The Yankees took nine innings to find the first run of the game, but it netted them the victory last night against Kansas City. Given the team’s sluggish performance over the past month or so, that was a game that they haven’t been able to win often of late. They held serve in the race to the top of the American League, so let’s see what the rest of the contenders did last night.
Detroit Tigers 3 (40-60) vs. Toronto Blue Jays 5 (55-44)
This was a fairly close affair, with both sides having to empty out the bullpen a bit to hold on. Both teams scored within an inning of each other, with the sole exception of Toronto pushing across the decisive two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Matt Chapman was the difference maker here, launching a two-run shot off of Tyler Alexander to put the Blue Jays ahead for good. Chapman added another solo shot in the sixth, giving him seven in the month of July in what has been his hottest stretch of play as a Jay.
Tampa Bay Rays 0 (53-46) vs. Baltimore Orioles 3 (50-49)
For seven innings this game was a slow burn that was leaning towards the home team. The Orioles staked Jordan Lyles a 1-0 lead in the third inning on an Anthony Santander double to right field that drove home Austin Hays, and Lyles turned in 5.2 shutout ball. The bullpen took over and kept the shutout intact, but a significant pair of insurance runs came in the eighth inning. Trey Mancini stepped up to the plate with a man on second with one out and lifted a fly ball to right — not particularly hard hit, but not a can of corn either. Here’s how chaos broke out:
I don’t know what the deal has been with AL East outfielders and completely losing the ball lately, but keep that mess far away from the Yankees thank you very much. Mancini’s fly ball became an inside the park home run, and that all but sealed it. The Orioles have continued their climb into the playoff picture, and incredibly sit two wins away from matching their win total from last year already.
Cleveland Guardians 2 (50-48) vs. Boston Red Sox 4 (50-50)
The Red Sox may be in last place, but they’re fighting to stay around .500 all the same. The weren’t able to touch Tristan McKenzie through the first five innings of this game, but a leadoff single from Jeter Downs and a one-out single by Alex Verdugo set them up with a major opportunity. Xandar Bogaerts cashed in, taking McKenzie deep to center for a three-run home run to put Boston on top for good. Bobby Dalbec knocked another run across in the seventh and the Guardians rallied for a run in the eighth, but Garrett Whitlock secured the two-inning save.
Bogaerts has been front and center around Boston’s decision-making process for this deadline, but apparently he’s been told he’s staying put for the remainder of the year. This puts Boston in an interesting spot, given that Bogaerts is the biggest name they could trade — JD Martinez could still be available or some other expiring contracts could go, but it might signal that the Red Sox are going to look to retool in spite of a dismal July.
Seattle Mariners 2 (54-46) vs. Houston Astros 4 (65-35)
The Astros entered this series reeling off of a sweep at the hands of the lowly Athletics, but they came roaring out of the gate for this one. Alex Bregmen launched a two-run shot in the first inning to get them on the scoreboard first, but Seattle responded in the second with a pair of run-producing outs. The score was knotted at two until the eighth inning, when Bregman again put the Astros on top — this time thanks to an RBI double. A wild pitch later in the inning scored Bregman as an insurance run, but they wouldn’t need it this time. J.P. Crawford managed a two-out single in the ninth, but the Mariners were otherwise unable to rally.