The Yankees didn’t exactly dominate the Athletics, but ultimately, the Bombers handled their business and swept away Oakland. That’s left the rest of their rivals with little chance to get back into contact in the standings, with New York continuing to stretch their lead on the rest of the league.
Nevertheless, there was some compelling action across the AL on Wednesday. Let’s see what went down.
Houston Astros (47-27) vs. New York Mets (47-29)
The Mets have gotten knocked around by the Astros over the last week, and they turned yesterday to righty Taijuan Walker to stop the bleeding. Walker did everything he could, shoving for 7.1 scoreless against the loaded Houston lineup. Problem was, the Astros started Justin Verlander. The veteran continued his stellar comeback campaign, shutting out the Mets for eight innings while allowing two hits and one walk.
The game remained tied at zero into the ninth, where Jason Castro crushed a two-run homer off Drew Smith for the lead:
Go-ahead home run? Just like we Drew it up. pic.twitter.com/dOG7EjpmQQ— Houston Astros (@astros) June 29, 2022
The Mets will have to lick their wounds after another two-game sweep at the hands of the Astros. Unfortunately, there was some bad baseball news out of this one, as Yordan Alvarez and Jeremy Peña collided, and needed to exit the game, Alvarez being carted off the field. Hopefully, both are able to emerge unscathed for the most part.
Milwaukee Brewers (44-33) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (40-34)
These are two pretty evenly-matched teams, and they’ve fittingly played a tight series. The Brewers managed a 5-3 win in the first game of this quick two-game set, and they squeezed out another tight 5-3 victory yesterday to take series.
The two sides went back and forth, with Rowdy Tellez ripping a solo shot in the second inning off Jalen Beeks to put Milwaukee in front. The Rays responded, with Taylor Walls driving two on a flare to center off Eric Lauer in the fourth. The Brewers came right back in the fifth, with Luis Urias grabbing a 3-2 lead with a two-run dinger, but Wander Franco tied things up in the bottom of the frame with an RBI double.
With the score level at three, Tellez took things into his own hands:
This was Tellez’s second multi-homer game in the last week. He has 15 on the year, to go along with a strong .818 OPS.
The Rays threatened in the ninth, putting the first two runners on against All-World closer Josh Hader. But Hader shut things down from there, cinching his 24th save of the season.
Minnesota Twins (43-35) vs. Cleveland Guardians (38-34)
Cal Quantrill started this rollercoaster ride for Cleveland, and he had the Guardians cruising for a while. Quantrill shut down the Twins through five innings, and a Franmil Reyes grounder with the bases loaded scored two thanks to a throwing error by Luis Arraez. Josh Naylor chipped in a sac fly in the third to give Cleveland a 3-0 lead.
Minnesota charged back in the sixth. Alex Kirriloff stroked a two-run dinger, and Gio Urshela went back-to-back to tie the game:
The game went to extras, and in the top of the tenth, Carlos Correa chased home the zombie runner for the lead. Two batters later, Max Kepler took Eli Morgan deep for a 6-3 lead.
But the Guardians were far from done. A Steven Kwan walk and Amed Rosario double put the tying run in scoring position. After a wild pitch, Rosario stood 90 feet from evening the game, with two outs and Josh Naylor at the plate. Instead, Naylor ended things:
The Guardians lost ground on the Twins this series, but moved back to two games back in the AL Central with this thrilling win.
Toronto Blue Jays (42-33) vs. Boston Red Sox (43-33)
The Jays took the first two games of this crucial series between AL East rivals, and tensions flared as the Red Sox tried to avoid a sweep. With the game tied at 1-1, Nick Pivetta hit Alejandro Kirk with a pitch. The dugouts and bullpens poured onto the field for an uneventful scuffle:
Soon after, George Springer broke the tie with a solo shot. Not to be outdone, Alex Verdugo smashed a two-run homer in the sixth for a 3-2 lead:
Dugie's home run swing is so smooth and beautiful. pic.twitter.com/Mt2cQafnvO— Red Sox (@RedSox) June 30, 2022
Much like the game in Cleveland, this contest went to extras tied at three, where former Yankee David Phelps had himself a bit of a meltdown. He walked two batters to load the bases, and then hit J.D. Martinez to force in a run. Tim Mayza came on and let in two more on a Verdugo double, giving Boston the 6-3 advantage.
Unlike Cleveland, Toronto could not quite erase the three-run deficit. The Jays did manage a two-out rally, stringing together three straight hits to put two on for George Springer with the score 6-5. Matt Strahm got Springer to line out softly, though, giving Boston the victory and nudging them past Toronto for a distant second in the AL East — 13 games behind New York.