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Rivalry Roundup: The Rays remain pesky, the Angels remain hopeless

Tampa Bay and Boston put up wins while the Blue Jays and Astros stumbled.

St. Louis Cardinals v Tampa Bay Rays
Ji-Man Choi is the only good thing about this team, prove me wrong.
Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

All good things must come to an end, and the Yankees’ eight-game win streak is apparently no exception. New York had no answer for Minnesota last night, falling behind early and never making it close in an 8-1 beatdown. Nestor Cortes had a rare outing where he just didn’t have it, and the offense was MIA for the first time in a while as well. It sucks, but it happens. Meanwhile, the rest of the league was active and looking to gain some ground on the Yankees’ top spot.

St. Louis Cardinals (32-25) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (33-23)

St. Louis lost in heartbreaking fashion in their previous game, but they didn’t ever have a lead to blow in this one. The Rays jumped out in front immediately, scoring three in the first and kept their foot on the gas pedal from there. Every actual reliever that the Cardinals sent out gave up at least one run, with Yadier Molina’s stint on the mound in the eighth inning being the only respite that they would find. On the other end, Corey Kluber gave the Rays five innings of three-run ball and turned it over to the bullpen for a lights out performance to cap off an 11-3 victory for Tampa.

Toronto Blue Jays (33-23) vs. Kansas City Royals (18-37)

Give the Royals credit — for a team that’s already buried in the standings, they’re finding moments to get some nice upsets against teams that the Yankees want to lose. This time they were facing Toronto, and Yusei Kikuchi spotted them a 3-0 lead in the first inning after handing out four walks in 0.2 innings of work. The Blue Jays bounced back to tie the game in the third inning, but they were tasked with getting a lot out of their bullpen and it wasn’t going to go well.

Trevor Richards was touched up for three runs in the fourth and fifth innings combined, and the Royals managed to add a couple of insurance runs to that in the sixth and seventh. Toronto faced an uphill climb if they wanted the win in this one, but they were stuck in a lull against the Royals bullpen until the ninth inning against Scott Barlow. Three hits in four at-bats to start the inning brought the tying run on deck, but Barlow bounced back to close out the 8-4 Royals win.

Boston Red Sox (30-27) vs. Los Angeles Angels (27-31)

Oh, the Angels. A baker’s dozen losses in a row has this team in the biggest funk in franchise history, punting what was a great start to a season down into their perpetual mediocrity. Would they be able to prevent a 14th loss? No, dear reader, they would not — even though they allowed just one run.

The aforementioned run came in the sixth inning, when Jimmy Herget came on in relief of Archie Bradley and got two strikeouts to start the frame before walking Alex Verdugo. The next batter was Bobby Dalbec, and he smashed a double out to right field that scored Verdugo and set Nathan Eovaldi up for the win despite some so-so stuff that narrowly allowed him to avoid trouble. Boston’s ‘pen was tasked with getting through the remaining four innings, and they did so with just one baserunner allowed. It appears that firing Joe Maddon will not be giving the Angels the same boost that firing Joe Girardi gave the Phillies.

Seattle Mariners (26-31) vs. Houston Astros (36-21)

The Mariners have been one of several underperforming teams in baseball, but they’re still trying to crawl their way out of their own mess (and at least are showing more life than the Angels). Houston is their main roadblock to getting into the postseason for the first time in 21 years, and they’ve played them tough so far — entering last night they were 5-6 against the AL West juggernauts. Outside of a sweep to begin May they’ve been competitive, and a win here would give them three series won to one lost against their division rivals.

Houston struck first, but the Mariners answered back with a run in the third. They immediately fell back behind 3-1 thanks to a double from Yordan Alvarez and a single from Kyle Tucker, but the fourth inning would be their tipping point. Jose Urquidy served up homers to Cal Raleigh and Ty France to put the Mariners on top, and from there the Mariners pitching staff held Houston off. Seattle added a pair of insurance runs that weren’t needed and wound up with a 6-3 win.