This might be the busiest recap of the year, with six different games featuring all of the Yankees’ AL rivals. After a disappointing loss to the Mets last night, the Yankees needed some help with maintaining their pole position in the American League, so lets see what the rest of the field did.
Milwaukee Brewers 10 (55-44), Minnesota Twins 4 (52-46)
If you like big baseball boys, then this was the game for you. Rowdy Tellez provided all the difference in the Brewers 10-4 win over the Twins, driving in six runs with a pair of home runs, and adding a walk to boot:
Chris Archer went just three innings, walking six batters against a pair of strikeouts, although for as bad as he was, you’re not going to win many games when your top four hitters combine to go 0-16. Byron Buxton in particular continued to struggle, his 0-4 day contributing to his 0.640 OPS for July, and an unsightly 37 percent strikeout rate since the calendar turned.
Oakland Athletics 4 (38-63), Houston Astros 2 (64-35)
If the Houston Astros have the Yankees’ number, then it sure seems like the Athletics have the Astros’ number. For whatever reason, the ‘Stros are just 6-6 against their lowly AL West rival following Wednesday’s 4-2 loss. A pair of A’s home runs in the second inning got Oakland off and running, and even though Yordan Alvarez reached base three times, including a booming home run in the sixth, a strong outing from a pair of Athletics relievers snuffed out the comeback.
Even with the Yankees’ recent skid, they retain a two-game lead on Houston for home-field advantage in any potential head-to-head playoff series.
Seattle Mariners 4 (54-45), Texas Rangers 2 (43-54)
One word: Julio.
It’s always interesting to me when an athlete becomes mononymic. If someone’s talking about Babe, Wayne, or Magic, then you know exactly who they’re referring to. Julio Rodríguez may be on the fastest track to mononym status of any athlete in some time, as he’s stepped up to be the leader of a young, exciting Mariners team that may be playoff bound.
Not much else happened in this game, the Rangers had a pair of RBI doubles to put the club up early. After that, it was Julio’s three run shot that put the Mariners up for good, the big blow in Seattle’s 4-2 win.
Tampa Bay Rays 6 (53-45), Baltimore Orioles 4 (49-49)
What looked like a dramatic comeback by the Orioles was snuffed out early in extra innings by Randy Arozarena’s two-run double to win the game 6-4.
The Rays jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, thanks to our old friend Ji-Man Choi’s long ball. Luke Raley built the lead with a home run of his own the next inning, but the O’s put up a run in three of the next four innings to keep things close. Jorge Mateo was the orange hero, with a game-tying solo shot in the bottom of the ninth to send us to Manfredball, but that was as close as they would get.
St. Louis Cardinals 6 (52-47), Toronto Blue Jays 1 (54-44)
It really should be harder to win when you’re without your two MVP candidates, but after losing the series opener, the Cardinals came back to spank the Blue Jays 6-1, despite no Paul Goldschmidt or Nolan Arenado.
As befitting a Hall of Famer in his final season, Albert Pujols received a standing ovation from the Toronto crowd as he stepped into the box for the first time. He repaid that kindness by being very unkind indeed a couple innings later:
Nolan Gorman had a home run of his own to put the Cardinals ahead, but Pujols’ three-run shot was the death blow as the Redbirds escaped their trip north with a split.
Cleveland Guardians 7 (50-47), Boston Red Sox 6 (49-50)
Aside from a truly entertaining Yankees-Mets showdown, this game might have been the best of the night, a back-and-forth affair that saw three lead changes and a huge ninth inning home run from Josh Naylor that gave the Guardians the winning run in a 7-6 victory.
Neither starter did well, although Nathan Eovaldi was hit with two unearned runs and Cal Quantrill one, in a game that saw five errors committed between the two teams. Sometimes the sloppy games are hard to get through, but with this much offense, a clutch home run, and another dominant outing by Emmanuel Clase, it’s still worth catching the condensed game before work.
Boston sits dead last in the AL East at 49-50 and behind Cleveland, Chicago, and Baltimore in the Wild Card race. They may well drop out of the Rivalry Roundup in a matter of days — particularly if they sell.