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Yankees Rivalry Roundup: Shane McClanahan shoves, and Shohei Ohtani plays the hero

It was a light night across the AL, but there was still plenty of action in Anaheim and Tampa Bay.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Angels Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees had a busy night yesterday, what with having to rally after seeing their ace get demolished early on. They managed to find a way to win, but it was a light day elsewhere in the league, with just a couple of division rivals in action. Here’s what went down.

St. Louis Cardinals (32-26) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (34-23)

If you haven’t taken notice of Shane McClanahan yet, well, now’s the time. While the Rays specialize more in coaxing quality pitching out of unheralded names, in McClanahan’s case, it appears they’ve found themselves an ace.

McClanahan shoved for eight brilliant innings yesterday, yielding just two hits and an unearned run. He struck out nine against a deep St. Louis lineup, and walked none. His ERA sits at a sparkling 1.87 on the season. McClanahan would not be a fun name to face come playoff time.

Ji-man Choi smacked a two-run homer in the fourth to give the Rays all they needed in what would be a 2-1 win. Miles Mikolas was the very tough luck loser, almost matching McClanahan but ultimately giving up the two runs on three hits across eight strong innings.

The Rays, winners of four in a row, are surging. The Yankees have had a stellar season, but their rivals are staying in touch unfortunately.

Boston Red Sox (30-28) vs. Los Angeles Angels (28-31)

This season, Shohei Ohtani hasn’t quite reached the heights that he set in last year’s MVP campaign. His numbers on both sides of the ball are certainly good, but his bat has regressed a bit, with his on-base and slugging ability both falling off.

Yet there are still nights where he appears to be nothing short of a superhero, and last night was one of those. Ohtani worked seven strong innings against a hot Boston team, and provided himself all the run support he needed with an opposite-field, two-run homer in the sixth:

It’s tautological at this point to note how impressive Ohtani’s feats are, but it still boggles the mind what he manages to do against the best baseball players in the world. Ohtani was pitching a great game against the Red Sox, and then turned around and crushed a majestic dinger to give himself the lead! That is self-evidently unbelievably cool, and we’re lucky every time we get to witness it.

The Angels would go on to win 5-2, thanks also to a big three-run homer from old friend Andrew Velazquez:

With that, the Angels at last stopped their hellish 13-game losing streak. They’ll have to string together many more to save their season, but for the first time in weeks, the fans went home happy in Anaheim.