(Sports Network) - The New York Yankees assured themselves of a spot in the postseason on Tuesday. Now they shift their focus to winning an American League East title when they play the rubber match of their three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays tonight at Rogers Centre.
On Tuesday CC Sabathia rebounded from a rocky outing to throw into the ninth inning, as Yankees locked up their 14th playoff berth in the last 15 years with a 6-1 win.
Sabathia (21-7) had given up seven runs in a loss to the Rays last Thursday, but Tuesday limited Toronto to one run, three hits and two walks in 8 1/3 innings, while striking out eight.
"He shut down a very potent offense," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "You look at this club, I mean, everyone you look up seems to have 20 home runs. They're dangerous, and he did an unbelievable job."
The Yankees still trail Tampa Bay by half a game in the AL East race because the Rays defeated Baltimore on Tuesday to also secure a spot in the postseason.
Derek Jeter finished with two hits, a walk and scored three times for New York, which dropped the opener of this three-game series on Monday.
Travis Snider homered for Toronto, which had won five in a row. The home run was the Blue Jays' MLB-best 244th of the season, which ties the 2000 Toronto team for most homers in a season in franchise history.
Kyle Drabek (0-3) made his third career start and took the loss after allowing three runs on five hits and a walk in six innings.
"It definitely would have been a lot better to get a win," Drabek said. "But the stuff I've learned in these three starts means a lot more so I can take it into next spring training."
Heading to the hill for the Yankees tonight will be righty Javier Vazquez, who will be starting in place of Andy Pettitte. Pettitte was scratched after the Yankees clinched a playoff spot on Wednesday.
Shuffled back and forth between the bullpen and rotation of late, Vazquez is 0-2 in his last seven starts with a 7.71 ERA. He is 10-9 on the year with a 5.07 ERA.
Vazquez is 5-7 with a 4.22 ERA in 17 appearances (16 starts) against Toronto.
Toronto, meanwhile, will counter with lefty Brett Cecil, who will be gunning for his 15th win of the season. Cecil improved to 3-0 over his last four starts on Friday against Baltimore, as he allowed three runs (two earned) and 11 hits in 6 1/3 innings to run his record to 14-7, while lowering his ERA to 4.20.
Cecil beat the Yankees the last time he faced them and is 3-1 with a 4.21 ERA in six starts against them.
The Blue Jays have won nine of their 17 meetings with the Yankees this season.