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Opener of key series rained out

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NEW YORK—The Toronto Blue Jays and N.Y. Yankees have to wait another day for the start of their AL East showdown.

The opener of the four-game series between division-leading Toronto and the second-place Yankees was postponed because of rain last night more than an hour before the scheduled first pitch.

The teams will make the game up with a doubleheader tomorrow starting at 1:05 p.m. (ET).

The second game will start a half-hour after the opener ends.

Toronto has a 1.5 game lead over the Yankees after both teams lost two of three against division rivals earlier this week.

Blue Jays’ ace David Price had been set to start last night against Yankees’ rookie Luis Severino.

They each will get the ball tonight.

“It’s not ideal for your pitching,” said Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi.

“The thought process is you’re probably not going to use relievers twice in a day,” he noted.

“You might, depending on how hard they were worked and what their workload was before. . . .

“It just changes your flexibility in a sense,” he remarked.

The clubs will stay on schedule with their rotations. New York will start Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova on Saturday but Girardi did not say in what order.

Jays’ manager John Gibbons said Marco Estrada will start the first game while Marcus Stroman will make his season debut in the nightcap.

Girardi acknowledged this was the Yankees’ most significant series since they were last in the playoffs in 2012.

Price sees the big weekend differently.

“Every series we play is important now,” he said after the rain-out.

“You can’t put any more importance on any certain game or any certain series,” Price stressed.

“We all know that we need to win games and keep playing the same baseball that we’ve been playing.”

That’s been some stellar baseball since Price, Troy Tulowitzki, and Ben Revere arrived in trades before the trade deadline—going 29-9 since Tulowitzki’s first game on July 29.

The Yankees had a seven-game lead in the division the day the Jays made their first big move—a trade with Colorado that also brought reliever LaTroy Hawkins to help stabilize a shaky bullpen.

While the Yankees faltered as Toronto ran off 11-straight wins, the teams have been matching each other down the stretch, with each winning eight-of-11.

The Jays are 8-4 against New York, including a three-game sweep in the Bronx on Aug. 7-9, so far this season, with three final matchups in Toronto on Sept. 21-23.

The loser of the division could be headed to the one-game wild-card playoff—an outcome Girardi hopes to avoid.

He might have to rely on certain stars more than he would like.

“I think you push them as hard as you can without hurting them,” Girardi said.

Elsewhere in the AL, the idle Minnesota Twins gained ground in the race for the second AL wild card with Texas losing 5-0 to Seattle.

Cleveland topped Detroit 7-5 in the only other game.

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