The New York Yankees will be out to extend their nine-game winning streak when they visit the Toronto Blue Jays for the opener of a three-game series Monday night.
The Yankees completed a three-game series sweep of the host Kansas City Royals on Sunday with a 6-4 victory helped by two home runs by Aaron Judge.
The Blue Jays are on a streak of their own after defeating the visiting Houston Astros 3-2 on Sunday in the rubber match of a three-game series. They are undefeated in their first seven series this season (6-0-1), to match the franchise best set in 1992.
The only series the Blue Jays have not won is the four-game split with the Yankees in New York April 11-14. The Blue Jays are 9-2 in one-run games.
The Yankees have won 11 of their past 12 games.
“It’s early,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “It’s a marathon and we have to keep improving and keep working, but record-wise, it’s very encouraging.”
The Yankees will avoid Toronto starter Kevin Gausman, who struck out 10 and allowed two runs over seven innings Sunday. He has not allowed a walk or a home run this season, a total of 122 batters faced over 31 2/3 innings.
Gausman joins Cy Young (1906) as the only pitchers with a minimum of 20 innings pitched to begin a season with no walks or home runs allowed in five straight starts since 1903, according to MLBStats.
“It’s not like I’m trying not to walk guys, I’m just throwing competitive pitches, and for the most part, I’m getting ahead,” Gausman said. “The more that I can get ahead, I know I’m not going to throw that many balls or throw five balls in a row. If I can get ahead, I feel confident.
“Obviously, it’s cool. But I’ve got another start in five days, you know? This game wasn’t the last game of the season. We’re not the last one standing yet. So, on to the next one.”
He acknowledged Sunday’s game against the Astros had an intense atmosphere.
“Almost felt like a postseason game,” Gausman said. “The amount of adrenalin that you have every pitch you know, you’ve got to be really fine.”
Toronto will start right-hander Ross Stripling (0-0, 3.60 ERA) Monday. New York will start left-hander Jordan Montgomery (0-1, 2.70).
Stripling faced the Yankees twice last season, going 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA. In five career games (2 starts) against the Yankees, he is 0-4, 4.50.
In eight career outings (seven starts) against Toronto, Montgomery is 2-1, 4.03.
“I think the good thing is we’re doing a lot of things well to allow us to win games and we’re winning games in different ways,” Boone said. “And we’re getting a lot of contributions from everyone. I feel like all 28 guys really are contributing through this first month and that’s been really good. Good to see everyone’s been involved; starting pitching the relief pitching and defense, base running offense, it’s been different ways.
“We’ve been able to win games and that’s something that we’ve really put a focus on and it’s good to see the guys get results for the most part.”
New York’s Joey Gallo (groin) did not play on Sunday with Miguel Andujar starting in left field. Gallo’s status for the game Monday is uncertain.
Toronto optioned infielder Gosuke Katoh and right-hander Bowden Francis to Triple-A Buffalo on Sunday.
–Field Level Media