The Yankees wrapped up their first half of the season in a perfect fashion on Sunday, crushing the Red Sox for a second consecutive day. They’re going into the All-Star break with a 64-28 record, 13 games up in the AL East. It was also a pair of much-needed wins after they had been struggling a bit in the previous two series.
Now, they and the rest of the league will get a couple days off as the All-Star festivities take place in Los Angeles. Before we focus on all of that for the next couple days, let’s check in on what happened on Sunday in the game’s involving the Yankees’ American League rivals, including a new addition to the roundup.
Toronto Blue Jays (50-43) 4, Kansas City Royals (36-56) 2
The Royals got off to a decent start, scoring a run in each of the first two innings, but that would be all they would get. The Blue Jays tied things up in the third and then finally broke through on a two-run Alejandro Kirk home run in the eighth, which would be enough for the win.
After those first two iffy innings, Toronto’s José Berríos buckled down and ended up getting through 6.1 innings, allowing just three hits in his last 4.1 innings. Royals starter Kris Bubic was also good, allowing two runs on five hits in seven innings. However, the difference came in the bullpens, as the Blue Jays allowed just one baserunner over the final 2.2 innings. The Jays ended their first half on a three-game winning streak under new skipper John Schneider and hold the last AL Wild Card spot by two games over the Red Sox.
Tampa Bay Rays (51-41) 7, Baltimore Orioles (46-46) 5
Baltimore made it semi-close late, but they couldn’t come back all the way after the Rays had jumped out to a 6-0 lead by the third inning. Brandon Lowe recorded four hits, while Brett Phillips drove in three on a third-inning home run that ended up providing the difference in the final score.
The Orioles got close in the eighth, scoring one run on a Austin Hays home run and bringing the tying run to plate with nobody out after a Adley Rutschman double. However, Pete Fairbanks escaped that jam, and Jason Adam closed the door with a scoreless inning in the ninth. Still, Baltimore will end its first half at .500 and just a game and a half behind Boston for fourth — far better than anyone could have reasonably expected.
The Rays, meanwhile, currently hold the top Wild Card slot in the AL and are in playoff position by 3.5 games over the Red Sox, who are currently on the outside looking in.
Oakland Athletics (32-61) 4, Houston Astros (59-32) 3
It seemed like Houston was headed to an easy Sunday afternoon win after two fifth-inning runs extended their lead to 3-0. Home runs from Kyle Tucker and Jeremy Peña had put the Astros in front, while Jake Odorizzi had retired 16 of the first 17 batter he faced. However, the 18th batter was Ramón Laureano, who homered, beginning a flip of the game’s fortunes.
The A’s added two more runs in the sixth, evening things up and knocking Odorizzi out of the game. Two innings later, Stephen Vogt gave Oakland the lead with an RBI single, driving in his second run of the game. That ended up being enough, as relievers Zach Jackson and Lou Trivino each threw a prefect frame in the eighth and ninth innings, finishing off the comeback win.
The last-place A’s surprisingly ended up taking two of three from the mighty Astros, who will head into the All-Star break nine games ahead in the AL West but 4.5 behind the Yankees for the best record in the AL.
Chicago White Sox (46-46) 11, Minnesota Twins (50-44) 0
This game was even through the first four innings, but once the White Sox finally broke through in the fifth, it broke the dam and eventually gave Chicago a blowout win over the Twins.
Eight different White Sox recorded a hit, while five hitters drove in a run, led by Andrew Vaughn and Josh Harrison, who each brought home three. Meanwhile, starter Dylan Cease allowed just one hit and two walks in seven inning in a dominant outing.
Pour one out for Twins’ reliever Joe Smith, who was part of the big seventh inning when Chicago really broke things open, scoring six runs, which put them up 10-0. Smith recorded only one out and was dinged with all six runs after allowing five hits — three of which were home runs. In just one outing, his ERA went from a very respectable 2.66 to 4.88.
Nonetheless, the Twins remain in first place in the AL Central. They have a two-game lead on the Guardians, who were rained out, and are three up on exactly-.500 White Sox.
Seattle Mariners (51-42) 6, Texas Rangers (41-49) 2
Welcome to the roundup, Mariners. Through Saturday, the Mariners had won 13 consecutive games, vaulting them not only over .500, but past a couple teams in the Wild Card standings and in the FanGraphs playoffs odds. As a result, it’s probably about time for us to keep an eye on their results as well.
Their first game in this roundup was about the same as their ones prior to it: a win. While Texas struck first, the Mariners took the lead in the fourth, but truly broke the game open with a three-run seventh inning. Julio Rodríguez had a two-hit, two-RBI day, while Ty France and Cal Raleigh both homered as the Mariners extended their win streak to 14 games. Only their historic 2001 team had a run that lasted longer, at 15 in a row.