Sunday was another good day for the Yankees, as they completed a third consecutive sweep and extended their winning streak to nine games. They took over the lead for the best record in baseball after Saturday, and retained it thanks to a 6-4 comeback win over the Royals.
While we know the Yankees took care of their own business, let’s do some scoreboard watching on the rest of the AL East and some other potential AL playoff contenders. Here’s the Rivalry Roundup from Sunday’s action around baseball.
Toronto Blue Jays (15-8) vs. Houston Astros (11-11)
While May is too early to dig too deeply into the difference between 1.5 and 2.5 game leads, the Blue Jays picked up a win over a fellow contender to stay close to the Yankees, beating Houston, 3-2. Starting pitchers Kevin Gausman and Framber Valdez were in a pitchers’ duel to start, exchanging zeroes for the first five innings before Houston broke through in the top of the sixth. Toronto fought back with two runs in the bottom of the inning on a Bo Bichette home run.
The Astros evened the score in the seventh, but the Jays once again answered right back, and took a 3-2 lead that they would maintain for the final couple innings. It’s a game that the Astros are going to wish they had back, as they won the hit battle 8-3, but they stranded six runners, going 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position — including the potential tying run (Kyle Tucker) with one out in the ninth. Tucker moved to third on a fly but was stranded when rookie Jeremy Peña fanned to end it.
When we hit the lights and you see red, it means one thing...— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) May 1, 2022
GAME. OVER. pic.twitter.com/wUx3IjhFvO
The Astros now trail both the victorious Angels (15-8) and Mariners (12-10) in the AL West race.
Tampa Bay Rays (12-10) vs. Minnesota Twins (13-9)
The Twins hopped on the Rays early and often, scoring five first-inning runs and never looking back in a 9-3 win. Minnesota ended up sending eight hitters to the plate and opened up a big lead before the Rays even got a chance to bat. They eventually opened up an 8-0 lead before Tampa ended up getting a couple consolation runs in the final couple innings
In total, eight different Twins ended up recording a hit, including former Yankee Gary Sánchez, who had an RBI single as part of the big first inning. Starting pitcher Josh Winder gave Minnesota six scoreless innings as the Twins led wire-to-wire. It was a second straight blowout win for Minnesota at the Trop, who are really showing their credentials in an otherwise-underwhelming AL Central race. (The preseason favorite White Sox aren’t even in second anymore, as the 10-12 Guardians now trail the Twins by three games.)
Boston Red Sox (9-14)
While it didn’t quite feature a single moment as funny as in their loss on Saturday, Boston’s loss to the Orioles in the series finale might’ve been worse. After four scoreless innings on both sides, the Red Sox opened the scoring with a run in the fifth. With their newfound lead, Boston couldn’t take advantage, as Baltimore answered with nine runs over the course of the fifth and sixth innings. Embedded former Yankee Rougned Odor even got in on the action, homering as part of a six-run sixth that saw the Orioles really break open the game.
The rain can't cool down this heat! pic.twitter.com/bJNblgeYIW— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) May 1, 2022
Despite being down big, the Red Sox made one last charge in the ninth inning, loading the bases before a J.D. Martinez grand slam. However, it was too little, too late as the Orioles eventually got the outs needed to seal a 9-5 win.
Maybe we shouldn’t point and laugh too much considering the Yankees have also lost a series to Baltimore this season, but being outscored by them 12-9 over the course of a series is not great.
Editor’s note: As a reminder, we are going by FanGraphs playoff odds to determine our AL Central and AL West picks, so while the Angels continue to lead the AL West, we will be focusing on the Astros for the time being. This disclaimer will remain in all Rivalry Roundup posts as the series gets underway.