The Yankees may have held on for a 7-6 victory in the first game of the series against the Orioles, but the bigger story saw Michael King exit the game immediately after throwing a breaking ball in the eighth inning. We can only hope that it’s nothing serious considering the amount of work King has put in to make himself one of the best relievers in the game this season, and how important he is to the Yankees. There was still plenty of other action around the league, so let’s take a look at the games involving New York’s AL rivals.
Toronto Blue Jays 28 (51-43) vs. Boston Red Sox 5 (48-46)
This game deserves its own dedicated recap. I can’t remember a more lopsided contest than this since the Rangers’ 30-3 rout of the Orioles in 2007. I actually had to do a double-take to make sure I wasn’t looking at a football box score. It started normal enough, with the Blue Jays opening the scoring in the first on a Bo Bichette RBI groundout before adding a pair the next inning on a Matt Chapman two-run homer.
The third inning is where this game entered into the realm of the absurd. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. drove in a pair on a single and Santiago Espinal added another on a single of his own. With the bases loaded, Raimel Tapia lifted a seemingly routine flyball to center. However, Jarren Duran never saw the ball, and then compounded his error by inexplicably walking to retrieve it after it landed behind him while Tapia raced around the bases. By the time Alex Verdugo got the ball into the infield, Tapia was sliding into home with an inside-the-park grand slam.
Unsatisfied with a double-digit advantage, the Blue Jays continued to pour it on in the fourth. Teoscar Hernández clubbed a solo-shot with one out before Danny Jansen joined the party with his first of two home runs in the game. This one was a three-run bomb with two outs to give Toronto a two touchdown lead.
If the third inning was absurd, I have to imagine the Red Sox felt they were center stage during a Kafka work in the fifth. The Blue Jays scored 11 runs on ten hits and two walks, all with two outs. That’s right, 13 straight Blue Jays in a row reached safely. Rather than throw a wall of text at you to fully recap this ridiculous inning, I figured I could wrap those thousand words into one image:
Nathan Eovaldi gave up nine runs before being pulled with two outs in the third inning and was one of four Red Sox pitchers to give up at least five runs in the contest. Again, I don’t have the word count available to give a full breakdown of the Blue Jays’ offense, so I’m just gonna leave this here:
Boston scored three in the fourth and one in the sixth and seventh courtesy of a two-run home run by Jackie Bradley Jr., a pair of solo shots from Christian Vázquez, and a Rob Refsnyder solo shot. The Jays were up 10-0 after three, 14-3 after four, and 25-3 after five, with 28-5 your final score. Complete and utter dominance, and a demoralizing introduction to the second half for the Red Sox. And while they’re still technically in the playoff hunt, you have to wonder whether this is the kind of beatdown that could accelerate thoughts of a Boston sell-off at the trade deadline.
Tampa Bay Rays 7 (52-41) vs. Kansas City Royals 3 (36-53)
Unsurprisingly, there would be no topping the insanity of the first game. Just your routine Rays victory over an inferior Royals team that no one expected to be competitive this season. The Rays knocked around KC starter Brad Keller for five runs (four earned) in four innings while Rays starter Drew Rasmussen went five allowing one run on seven hits against four strikeouts.
Randy Arozarena opened the scoring in the third with an RBI groundout, but Andrew Benintendi answered right back in the bottom half with an RBI single. That was as close as this one would get, with the Rays putting up a four-spot in the fourth on a Francisco Mejía RBI single and Yandy Díaz double with the base loaded that brought all three home. The Royals fought back to 5-3 in the seventh on run-scoring outs from Benintendi and Hunter Dozier, but the Rays matched the feat in the following inning on RBI hits from Mejía and Brandon Lowe for a 7-3 victory.
Houston Astros (62-32) vs. Seattle Mariners (51-43)
The Mariners were the hottest team in baseball, winning their last 14 consecutive games before the break, but apparently the Astros didn’t get the memo, because they handled their AL West rivals with little difficulty. Astros starter José Urquidy held Seattle to one run on four hits in six innings while the Houston lineup tagged Mariners starter Marco Gonzalez for five runs on nine hits over 5.2.
Jose Altuve crushed the third pitch of the game to set the tone for the rest of the evening. Three innings later, Yordan Álvarez chipped in with his own leadoff blast for his 28th home run of the year. He would collect another RBI with a sac fly in the fifth after a Martín Maldonado solo shot with one out. A Jake Meyers RBI single in the sixth made it 5-0 Houston, but Ty France answered with a solo bomb in the bottom-half to keep the deficit at four runs. They would claw back another run in the eighth when Eugenio Suárez walked with the bases loaded, but that would be all as the Astros hung on for the 5-2 victory.