David Price's first road start for the Toronto Blue Jays may prove exactly why the club dealt for him.
He can pitch the Blue Jays to a seventh straight win and draw them within 2 1/2 games of the first-place New York Yankees in Saturday's matchup in the Bronx.
Price (10-4, 2.45 ERA) was thrilled after he allowed one run and struck out 11 in eight innings in his Toronto debut Monday in a 5-1 victory over Minnesota witnessed by NBA superstar Kevin Durant. He was acquired from Detroit on July 30.
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His clubs have won his last six starts at Yankee Stadium, where he is 4-0 with a 2.16 ERA and 49 strikeouts over 41 2-3 innings in that span.
More notable to Price is how he has been tagged for eight runs in his last two outings versus the Yankees (61-47), failing to last past the third inning both times.
"I've given up more runs than I've gotten outs against the Yankees in my last two starts," he told MLB's official website Friday. "I'm going to throw the ball better tomorrow. I have the utmost confidence in myself to go out there and throw the ball the way I'm capable of throwing it."
The left-hander has a long history with many Yankees hitters, with Jacoby Ellsbury (.353 in the regular season) and Brian McCann (9 for 16 with three homers) faring well. Alex Rodriguez (.239 with 18 strikeouts in 46 at-bats), Mark Teixeira (.211), Brett Gardner (.136) and Stephen Drew (0 for 10 with five strikeouts in the regular season) have not.
Chris Young is 1 for 8 in this matchup, though the outfielder will likely start due to his .358 average against lefties. McCann's status is unclear since he often rests in day games after night games and has been bothered by a stiff knee.
New York can improve to 9-1 against lefty starters since the All-Star break and even this three-game set. Jose Bautista's 10th-inning homer was the difference in the Blue Jays' 2-1 victory Friday.
''We won the first game of the series. Everyone knows what our offense is capable of. We've got David Price going,'' said Bautista, who has six RBIs in his last three games. ''I don't think they feel good right now, going home.''
The other runs came on the 30th homers of Josh Donaldson in the first and Teixeira in the second. Toronto is second in the majors with 149 homers, with New York third at 147.
"They're very similar to us," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "They have that ability to really hit the ball out of the ballpark up and down their lineup like we do."
Donaldson is hitting .375 with six homers and 14 RBIs in his last 10 games and Edwin Encarnacion is batting .405 during a 10-game hitting streak.
Teixeira is batting .391 with eight homers and 15 RBIs in his last 18 games.
Yankees starter Ivan Nova (4-3, 3.10) has posted a 2.65 ERA in winning three straight starts, his first such streak since a five-outing run in 2012.
New York is 5-0 in the right-hander's home starts versus Toronto, with Nova going 3-0 with a 4.44 ERA. Encarnacion is 8 for 22 with a homer against him and Bautista is 4 for 12 with one homer.
Price has a 1.95 ERA in day games and Nova is at 2.04.