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Yankees Rivalry Roundup: Down to last strike, Rays stun Cardinals

Why does Taylor Walls keep hitting key home runs? It is unclear.

St. Louis Cardinals v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

A 10-4 Yankees victory last night gave the Bombers their 40th win of the season. Forty wins in early June! Last year, the Yankees didn’t win their 40th game until June 24th, and that season began a week earlier than this one. The not-so-dirty secret is that if the Yankees simply never lose games again, then they’ll render this rivalry roundup feature moot. So I challenge them to win 80 games in a row to do that!

Until then, here’s what went on around the league.

St. Louis Cardinals (32-24) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (32-23)

Dakota Hudson and Jeffrey Springs locked horns in what ended being quite a pitching matchup at the Trop. Both men threw six shutout innings, and while Springs departed in favor of a reliever in the seventh, the Rays got to Hudson after the stretch. Manuel Margot hit a double for just their second hit of the game, and the combination of a groundout and sacrifice fly gave Tampa a 1-0 lead.

However, a two-out rally in the eighth off Andrew Kittredge tied it up again, as Lars Nootbaar walked, Tyler O’Neill singled him to second, and Harrison Bader drove him in with a hit of his own. The game went to extras, and while St. Louis got its zombie runner home on a Nootbaar sacrifice fly, another possible run was lost at the plate when Kevin Kiemaier threw out Paul Goldschmidt. That set the stage for a rally off Drew VerHagen in the home half of the 10th, and Taylor Walls belted the walk-off, three-run blast off the foul pole right field. The Rays went from a strike away from losing to celebrating a win, just like that.

Seattle Mariners (25-31) vs. Houston Astros (36-20)

Justin Verlander faced the Mariners. Unsurprising results occurred.

The M’s/Astros roundup really should just end there, but we’ll go a tiny bit deeper. Verlander fanned 12 Seattle hitters across 7 innings of 1-run ball, walking just a pair. He’s now the active leader in strikeouts, as he passed the still-IL’d Max Scherzer to reach 3,086 K’s. Meanwhile, RBI hits from Kyle Tucker and Jeremy Peña put Houston in front, 2-1, and Yordan Álvarez clobbered his 17th homer of the season late, all but assuring Houston of a 4-1 triumph. The only player with more dingers this year than Álvarez wears No. 99 in the Yankees’ clubhouse.

Toronto Blue Jays (33-22) vs. Kansas City Royals (17-37)

On Monday, the Blue Jays had to wait around deep into the night after a long rain delay to get their 8-0 blowout win in Kansas City over with. Tuesday offered essentially the same result, but no weather issues of concern. Alek Manoah lowered his ERA to 1.81 in 11 starts with 6 shutout innings, and Matt Chapman gave him an early lead on a two-run double in the second. A bad day by the KC bullpen turned this into a laugher: a 7-0 Toronto win, the Blue Jays’ 11th victory in their last 13 games.

Boston Red Sox (29-27) vs. Los Angeles Angels (27-30)

The Phillies haven’t lost since swapping out Joe Girardi for former Yankees coach Rob Thomson on Friday. Could the Angels get a similar bump on Tuesday after somewhat surprisingly canning Joe Maddon for another former Yankees coach in Phil Nevin? They took Boston to the 10th inning, but the answer remained negative. They’re now in the midst of their longest single-season losing streak in franchise history at 13 games. Oh, and they have to worry about Mike Trout too, as he departed with groin tightness. Fun times in Anaheim!

Prior to leaving, Trout had given the Angels hope with a two-run homer early against a shaky Garrett Whitlock. Boston countered with three in the second off the not-quite-Nolan-Ryan José Suarez, and though the Angels recovered to build a 5-3 lead entering the sixth, it went for naught. Annoyingly scrappy rallies tied it up late, and after the Angels squandered a chance to walk it off in the ninth, Christian Vázquez drove the zombie runner home with the go-ahead, 10th-inning single. The Angels never advanced their zombie runner off Matt Strahm, and another Halos loss was in the books.