The Yankees have a magic number of five to clinch the American League East crown, and despite losing at Toronto, 3-2, on Saturday, New York has won 10 of its last 13 games. The Yankees enter Sunday's game tied atop the AL East with the Orioles.
Right-hander Phil Hughes, who matched a season high with nine strikeouts when he faced the Blue Jays on Sept. 20, will get the ball on Sunday. Although he won that start, Hughes wasn't happy with lasting only five innings and giving up four runs.
"There are some games when you deserve to win and you don't, and some games when you don't deserve to win and you do," Hughes said afterward. "That's just kind of the way it goes. I've been a recipient of some run support, which is nice. It's nice to get wins, but it's better for a team to get wins, especially at a time when you really need them."
Hughes might once again get significant run support on Sunday, as the Blue Jays have allowed 10 or more runs in five of their last 11 games, a span during which they are 4-7.
Toronto right-hander Henderson Alvarez has pitched well of late, however, turning in three quality starts in his four outings. One of those was against the Yankees on Sept. 19, when he struck out a career-high seven.
"I think the way he has aggressively thrown his changeup has been a big contributor to what the numbers have [shown] in the last two starts," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said of Alvarez after that start.
Yankees: Cano doubling down
Robinson Cano has 12 hits in his last 19 at-bats and has recorded at least two hits in each of his last five games. The second baseman is also one two-bagger shy of posting his third straight 45-double season, which would match Lou Gehrig for the most in Yankees history.
The Yankees have nine players with at least 15 homers, and Andruw Jones (14) isn't far behind. Jones' next homer will give the Yankees 10 such players, breaking the Major League record of nine they share with the 2005 Indians and '05 Rangers.
With 92 RBIs, Nick Swisher is three shy of his career high, set in 2006 with Oakland.
Blue Jays: Vizquel tied with Ott
With 2,876 career hits, Toronto's Omar Vizquel is tied with Mel Ott for 40th on the all-time list.
Infielder Adeiny Hechavarria has a 10-game hitting streak, during which he's batting .344.
Adam Lind is hitting .322 with four doubles, two triples and two homers in his last 18 games.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Yankees have failed to win their division only twice (1974 and 2010) since 1969 when leading at any point in September.
Edwin Encarnacion is hitting .360 (9-for-25) against Hughes, while Colby Rasmus (nine at-bats), J.P. Arencibia (nine) and Brett Lawrie (seven) are hitless in their careers against the right-hander.
Cano is 5-for-8 with two doubles and two homers in his career against Alvarez.