Aaron Judge. What a player. Leading off the second game of the doubleheader, Judge blasted his record-breaking 62nd home run to break the tie with Roger Maris for most home runs in a single season in Yankee and American League history. It’s an offensive season that I’m not sure any of us will see again in our lifetimes. Let’s also not forget that Gerrit Cole broke Ron Guidry’s single-season franchise record for strikeouts, his nine in yesterday’s contest bringing his season total to 257. They may have lost, but for one game out of 162, this one was about individual achievements, so congratulations to both men.
Kansas City Royals 3 (65-96) vs. Cleveland Guardians 5 (91-70)
The Guardians teed off on Kansas City starter Daniel Lynch, tagging him for five runs in the fifth inning. José Ramírez added a two-run double, Owen Miller jacked a two-run bomb, and Gabriel Árias had an RBI single to put this game out of reach in one fell swoop. The Royals scored one run apiece in the fifth, eighth, and ninth, but it was not enough to overcome the fifth inning onslaught from the Cleveland offense.
Detroit Tigers 6 (66-94) vs. Seattle Mariners 7 (88-72) Game 1
The Mariners completed another walk-off win, this time in the first game of the doubleheader. Detroit struck first with an RBI double from Riley Greene in the third, but the Mariners responded with three runs in the bottom-half on home runs from Curt Casali and Mitch Haniger. The Tigers tied it at three in the following frame on a two-run bomb from rookie Spencer Torkelson.
Both teams scored a pair in the seventh to send this game to extras knotted at five. Greene again put his team ahead, this time via sac fly in the top of the tenth. Coming to bat down one in the bottom of the tenth, the Mariners rattled off a pair of singles capped off by a walk-off sacrifice fly from Abraham Toro to win, 7-6.
Tampa Bay Rays 0 (65-96) vs. Boston Red Sox 6 (91-70)
This was a rain-shortened affair that I’m certain the Rays are happy ended when it did. They were shutout by Nathan Eovaldi in five innings, managing just two hits and two walks. The Red Sox meanwhile exploded for five runs in the fifth and final inning, Xander Bogaerts providing the big blast with a grand slam.
The Rays are headed in the wrong direction with the postseason just days away. They’ve now dropped six of their last seven, and with this latest loss and the Mariners sweeping the doubleheader, their fate as the final Wild Card team is sealed. They will face the Guardians in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
Philadelphia Phillies 0 (87-74) vs. Houston Astros 10 (105-56)
The Astros took a combined no-hitter into the ninth inning, but couldn’t quite finish the job. It’s at least the fourth combined no-hitter they’ve carried beyond the seventh inning this year, getting the job done against the Yankees at the Stadium. It’s also the third time that Justin Verlander was the starter of that game, and the 39 year old was brilliant, striking out ten in five innings with just a lone walk to his name, lowering his season ERA to 1.75.
The Houston offense on the other hand made sure this game was decided early to let their pitchers play stress-free. They hang five runs on Ranger Suárez in the first on a two-run Jeremy Peña home run followed by a three-run Kyle Tucker blast. Martín Maldonado led off the second with a home run and you wondered just how many they would score. The answer would en up being ten, with the Houston offense adding a pair in each of the fifth and eighth. Garrett Stubbs broke up the no-hitter with a leadoff single in the ninth off Will Smith, who would go on to surrender singles to the next two batters before striking out three in a row to preserve the shutout.
Detroit Tigers 6 (66-95) vs. Seattle Mariners 9 (89-72) Game 2
Riding the high of the walk-off win in the first game of the doubleheader, the Mariners slugged their way to victory to sweep the day’s dual slate of games. They jumped out to a 4-1 lead through the first four innings, half of them coming on an Abraham Toro two-run shot in the fourth. But then in the fifth, Kody Clemens crushed a grand slam off Justus Sheffield to grab the Tigers’ only lead of the game, 5-4.
Seattle responded with three runs in the bottom half. Cal Raleigh started things off with a solo shot as part of his 3-for-5 effort, followed another two RBI by Toro to give him four on the day. Dylan Moore would contribute three RBI including getting plunked with the bases loaded as the Mariners went on to win this one, 9-6. With the sweep of the doubleheader, the Mariners cement themselves as the second Wild Card finisher, and will face the Blue Jays in the Wild Card round.