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Yankees Rivalry Roundup: Reds and Rangers do Yanks a solid

Both the Red Sox and Rays fell to unlikely foes on Tuesday night.

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Boston Red Sox Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Last night, for the first time in quite awhile, the Yankees enjoyed a blowout win that was essentially settled by the middle innings. Jordan Montgomery dominated, the offense lit up Noah Syndergaard ... it was a great time! Huzzah. They should do that more often.

Now here’s what went on around the rest of the most relevant parts of the American League.

Detroit Tigers (19-30) vs. Minnesota Twins (30-21)

Although Carlos Correa hit the COVID-IL, the Twins got to play day-night doubleheader against the woeful Tigers yesterday, and the opener was effectively over in about three innings. Minnesota plated a pair in the first on a two-run double by Trevor Larnach, and after an RBI double from Max Kepler in the third, Gary Sánchez belted a three-run bomb off Rony García to make it a 6-0 game. Pitchers Devin Smeltzer and Griffin Jax combined to allow just two Tigers runs, and the Twins won, 8-2.

Somewhat surprisingly, the Tigers shook off the loss and took it to the Twins in the nightcap. The first couple innings were the Jonathan Schoop Show, as he belted a two-run shot in the first and scored two more in the second on a much more modest hit (a poorly-played single to center). Meanwhile, Detroit starter Joey Wentz left with a shoulder injury after putting four zeroes on the scoreboard, but his bullpen kept the shutout going. Wily Peralta, Andrew Chafin, Jason Foley, and Michael Fulmer covered the final five frames in a 4-0 victory to split the doubleheader.

Still, the Twins remain five games ahead of the White Sox in the AL Central. Speaking of ...

Chicago White Sox (23-24) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (28-20)

The scheduled pitching matchup of Lucas Giolito vs. Kevin Gausman didn’t exactly portend 25 combined hits, but that’s exactly what happened. Andrew Vaughn led off the game with a solo shot, and between the second and the fifth, Alejandro Kirk countered with a pair of two-run homers.

The latter dinger put the Blue Jays up, 6-3, and though the White Sox got two back off the ineffective Trevor Richards, the trio of Adam Cimber, Yimi García, and Julian Merryweather kept Chicago off the board. Closer Jordan Romano nearly ran into disaster when he allowed Vaughn (who had four hits on the night) and José Abreu to reach on singles to lead off the ninth, putting the tying run in scoring position. However, Romano got Jake Burger to bounce into a double play, and Gavin Sheets struck out to clinch Toronto’s sixth win in a row.

Cincinnati Reds (17-31) vs. Boston Red Sox (23-27)

The Reds have played the Red Sox five times at Fenway Park since their legendary matchup in the 1975 World Series, but they’d lost each of those contests (in 2008 and 2014). In fact, they’d gone 1-12 against them in interleague play over the years, and even with Boston’s inconsistent performance in 2022, they seemed like a mismatch.

Nonetheless, perhaps-future-Yankees-trade-target Luis Castillo stepped up with six innings of one-hit shutout ball with three walks, striking out 10 Boston batters along the way. Errors by Rafael Devers and Alejo López gave Cincinnati its two runs, and while a Devers double in the ninth put the tying runs on base and the winning run at the plate, the Red Sox blew their chance to walk it off. JD Martinez struck out, Xander Bogaerts flew out, Alex Verdugo managed only an RBI infield single, and Trevor Story went down on strikes to end it.

Tampa Bay Rays (28-21) vs. Texas Rangers (24-24)

One of the more quiet surprises of 2022 has been the out-of-nowhere dominance of lefty Martín Pérez, who is one of the few pitchers in baseball with numbers even remotely similar to Nestor Cortes. (Try explaining that to someone 12 months ago.) With seven shutout innings against the Rays on Tuesday — an outing that included getting scalded by a comebacker — Pérez kept it going, allowing just three hits and no walks. His ERA on the season now stands at an MLB-best 1.42, and he has yet to allow a single homer in 63.1 innings of work.

Corey Seager and Adolis García gave Pérez all the offensive support he needed with homers to give Texas a 3-0 lead that it would never relinquish. The Rangers have now fought back from starting the season 2-9 to reach .500 for the first time since Opening Day at 24-24.

Houston Astros (32-18) vs. Oakland Athletics (20-32)

On a day in which each of the Tigers, Reds, and Rangers won games against the Twins, Red Sox, and Rays, it was probably too much to hope that the A’s could beat the Astros. And no, they didn’t, but it was tied for longer than anyone expected! Knotted up at 1-1 in the eighth after seven excellent innings from Frankie Montas, rookie manager Mark Kotsay sent Montas back out for the eighth, and Chas McCormick greeted him with a homer on his 98th pitch to put Houston in front.

Reliever Zach Jackson rendered the point moot with four (!) consecutive walks in relief to give Houston an insurance run, and a Ramón Laureano double-play ball locked up the Astros’ 3-1 win.