Yankees Rivalry Roundup: Orioles are third in the Eastern Conference

The Yankees found another way to lose last night, as they blew a series starter against the Red Sox in Fenway in extras. It’s just the latest in a string of missed opportunities for New York lately, but it’s heartbreaking to see this team in such disarray. While they were chipping away at their late lead, the rest of the league was hard at work fighting for other playoffs.

One of the exciting stories of the season has been the Orioles, struggling their way back to relevance after years spent in the AL East basement. Well, they’ve put some distance in last place now, and they’ve moved up to #3 (and the Wild Card spot) with their win against Tampa last night.

It was methodical for Baltimore in this game, scoring in the first period on a solo shot by Adley Rutschman and never looking back. They scored in every inning but the third and fourth, and delivered a knockout punch in the sixth with a four-run rally off Corey Kluber. The Rays had been kept completely off the scoreboard up to that point and responded with a sixth of their second run, but it was too little, too late. Baltimore’s hits totaled 19, giving the Rays staff no breathing room to inspire a rally.

Cleveland Guardians 8 (60-52), Toronto Blue Jays 0 (60-51)

Jose Berrios had a nightmare season after re-signing with Toronto, and it continued on Friday against Cleveland. The Guardians tagged him for eight runs in four innings, doing all of their damage in the third and fourth innings. Their first rally started with an Austin Hedges sprint, then three straight single strokes twice. After a fly sack to go home with a third, Josh Naylor hit a two-run bomb to shut out a five-run frame for the visitors. Hedges again set the table in the fourth, working a seven-par outing before being forced out at second on a miller. Stephen Cowan also walked Jose Ramirez, who hit an ironic golf-style homer on a ball that was breaking due to dirt.

Meanwhile, the Jays were unable to resolve Cal Quantrill’s problem, mustering only one strikeout in seven innings. They didn’t fare much better against the Cleveland bullpen, and were dumped in a game that felt long over.

The Rangers have been truly horrible against the Mariners this season, and they faced an uphill battle with a scheduled game in hand. Josh Spurz was the opener and managed to make his comeback in the first half despite deflecting a Rocket off his shoulder, but the plan fell apart from there.

Hearn took over in the second and worked a scoreless frame, but put his first two batters on base in the third and allowed a groundout. Then in the fourth, Hearn loaded the bases with a two-out on Carlos Santana and one out, and he was lifted. Jose Leclerc was called out for a mess, but Julio Rodriguez hit one right and scored twice instead. The Rangers rallied for a few runs in the middle inning, but were unable to bridge the deficit. Seattle also added insurance runs in the eighth and ninth innings for its 12th win in 14 attempts against Texas.

As terrible a team as they are, Oakland has been a thorn in the Astros’ side this year, much like the Orioles-Yankees were last year. They’ve taken a good amount of games out of the AL first team, including a sweep just a few weeks earlier. The Athletics are well-read on their AL West rivals, and they got off to another good start in this game, clinching a 2-0 lead after three innings against Luis Garcia.

Unfortunately, they were unable to hold on at this time. Houston returned to a six-run fifth inning, getting seven straight basemen after striking out on two to get things started. The big hit was Kyle Tucker’s 21st Grand Slam win, Tucker’s 21st tournament of the year. Oakland stayed in the game, rallying for three runs in the seventh inning after stalking Garcia, but the Houston team held their ground and Mauricio Dupont added an insurance run in the eighth to secure the win.

The other contenders

  • Detroit Tigers 0 (43-71), Chicago White Sox 2 (57-56): The White Sox had several opportunities to get on the scoreboard earlier, but it took until the seventh inning before the scoreless tie between them and the Tigers was finally broken. Andrew Vaughn opened it with a two-out single, pushing Chicago back above . 500.
  • Minnesota Twins 4 (58-53), Los Angeles Angels 0 (49-64): Tyler Mahle got off to a solid start in his second appearance as a Twin, pitching six shutout innings before turning it into trading deadline teammates Michael Follmer and Jorge Lopez, along with rookie star Jhoan Duran, to complete the shutout.

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