The Yankees are rolling with the punches, and have made it to four straight wins again. The last two have been particularly impressive, as Jameson Taillon matched Nestor Cortes’ gem with eight shutout innings of his own against Tampa Bay. The Rays are suddenly pressed to at best split the series against New York, or else the Yankees will be walking out of Tropicana with an extended lead in the division. The rest of the AL East was active last night, as were the top dogs in the Central and West — here’s how their games played out:
Baltimore Orioles (19-27) vs. Boston Red Sox (21-24)
The Orioles may not be a contender this year, but they sure have played the AL East competitively. They took a few games off of the Rays recently, nearly beat the Yankees in their last series, and now they’ve taken down the Red Sox in dramatic fashion.
Boston started this game about as well as you could imagine, scoring four in the first and adding two more in the second for a 6-0 lead. Baltimore cut into the deficit slightly with two runs in the fourth, but the Sox added a run in the bottom half of the inning and another in the fifth to maintain a six-run lead behind Garrett Whitlock. Once the bullpen got involved in the seventh inning, however, an implosion was soon pending — Jake Diekman started it with three runs allowed in the seventh, John Schreiber traded two outs for two runs in the eighth, and Matt Strahm gave up one more to close the frame out suddenly tied at eight apiece.
Strahm went back out for the ninth, but three straight singles gave Baltimore its first lead of the game, and they weren’t done yet. Hirokazu Sawamura came in and promptly walked Austin Hays before getting a forceout at home, then tossed a wild pitch that brought another home. A sac fly and another single later and the Orioles were suddenly up 12-8. The Sox went down quietly in the ninth, and the Orioles stole a wild one away in Fenway. Chaos indeed.
“They had us in the first half, not gonna lie.” pic.twitter.com/bV1wzBs6kl— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) May 28, 2022
Toronto Blue Jays (25-20) vs. Los Angeles Angels (27-20)
The other member of the AL East had a more fortunate day, paired up against one of the other top teams in the league in the Angels. Alek Manoah was sharp through six innings, picking up nine strikeouts without a walk, but he made two mistake pitches — one to Jared Walsh in the third and one to Tyler Wade in the fifth for a pair of solo shots. Manoah exited down a run, but the Jays rallied in the seventh to tie the game on the back of three consecutive singles.
In the ninth, a combination of small ball and luck pushed across the decisive run. Alejandro Kirk led off with a single off of Angels closer Raisel Iglesias, and Bradley Zimmer bunted him over to second. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. singled to right field to advance Kirk to third, and a misplay by Juan Lagares picking up the ball allowed Kirk to round third and score. Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano came in and struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth to seal the 4-3 win.
Houston Astros (29-17) vs. Seattle Mariners (19-27)
The Mariners have been one of the more disappointing teams in baseball this year, but if they’re going to get back into the thick of the race they’ll need games like this against their divisional rivals in Houston. The M’s took over in the first inning against Cy Young candidate Justin Verlander, tagging him for four runs on a pair of two-run shots by Julio Rodriguez and Kyle Lewis, respectively. Verlander would manage to drag his way through six innings, but Ty France and Tayler Trammell each popped a solo homer off of him in the process. The Astros got one run across in the second when Jose Siri grounded a ball to third with two on, but Chris Flexen and the Mariners bullpen otherwise blanked Houston’s dangerous lineup.
Kansas City Royals (15-29) vs. Minnesota Twins (28-18)
In what is apparently a theme for this recap, this game also featured a team jumping out to a big lead in the first inning. Minnesota jumped out to a 4-0 lead thanks to a two-run home run from Jorge Polanco and singles from Gio Urshela and Nick Gordon. Kansas City fought back quickly, however, thanks to a two-run triple from Bobby Witt Jr. and a single from Hunter Dozier in the third, and a single from Nicky Lopez in the fourth to tie things up.
The Twins took their lead back immediately with a Carlos Correa solo shot, and after a sacrifice fly they were up 6-4. The Royals got one back to cut it to 6-5 in the seventh, but a four-run eighth inning put Minnesota in enviable position. The Royals tried to make a comeback in the ninth with a MJ Melendez solo homer and an RBI double from Emmanuel Rivera, but they couldn’t bring across any more. Final score: 10-7, Twins.