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Yankees Rivalry Roundup: Jays feast on exposed BoSox to walk off

Recapping how the Yankees’ top AL opponents fared on June 28th.

Boston Red Sox v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images

I’m always scared of trap series. I’m not sure what it is, but I partially blame it on the 2005 Yankees (one of my favorite teams in high school), inexplicably going 8-11 against a terrible Devil Rays team that lost 95 games. So even though there was little reason to seriously worry about the best team in baseball (the 2022 Yankees) dropping a home series to the worst team in baseball (the 2022 A’s), the fear lingered in the back of my mind. I didn’t think that they would actually lose to Oakland, but the thought existed!

Anyway, this is all a bit of a ramble to lead up to the fact that the Yankees won their second-straight against the A’s last night and will go for the sweep this afternoon. So the spectral voices of Jonny Gomes and Jorge Cantú can kick rocks!

Here’s what went on elsewhere around the American League on Tuesday.

Minnesota Twins (43-34) vs. Cleveland Guardians (37-34)

The two top teams in the AL Central played a doubleheader, and the Guardians got their day off to a good start by snapping their five-game losing streak. A misplayed ball in right field turned into a double for Franmil Reyes and a 1-0 lead in the first. Shutdown work from Zach Plesac and Devin Smeltzer kept the score there into the seventh, when Eli Morgan promptly wasted Plesac’s afternoon by giving up a game-tying RBI triple to Gilberto Celestino. Carlos Correa clubbed a go-ahead solo shot off Sam Hentges, and it looked like Minnesota might take this one after all.

Much to the delight of the Cleveland fans though, Twins reliever Emilio Pagan had a stinker of his own up his sleeve. He walked Myles Straw and Steven Kwan back-to-back to start the bottom of the eighth, and after a wild pitch pushed both men into scoring position, Amed Rosario drove ‘em in.

Emmanuel Clase threw a scoreless ninth to save the 3-2 win for Cleveland.

In the nightcap, the Twins had their say and put the Guardians back on an L-1. Cleveland starter/fictional preppy character Konnor Pilkington surrendered four runs on eight hits in just four innings of work, with Jorge Polanco slugging a two-run bomb to put a crooked number on the scoreboard early.

Since Josh Winder tossed six shutout frames for Minnesota, this game never really felt close. but if there was any doubt, Byron Buxton stomped it out anyway with an aesthetically pleasing 427-foot bomb in the ninth:

That’s a beaut for No. 20! The Twins took the second game, 6-0.

Toronto Blue Jays (42-32) vs. Boston Red Sox (42-33)

This was a back-and-forth with the Blue Jays getting off to a quick start. They took a 4-1 lead on Michael Wacha thanks to RBI doubles from Teoscar Hernández and Matt Chapman, plus a ribbie hit by Santiago Espinal. But former Yankee Rob Refsnyder — suddenly a leadoff man — got the Red Sox back into it with a game-tying two-run homer in the seventh off Trent Thornton.

Tim Mayza made matters worse in the eighth when he walked Xander Bogaerts and gave up a single to Alex Verdugo. That allowed Christian Vázquez to put Boston on top, 6-5, with an RBI single, though it could’ve been worse. New reliever Matt Gage walked Bobby Dalbec to load the bases and only escaped when Christian Arroyo lined into a double play. Still, the Red Sox had a lead entering the ninth.

Of course, Boston manager had a teensy problem: his closer, Tanner Houck, refused to get vaccinated and was ineligible to travel to Toronto. So that meant the duo of Tyler Danish and Hansel Robles had to try to close out a one-run game against a quartet of potential All-stars: Alejandro Kirk, George Springer, Bo Bichette, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Yeah, how do you think that went?

Not an out was recorded, the Blue Jays won, 6-5, and Red Sox fans had a fun new reason to be incensed by Houck’s decision.

Houston Astros (46-27) vs. New York Mets (47-28)

The Astros are just having their way with the Mets. After beating them twice in Houston last week, they clobbered Carlos Carrasco for six runs on six hits in 4.1 innings, with Kyle Tucker continuing his hot hitting on a three-run blast in the first.

Chasen Shreve provided no relief whatsoever in the fifth, coughing up a pair of bombs to Yordan Alvarez and Yuli Gurriel to run the score up to 9-0, Houston.

After the game, Carrasco complained about a first-inning check-swing call on Jose Altuve that didn’t go the Mets’ way. But he promptly got a fielder’s choice to retire Altuve, and a runner on first with one out is far from a doomed endeavor, even facing the Astros’ lineup. The terrible pitching is on you, sorry Cookie.

Milwaukee Brewers (43-33) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (40-33)

Although Brandon Woodruff struck out 10 Rays in 5 innings, a Randy Arozarena single in the fourth put the Rays up, 1-0. It was just their second hit of the ballgame, but Shane Baz nursed that one-run lead into the sixth. He gave up a leadoff single to Christian Yelich, who stole second between strikeouts of Willy Adames and Rowdy Tellez.

With the rookie Baz at 95 pitches, Rays skipper Kevin Cash called down to the bullpen for Matt Wisler to handle our old friend Andrew McCutchen. The decision backfired on his second pitch:

Cutch’s dinger put Milwaukee in front, and they tacked on two more when Luis Urías took Wisler deep as well. The Brewers got an insurance run in the eighth when Urías contributed again on an RBI double, and the combination of Devin Williams and Josh Hader fended off a late Rays rally to grab the W, 5-3.