With the mind-numbingly frustrating extra-innings loss to the Red Sox last night, the Yankees have now dropped five of their last six and are playing only a game above a .500 clip since June 18th. While it’s not time to hit the panic button, the concern meter is certainly rising. Luckily for the Yankees, most of their AL rivals also lost on this disappointing segue into the weekend.
Toronto Blue Jays 8 (48-43), Kansas City Royals 1 (36-54)
The Royals stunned the Blue Jays in the first game of the series, winning 3-1 despite fielding a crew of replacement players after 40 percent of the active roster was barred from entering Canada due to being unvaccinated. That was not the case last night, with Kansas City feeling the full effect of their depleted roster. Toronto torched Zack Greinke and reliever Carlos Hernández for eight runs, the big blows coming via three-run home runs in the third and fifth from Teoscar Hernández and Matt Chapman respectively.
Meanwhile, emerging ace Alek Manoah dominated a barebones Royals lineup populated by recently recalled Triple-A players who likely have never seen stuff anywhere near the quality that Manoah hurls. The hefty righty hurled seven strong innings, giving up one run on four hits against six strikeouts en route to an easy 8-1 victory for the Jays. The Mariners hung right in there with the Jays though, winning their 12th in a row to remain a game ahead of Toronto and Boston for the second Wild Card spot.
Tampa Bay Rays 5 (50-40), Baltimore Orioles 4 (45-45)
The Orioles’ magical run had to come to an end at some point or another, and isn’t it fitting that it came at the hands of the fun-killing Rays? The O’s actually jumped out to an early two-run lead thanks to solo shots from Trey Mancini and Ramón Urías in the third and fourth respectively.
Unfortunately, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde left Tyler Wells in a bit too long, and he folded like a lawn chair in the sixth, giving up four runs on three straight doubles capped off by a Christian Bethancourt two-run home run. Baltimore clawed the deficit back to just one run in the eighth on Urías’ second bomb of the night, this one a two-run blast, however they couldn’t quite overcome that disaster sixth and ended up falling, 5-4. It snaps their 10-game winning streak. Nonetheless, it is still the case that all five teams in the division have at least a .500 record.
Oakland Athletics 5 (31-60), Houston Astros 1 (58-31)
The Astros have feasted on an impotent AL West to bulk their record to second-best in the AL, but that was not the case tonight against a surprisingly punchy A’s squad. Cole Irvin twirled six strong innings, giving up just one run on three hits with four strikeouts. Meanwhile, the Oakland offense was held down through the first six innings with Houston starter José Urquidy racking up nine strikeouts.
They were finally able to break through in the seventh, scoring three runs on a bunch of singles to knock Urquidy from the contest. They added a further pair in the ninth on a Skye Bolt (yes, that’s actually a real person’s name) two-run home run to bring us to our final score of 5-1.
Chicago White Sox (45-45) vs. Minnesota Twins (49-43)
With the two teams favorited preseason to contend for the AL Central crown facing off, this could end up being a critical series at the end of the year. Andrew Vaughn opened the scoring in the first with a two-run single, but Alex Kiriloff answered right back in the bottom half with a two-run double. Tim Anderson restored Chicago’s lead with a solo shot in the fourth before Adam Engel broke it open with a three-run rocket in the seventh.
That would be all the scoring, with Michael Kopech pitching five innings of two-run ball followed by four scoreless innings from the Chicago bullpen. The White Sox push themselves back to .500 for the first time since June 21st, which is somehow just three games back of the division-leading Twins, confirming what an absolute joke the AL Central is.