The Blue Jays could not wait to get out of New York last week, after being swept in a three-game series by the Yankees, who had pulled themselves right back into striking distance in the American League East.
Toronto now has a chance to return the favor and extend the gap between the clubs in the division. With a victory on Wednesday at Rogers Centre, the Blue Jays would sweep the Yankees, who have lost four consecutive games, and are 3 1/2 back from the division lead.
The biggest reason for the Yankees' struggles had been their offense. They managed just six runs in three games against the Orioles during the weekend, and they were silent for most of Monday's game. The Yankees showed some signs of an offensive punch Tuesday by scoring six runs, but the team's production has not been what was expected entering the year.
"I think over time, things usually balance out," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It would be different if you had one or two guys that were struggling, and you had seven guys hitting .300. ... You keep the lineup the same, but the more consistent hitters are probably getting the most at-bats. Some guys are capable of giving us some more, and you know they will, and you just have to ride it out."
Meanwhile, the Blue Jays have scored 15 runs through the first two games. Right-hander Drew Hutchison would like to have that kind of run support as he takes the hill, looking to rebound after his last start against the Yankees. He allowed four runs on six hits and was forced to depart in the fifth inning.
Hutchison will be opposed by Hiroki Kuroda, who took a no-hitter into the sixth inning against Baltimore his last time on the mound before the Orioles tagged him for four hits and two runs in the inning.
Yankees: Beltran to stop throwing program
Carlos Beltran had been playing some light catch to prepare him for a return to the outfield later in the season. But after feeling tightness in his right forearm after throwing during the weekend, his throwing program has been shut down completely.
"It has to be compensation [for an elbow injury] or something that I'm doing," Beltran said. "I was feeling pretty good [on the throwing program], but the forearm was really tight."
Beltran has not played the outfield since he suffered a right elbow injury in May that landed him on the disabled list. He has been the team's exclusive designated hitter since being activated June 5, but the team was hoping he could eventually play the field again to maintain some flexibility with the DH. Now, Beltran will be the team's DH for the foreseeable future.
"You'd like to be able to rotate the DH," manager Joe Girardi said. "But right now, you can't."
Blue Jays: Morrow hopes to return in 2014
Brandon Morrow was back with the Blue Jays on Tuesday to continue rehabbing a torn tendon sheath in his right index finger. He started throwing last week, but is being monitored closely by Toronto's medical staff.
Morrow's injury is rare among athletes, so he spent six weeks in Arizona among rock climbers and people suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, undergoing the tedious process of rebuilding the strength in his index finger. That meant activities like playing with Play-Doh, moving a clothespin from one wire to another and practicing various grips.
An exact timetable has not been set, but Morrow's goal is to join the team at some point down the stretch.
"There's no doubt that if [rehab] continues the way it has been, that I'll pitch again this year," Morrow said. "I can't put a date on it. They just put together a calendar for me, which I haven't even seen. [Tuesday] is my fifth day throwing, so it's too early to say."
• Melky Cabrera's 20-game hit streak vs. the Yankees came to an end in Tuesday's win.
• Dellin Betances lowered his ERA to 1.43 with two shutout innings of relief on Tuesday.
Jamal Collier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.