TORONTO— J.A. Happ is finally feeling like himself these days.
The Blue Jays left-hander, who missed over a month of action earlier this season with inflammation in his elbow, tossed 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball on Tuesday night as the Blue Jays doubled up the Yankees 4-2.
Happ (5-8) has now won back-to-back starts after striking out a season-high 10 batters over seven innings in last Wednesday’s 5-1 win over the White Sox.
“Trying to pound the zone and feeling better and everything that goes with that,” said Happ. “Confidence is good.”
The 34-year-old allowed an earned run on four hits while striking out five and walking four to improve to 8-2 in 16 career starts against the Yankees. Happ entered the start with a 4-4 record and a 3.32 ERA over his previous 10 starts.
“I think he’s on a nice little roll,” said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. “I think he’s been rock solid.
“He looks as good as I’ve ever seen him. I thought he did a nice job tonight. Ran into a little trouble late, a couple walks, (but) he’s feeling good.”
Josh Donaldson hit a pair of two-run home runs off CC Sabathia as the Blue Jays (53-59) improved to 4-3 in their last seven after going .500 on their recent six-game road trip. New York (59-52), meanwhile, has dropped five of its last seven games.
Closer Roberto Osuna, who had blown three of his previous five save attempts, picked up his 29th save of the season in the win.
Donaldson got the Blue Jays on the board with one out in the first, taking Sabathia’s 2-0 pitch over the wall in centre field for his 14th homer of the season. It was Donaldson’s first career home run off the Yankees starter in 36 career at-bats.
The Yankees responded on Garrett Cooper’s RBI single in the second.
With the Blue Jays leading 2-1 in the third, Donaldson put Sabathia’s slider into the second deck for another two-run home run. It marked the 12th career multi-homer game for the Toronto third baseman.
“Any time he steps into the box, you expect something good to happen ’cause he’s been doing that for the last few years, ever since he first showed up here in Toronto,” said Gibbons. “Guys on base, he’s one of those guys, he’s had his struggles this year, the ups and downs, but he’s one guy when he steps in the box, something could happen.”
Sabathia (9-5) left the game after just three innings due to a knee injury. The 37-year-old allowed four earned runs on six hits while striking out three and walking one.
He missed three weeks earlier this season after he was diagnosed with a Grade-2 hamstring strain on June 13.
“It was just the same feeling I get whenever my knee hurts,” said Sabathia, who will head back to New York on Wednesday for further tests. “It’s been healthy all year. To go out today and not have it be where I want it to be is just frustrating.”
New York threatened in the eighth after Blue Jays reliever Ryan Tepera hit Gary Sanchez and Headley, and walked Frazier to load the bases. Cooper’s sac-fly scored Sanchez, but that’s as close as the Yankees would get as Osuna tossed a scoreless ninth.
“No doubt Osuna has been in a little bit of a rut, so that was a big one for him tonight,” said Gibbons. “He’s feeling good, we’re feeling good, but we played a good ball game.”
Notes: Prior to Tuesday’s game the Blue Jays placed RHP Cesar Valdez (right shoulder impingement) on the 10-day disabled list and recalled RHP Leonel Campos. ? RHP Nick Tepesch will reportedly be recalled from Triple-A Buffalo to make Wednesday’s start against the Yankees.