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Yankees Rivalry Roundup: Astros are doubly immaculate in Arlington

Recapping how the Yankees’ top AL opponents fared on June 15th.

MLB: Houston Astros at Texas Rangers Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees’ 4-0 lead last night turned into a tight game thanks to a very strange eighth inning, but they ended up prevailing over the division rival Rays anyway. They now sit 30 games over .500, which is pretty preposterous for June 16th. And yet they might need to keep flooring it because their other American League foes aren’t letting them catch much of a breather.

Houston Astros (39-24) vs. Texas Rangers (29-33)

After a rare loss to the Rangers on Monday and a mere one-run victory on Tuesday, the Astros must have been mad. On paper, Houston vs. Texas is a mismatch, but the Rangers have mostly hung in there with the Astros during head-to-heads in 2022. From the jump, it was clear that Wednesday would not continue this pattern. Houston’s lineup torched Tyson Miller in the top of the first for six runs on four hits and two walks, led by Yordan Alvarez’s bases-loaded double that kicked off the scoring.

In most 9-2 wins, the offense would be the story, but two Astros pitchers forced the hitters to share the spotlight. Starter Luis Garcia twirled an immaculate inning in the second, and he was relieved by Phil Maton in the seventh, who promptly spun an immaculate inning of his own. Unsurprisingly, Garcia and Maton are the first teammates to ever throw them in the same game. For good measure, they fanned the same three Texas hitters: Nathaniel Lowe, Ezequiel Duran, and Brad Miller.

Minnesota Twins (37-28) vs. Seattle Mariners (28-35)

A day after Seattle beat Minnesota, 5-0, the Twins returned the favor. Sonny Gray made his first start since the end of May and fired five scoreless frames, allowing three hits and no walks. The Twins’ bullpen followed Gray with shutout ball, and the offense gave them support by plating five runs across their last three innings. Ryan Jeffers, Carlos Correa, and Luis Arraez each delivered RBI hits to expand the lead, and Jharel Cotton pitched a scoreless ninth to slam the door on the 5-0 victory. The Twins won their season series with the Mariners, 4-3.

Baltimore Orioles (27-37) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (37-25)

This game looked to be just about over already in the third inning, when Toronto jumped ahead of Baltimore, 5-0, on the strength of two-run homers from Matt Chapman and Teoscar Hernández (a 461-foot tank job for the latter). They had José Berríos on the mound and shoving, so what could go wrong?

Well, credit to Brandon Hyde’s ballclub for making a ballgame of it. Adley Rutschman got them on the board with his first career homer to cut the deficit to 5-2, and while Vladimir Guerrero Jr. answered with a mammoth shot of his own, a pair of late-game roundtrippers by Ryan Mountcastle brought the score to a dead heat at 6-6 in the eighth. That was enough for Baltimore to force extras, but failing to score their zombie runner proved fatal — mainly because Guerrero was due to lead off the 10th for Toronto.

Guerrero’s walk-off single to left marked his fourth hit of the night and gave the Blue Jays a 7-6 win.

Oakland Athletics (21-43) vs. Boston Red Sox (34-29)

These are dire times to be an A’s fan. Oakland got rocked by Boston again last night, 10-1, and if they lose again today, then they’ll be outright swept for the season series, 6-0. Former Baby Bomber James Kaprielian was not up to the task of pitching in Fenway Park, and Boston’s hitters torched him for six runs on seven hits and six (!) walks. One of the runs was unearned because of Kaprielian’s own error. Both Xander Bogaerts and Alex Verdugo registered three-hit nights.

Boston skipper Alex Cora gave the ball to rookie Josh Winckowski for his second career start, and he made quick work of that sad A’s lineup. The 23-year-old threw five shutout innings and let the bullpen take it from there. The Red Sox are now 11-2 in June, and thankfully, the only team better than them since their nadir on May 11th (23-9) happens to play in the Bronx.