Yankees competition report: Blue Jays’ best twins, Astros smash Guardians

The Yankees lost a game they had in hand, leading to a late lead for the Cardinals last night. It was a frustrating way to slip into a three-game losing streak and continue the lukewarm play of late. AL East is still far away in the rear-view mirror, but the Astros gained another opportunity to get right into the Yankees’ side to gain the home field advantage. Let’s take a look at what happened in the league yesterday.

A back-and-forth affair went Minnesota-style at Target Field, culminating in an extra round in the 10th inning. After Toronto left the loaded bases in the top half, Minnesota got its ghost runner into third thanks to a throwback error from catcher Danny Jansen after a Jake Cave hit. Next, Tim Beckham cuts a straight mill to the third baseman setting up a play on the board, but a throw is not made home in time to catch Nick Jordan.

That dramatic finish wasn’t the obvious result of starting the game, as the twins jumped to a 5-0 lead in the fourth over Homer Gordon’s three-run. The Blue Jays started chopping right away, starting with Homer’s single Matt Chapman in the next inning and Santiago Espinal and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the sixth inning. The twins still had one round lead to hand to their closest relative Jorge Lopez in ninth, but Lopez allowed three of the singles to blast balls and send them to the extras.

Detroit’s early results against Corey Klopper were apparent – three singles goals in the first and a two-round bombshell in the second half took a 3-0 lead. From there Klopper collapsed, and Tampa began to come back. Brian Garcia kept Tampa off the scoreboard for four rounds, but his control was erratic which resulted in him issuing six walks while recording only three hits. Manager AJ Hinch went to his office early, but the first two boosters he called in allowed the run to score and bridged the gap significantly. The Rays took control in the eighth inning, running twice before Brandon Lowe doubled them both at home, and Isaac Paredes saved to score Lowe.

Houston Astros 9 (70-38) vs. Cleveland Guardians 3 (54-52)

Houston blew the doors off this race early, taking an 8-1 lead by the end of the fourth inning. Newcomer Trey Mancini led them to the lead in the second half with a solo shot, then capped the third inning with five runs with a big win over Crawford’s boxes. It’s safe to say he’s making the most of being a competitor for the first time in his career. The fourth inning brought home two more runs on doubles by Jose Altov and coach Yuli Gouriel, and that was mainly in the books. Cleveland scored a few trash runs in the seventh inning, but Houston immediately hit back with another run to confirm they were sticking with that.

For Cleveland, that loss sent them back twice from the twins in favor of AL Central after Minnesota managed to escape the Blue Jays. For Houston, that puts them just one game in the loss column away from the Yankees for the best record in the MLS, as good a sign as any that the pitchers need to wake up to if they want to get the path to the world championship going through the Bronx.

Angels are a mystery, and it is truly an experience to watch them on a game-by-game basis. They found incredible ways to lose, and almost did it again last night after being in complete control for eight and a half rounds.

Los Angeles had a 1-0 lead over Robbie Ray in the first half, working in a rally two with a single double. That was the only scoring to happen until the ninth inning, as Ray bounced back quickly to set up seven sparkling runs and Patrick Sandoval and the Angels matched. At nine, the Angels consolidated their lead when Max Stacey fired Homer’s second-half game to make it 3-0. Easy win in the bag, right? Wrong – Angels blew all bullets into the lower frame. It started with a one-time outing to Jesse Winker, then Jake Lamb did it on his own. Adam Frazier came with the Mariners to their last exit and made a big double to the right, and T-France singled out in the middle to equalize it.

The snake-bitten angels seemed doomed at this point, but they managed to make Eugenio Suarez fly out to finish the run and force the extras. There, old friend Andrew Velasquez put up a sacrifice to move the ghost runner and Taylor Ward raised the sacrifice fly to score. After mustering the previous run, the sailors descended in order on the tenth day to give the angels back the victory they had so desperately tried to shake off.

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