four in 11 straight overall despite a patchwork rotation.
Amid a rash of injuries, Yankees starters have a 2.42 ERA over the last 13 games. While rookie Shane Greene is 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA since his call-up, Brandon McCarthy is 2-0 with a 1.45 ERA since his July 6 acquisition from Arizona - also giving Yankee fans hope that another journeyman can revitalize his career with New York.
The 35-year-old Capuano was acquired from Colorado for cash Thursday and is replacing rookie Chase Whitley, who was moved to the bullpen.
"We're going with the guy that's a little bit more experienced," manager Joe Girardi said.
Capuano (1-1, 4.55 ERA) began the season with Boston, making 28 relief appearances before being released July 1. The former All-Star signed with the Rockies but only appeared in the minors, going 1-0 with a 2.79 ERA in four starts.
"If you look, at the beginning of the year, he was great," Girardi said of Capuano, who threw 15 straight scoreless innings to open the season. "We're confident that he can pitch extremely well for us."
The left-hander hasn't done well with Bautista, who is 7 for 18 against him with two homers, two doubles and four walks.
The All-Star slugger drove in all of Toronto's runs Friday with two homers off Hiroki Kuroda - the only healthy member of New York's original rotation. Bautista is 8 for 15 with three homers and six RBIs in his last four games.
Bautista is batting .359 off southpaws, but Toronto has hit an AL-low .237 against them.
Problems against lefties have plagued Blue Jays right-hander Drew Hutchison (6-9, 4.54). Left-handed hitters are batting .348 in his last six starts as he's gone 1-5 with a 6.97 ERA.
The slump has brought about concerns that the 23-year-old Hutchison, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2012, is wearing down after throwing 113 innings this season.
"I don't think it's far enough along where you have to worry about fatigue setting in," manager John Gibbons told MLB's official website.
Hutchison's poor stretch began with back-to-back losses to the Yankees last month, surrendering eight runs and 13 hits in 10 1-3 innings. He's 0-3 with a 9.22 ERA against them this season.
The usual top three in New York's lineup - Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter and Jacoby Ellsbury - are 12 for 22 against Hutchison this year.
Jeter singled Friday to reach 3,414 hits, five shy of Carl Yastrzemski for seventh all-time.
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- Toronto Blue Jays
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