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Rivalry Roundup: Rays outlast Jays, ‘Stros roll to 11th straight

The rest of the American League are not letting the Yankees run away with things.

Toronto Blue Jays v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Yankees are handling their own business, holding onto the best record in MLB with their fifth-straight victory. Their latest one was a 10-4 blowout in Chicago against the White Sox, who have struggled to hold onto the division after taking it back last year. The rest of the league isn’t just watching the Yankees grow their lead, however — all of their rivals won aside from the one series where two of their competitors were going against each other.

Toronto Blue Jays (17-16) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (20-13)

This one is a double-whammy for Toronto, who lost the game and lost their starting center fielder. George Springer made a leaping attempt at a Brandon Lowe ball up against the wall in the second inning, but landed awkwardly on his ankle and had to be taken out of the game. It’s unclear at the moment if its just a sprain or something more significant, but Springer will be out short-term while the Blue Jays get that sorted out — which hurts their already-scuffling offense even more.

Kevin Gausman was cruising for the most part through seven innings, and the Jays tied the game at two in the top of the eighth. Charlie Montoyo tried to get another frame out of Gausman, but unfortunately the wheels fell off there — he allowed a leadoff double to Mike Zunino that was nearly a homer, and then singles to Taylor Walls and Manuel Margot to give the Rays the lead right back. Tim Mayza came on in relief and got a double-play to nearly escape the inning, but the Rays would tack on two more and get Toronto out in order in the ninth for a 5-2 win.

Boston Red Sox (12-20) vs. Texas Rangers (13-18)

Neither of these teams may be any good at the moment, but the Red Sox are still on the radar for now and they were the better team on the field this time out. A strong seven-inning outing from Nick Pivetta set up the Sox with another winnable game, and their offense decided to chip in this time around. Boston exploded for four runs in the sixth, led by a two-run double off the bat of Alex Verdugo, and Xander Bogaerts singled home two more in the seventh to give the Red Sox a cushy 7-1 lead that they wouldn’t squander.

Houston Astros (22-11) vs. Washington Nationals (11-23)

This one was all Astros right from the jump. Houston put up a five-spot on the Nationals in the first inning, kicking things off with a Jose Altuve leadoff homer and capping things off with a Yuli Gurriel two-run jack. Josiah Gray had about as awful a start as you could ask for, but he managed to persevere and give Washington six innings of work — his only other blip was a Yordan Alvarez solo shot in the third inning. Meanwhile, on the other side Framber Valdez held the Nationals in check for 7.2 innings, only allowing one run on a groundout in the seventh. Houston easily secured the 7-1 victory, their 11th straight win, and are now 11 games over .500 and in first place in the AL West. Time and time again Houston has proven that they’ll still be a thorn in the AL’s side, and this year doesn’t look to be any different.

Cleveland Guardians (15-16) vs. Minnesota Twins (19-14)

For four innings, this was a relatively normal game — the Twins jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but Cleveland got one back in the third and tied it in the top of the fifth. Then the bottom of the inning rolled around, and Minnesota dropped nine runs on Cleveland starter Aaron Civale and reliever Bryan Shaw, the latter of whom couldn’t even record an out. You would think that would spell the end of it, but Cleveland managed to make this a game by scoring two runs in the sixth, seventh, and ninth inning each. The Twins walked away with a wild 12-8 win in the end, and continue to distance themselves from the pack in a shaky AL Central.