For most of Sunday, it looked as though the rest of the American League would have an opportunity to make up more ground on the Yankees. Houston no-hit the Yankees into the seventh yet again, and looked on the way to sending New York home with a third-consecutive loss.
Yet these are the 2022 Yankees, so they found a way to win, and to keep their rivals at bay. Here’s what those rivals did to wrap up the week:
Boston Red Sox (42-31) vs. Cleveland Guardians (36-32)
The Red Sox continue to roll. They sent Rich Hill to the mound looking for a sweep in Cleveland, and the veteran delivered with six innings of one-run ball. Boston left with an 8-3 win and what’s now a seven-game winning streak.
As Hill managed the Guardians, the Sox chipped away at starter Aaron Civale. Trevor Story and J.D. Martinez each drove in a pair over the first five innings, with Christian Vasquez adding in an RBI of his own to put Boston up 5-0. Cleveland was able to cut the lead to 6-3 in the eighth, but Boston tacked on two more in the ninth to put the game out of reach.
Boston is the hottest team in baseball right now, and they’ve gained a solid grip on second in the AL East, a game and a half up on both the Blue Jays and Rays (though 11 behind the Yankees). They head to Toronto for a big three-game set starting today.
Toronto Blue Jays (40-32) vs. Milwaukee Brewers (42-33)
Alejandro Kirk hit a three-run homer in the top of the first, giving the Jays an early lead. It was the last advantage Toronto would enjoy, as the Brewers scored 10 unanswered runs from there to take the game 10-3.
Milwaukee wasted no time tying the game up, with Rowdy Tellez smoking a two-run homer in the bottom of the first, and Omar Narvaez following with an RBI double to bring the score to 3-3. The Brewers poured it in on in the second, notching five more runs, capped off by Tellez’s second homer of the game:
Toronto starter José Berríos was charged with eight runs and recorded just eight outs. His ERA ballooned to 5.86 on the year after signing a seven-year extension in the offseason. The right-hander’s struggles leave the Jays’ rotation looking a little shakier than they’d like after the top two of Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman.
The Brewers added two insurance runs in the sixth, while the Jays hardly threatened again after the first. Milwaukee remains tied with the Cardinals for first in the NL Central.
Pittsburgh Pirates (29-42) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (39-32)
There aren’t many pitchers I’d rather have on the mound right now than Shane McClanahan. The young lefty entered Sunday with the best ERA and highest strikeout total in the AL, and he only improved his marks against the Pirates, striking out 10 and walking none across seven innings en route to a 4-2 win.
Former Yankee farmhand Roansy Contreras, traded for Jameson Taillon, put up a solid fight, managing five innings of one-run ball. But Tampa got to Pittsburgh’s bullpen, scoring three runs off Tyler Beede and Anthony Banda in the seventh to take the lead. The inning was keyed by a magnificent steal of second by Randy Arozarena, who was originally called out to end the inning, but was ruled safe upon review:
The Rays have won three straight, and coupled with the Jays’ loss, Tampa pulled into a tie for third in the AL East, two games up on Cleveland for the last Wild Card spots. It remains wild that there are four teams as competitive as this in one division.
Colorado Rockies (31-41) vs. Minnesota Twins (40-33)
Colorado started Ryan Feltner in this one, a 25-year-old with a 6.98 ERA in 40 career innings to his name. Things went about as you’d expect, as the Twins knocked Feltner for three runs in the first and cruised from there, ultimately taking the rubber game of this series 6-3.
The Twins got an old-school rally going in the first, following a Byron Buxton walk with singles in four straight at-bats. That gave Minnesota a 3-1 lead, one they would not relinquish. Starter Joe Ryan was shaky, yielding eight hits across five innings, but managed to limit the damage and exited the game with a 5-3 lead.
Minnesota’s bullpen was effective in relief of Ryan, and rookie Jhoan Duran pumped 102-mph heat in the ninth to clinch his fifth save.
Despite the series victory, the Twins’ players got some pretty shocking news on their flight to Cleveland, as news leaked that pitching coach Wes Johnson would be leaving the team on Thursday to take the same position at LSU.