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Yankees Rivalry Roundup: Mercy rule in Houston

Baltimore blanks Tampa Bay; Red Sox stave off Cards; Astros wallop ChiSox; MadBum mystifies Minnesota

Chicago White Sox v Houston Astros Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Yankees opened a big series last night against the second-place Blue Jays hoping to create even more separation in the standings. Well, they did that and then some, launching four home runs including an Anthony Rizzo grand slam en route to a 12-3 drubbing. They took care of business, but how about the rest of their AL rivals?

Tampa Bay Rays (35-29) vs. Baltimore Orioles (29-37)

I guess you could call this one a pitchers’ duel, though even that might be a stretch. Orioles starter Dean Kremer matched Rays rookie Shane Baz step for step with six scoreless innings. Baltimore scored the only run of the game on an Adley Rutschman RBI single in the seventh.

The offensive woes just continue to deepen for the Rays. This is now their fourth straight loss, having scored only four runs across those games. They now sit just a half-game ahead of the Red Sox for fourth place in the AL East.

St. Louis Cardinals (37-29) vs. Boston Red Sox (35-30)

The Red Sox were in control of this one for the first eight innings before the Cardinals made it interesting in the ninth. Trevor Story drove in a pair in the fourth on an RBI single, and both Jackie Bradley Jr. and Rafael Devers contributed RBI singles in Boston’s three-run seventh to give them a 6-1 lead heading for the final inning. Rather than accept defeat, the Cardinals fought to their last breath.

Doubles from Dylan Carlson, Tommy Edman, and Brendan Donovan sandwiched around a Harrison Bader triple gave them four in the frame to claw the score back to 6-5, but Boston’s Tanner Houck caught Paul Goldschmidt looking on a strikeout, killing the rally and ending the game.

Chicago White Sox (30-32) vs. Houston Astros (40-24)

This game was a closely contested affair... until it wasn’t. Both sides seemed evenly-matched thought the first five innings, with the Astros scoring three across the first two fames before Chicago answered right back with an AJ Pollock three-run blast in the third.

But then the sixth inning happened. I’m not sure if I have the stamina to detail everything that happened in the frame, so I’m just gonna leave this here for your viewing pleasure.

Michael Brantley provided the killer blow with his two-out grand slam, allowing Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker to add insult to injury with back-to-back blasts off a clearly demoralized Matt Foster.

A total of 8 of the Astros’ 13 runs got ticketed to Lucas Giolito while Foster was tagged with an additional four in just 0.2 innings of work. One could be forgiven for mistaking this for a football game, with the Texans Astros slugging their way to a 13-3 victory to become the second* AL team to reach 40 wins.

*The Yankees hit that mark over a week and a half ago because of course they did.

Minnesota Twins (37-29) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (31-35)

Madison Bumgarner picked up the win, allowing two runs in six innings throwing 103 pitches. I honestly don’t know how he does it. Byron Buxton demolished the second pitch of the game 446 feet to left — his 19th of the season — and you wondered if it would be one of those nights for MadBum.

Despite allowing 8 more hits on 13 hard-hit balls in play, he held the Twins to just a single run in the next six innings. Jordan Luplow drove in three on a pair of home runs as Arizona went on to tag Devin Smeltzer for seven runs in 4.1 innings.

The bullpens combined for 6.2 scoreless, allowing just three hits as this ballgame ended 7-2, Diamondbacks. Quietly, the Twins’ AL Central lead has shrunk to one game for the first time since April 25th, as the Guardians (12-3 in June) beat the Dodgers late last night in extras.