The weather kept the Yankees and Angels on the sidelines yesterday, and rain could have an impact today as well. There was at least a full slate of action last night to keep things lively, with interesting contests taking place across the AL, though the results didn’t exactly aid the Bombers. Here’s what went down.
Detroit Tigers (20-30) vs. Minnesota Twins (30-22)
The Tigers have not had a great 2022, as the fruits of their rebuild have yet to really show themselves. One bright spot, however, has been the breakout of young lefty Tarik Skubal. The 25-year-old tossed seven brilliant innings, shutting out the Twins while allowing just two hits, lowering his ERA to 2.14 on the year in the process.
Skubal made life easy for the Detroit offense, and they did more than enough against Twins starter Bailey Ober. The Tigers tagged the right-hander for four runs in the fifth, with Tucker Barnhart, Harold Castro, and Jonathan Schoop all driving in runs.
Chicago White Sox (23-25) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (29-20)
Despite the presence of some nominally strong starters on the mound in Hyun Jin Ryu and Michael Kopech, this turned into a bit of a slugfest. AJ Pollock and Santiago Espinal traded solo shots in the first, and Danny Jansen smashed a three-run shot in the third to put Toronto up 5-1.
Chicago struck back with a two-run dinger from Jose Abreu in the fourth, but the Jays put things out of reach with a Vlad Guerrero Jr. two-run shot in the eighth:
While the Yankees were off, the Jays kept the pressure on with their seventh-straight win, moving to five games back in the AL East.
Cincinnati Reds (17-32) vs. Boston Red Sox (24-27)
In a particular way, this game was one of the strangest played this season. On its face, it was a pretty unremarkable Red Sox win, with Boston riding a strong start from Garrett Whitlock to a 7-1 victory at Fenway.
But look a little closer, and you’ll see that Boston won despite recording a single strikeout of the Reds. Whitlock, Tanner Houck, and John Schreiber combined to allow just one unearned run, with seven hits, no walks, and a lone whiff of Albert Almora Jr.
Boston themselves struck out 13 times, but still found a way to produce plenty of offense. Alex Verdugo drove home two with a double in the second, and Jackie Bradley Jr. broke things open with a three-run triple in the seventh:
Tampa Bay Rays (29-21) vs. Texas Rangers (24-25)
An unlikely pitchers’ duel propped up in Texas last night. Jeffrey Springs, one of the most unheralded breakouts across the league, faced off with struggling right-hander Jon Gray, and the result was a low-scoring affair.
Springs kept the Rangers to two runs on five innings, striking out seven and walking one. But Gray flattened the Tampa offense, striking out 12 and walking two across seven innings of one-run ball. His lone blemish came in the seventh, via a solo shot from Randy Arozarena.
Gray exited with a 2-1 lead, and the Rangers’ pen just couldn’t quite hold. John King came on and yielded a game-tying RBI single to Harold Ramirez, and the game ultimately went to extras. The two teams traded runs in the tenth, and the Rays went ahead for good on Ji-man Choi’s RBI double in the 11th. Tampa won 4-3, and the Rangers failed to help out the Yankees despite Gray’s excellence.
Houston Astros (33-18) vs. Oakland Athletics (20-33)
Justin Verlander has quietly been a good story of this early season, not missing a beat in returning from a near two-year absence. He kept things rolling yesterday, tossing seven innings of two-hit ball, albeit with three runs allowed.
But the Astros were stymied by Oakland’s pitching, with starter Cole Irvin, former Yankee farmhand Domingo Acevedo, and AJ Puk combining to allow just one run into the eighth inning. Thanks to a two-run dinger from Christian Bethancourt in the bottom of the seventh, the A’s entered the eighth up 3-1.
Houston stormed back from there. Alex Bregman walked with the bases loaded to score a run, and Yordan Alvarez cleared them all with a three-run double to put the Astros up, 5-3. Ryan Pressly allowed a run in the bottom of the ninth, but held on for his tenth save of the year. The Astros have now opened up a 5.5-game lead in the AL West.