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Yankees Rivalry Roundup: Twins lose after five blown leads in Chicago

Recapping how the Yankees’ top AL opponents fared on July 6th.

Minnesota Twins v Chicago White Sox Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

The Yankees went from snoozing through two and a half games in Cleveland and Pittsburgh to running buckwild on the hapless Pirates. They went from 2 runs in their last 24 innings to 16 in their next 5. Yes, the final six runs came off an infielder just trying to survive out there, but if that’s what it took to reboot the offense’s router ahead of a four-game set in Boston, then we’ll take it.

That’s just the mini-Yankees recap though. Here’s how their top rivals fared yesterday with a four-game set against Boston looming later tonight.

Minnesota Twins (47-38) vs. Chicago White Sox (39-41)

What do you get when you pit a good team with a bad bullpen against an underachieving ballclub at home? Chaos, apparently.

That’s what happened on Wednesday afternoon, as the Twins simply refused to hold a lead on the South Side of Chicago, giving it away on five different occasions. No, seriously:

  • 1-0 lead vanishes in the first on José Abreu’s RBI single
  • 3-1 lead vanishes in the fourth on Eloy Jiménez’s two-run homer
  • 5-3 lead vanishes in the fifth on Luis Robert’s two-run homer
  • 6-5 lead vanishes in the seventh on Jiménez’s RBI single (nice day for Eloy in his first game since April 23rd)
  • 8-6 lead vanishes in the eighth on Andrew Vaughn’s two-run homer

That’s just dire stuff from the Minnesota pitching staff. Jorge Polanco’s multi-homer game and Gio Urshela’s go-ahead blast in the eighth went for naught. When the Twins came up empty in the top of the 10th, the White Sox said “Thank you very much” and walked them off on Leury García’s game-winner.

The Twins might still be 5.5 games up on Chicago (and 4.5 ahead of Cleveland, who missed an opportunity by weirdly coughing up eight runs to punchless Detroit), but with that bullpen, they’re just going to remain vulnerable all season long if they don’t seek out improvements.

Toronto Blue Jays (45-38) vs. Oakland Athletics (28-56)

For a moment there, it seemed like the worst team in baseball might find a way to sweep the mighty Blue Jays. After back-to-back wins on Monday and Tuesday, the A’s nursed a 1-0 lead into the seventh behind a homer from Ramón Laureano and six shutout innings from James Kaprielian.

A’s skipper Mark Kotsay tried to coax another few batters out of Kaprielian in the seventh with his pitch count at 86, but leadoff hitter Matt Chapman battled his old pal for eight pitches before belting a game-tying dinger.

As Adam Cimber and Jordan Romano shut the A’s down, Bo Bichette launched a homer of his own in the eighth to put Toronto up, 2-1. The score stayed right there, and Toronto salvaged the finale of their three-game set at the Coliseum.

Tampa Bay Rays (45-37) vs. Boston Red Sox (45-37)

Boston fans had high hopes with top pitching prospect Brayan Bello making his MLB debut yesterday, but the Tampa Bay spoiled the party at Fenway Park. The Rays scored in the first and then got a pair of RBI doubles from Randy Arozarena and Kevin Kiermaier in the third to jump ahead, 4-0, and the rookie was gone after four innings.

Instead of Bello, it was the wily veteran Corey Kluber who turned in an excellent pitching performance. He fired six shutout frames, allowing just three hits and no walks.

It never really felt like the Red Sox were in this one, and the Rays piled on late to win, 7-1. Tampa Bay won two out of three at Fenway and now sits even with Boston for second place in the AL East, half a game up on Toronto and, well, 14 behind the Yankees.

Kansas City Royals (30-50) vs. Houston Astros (53-28)

As if to remind a certain portion of Yankees fans that yes, bad teams can sometimes beat good teams that aren’t the Yankees, Kansas City was somehow the team to snap the Astros’ eight-game winning streak. In Cristian Javier’s previous 14 shutout innings against the Yanks and Halos, he allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out 27 batters. Naturally, the Royals worked him for five runs on three walks and four hits — three of which included long balls from Whit Merrifield, Hunter Dozier, and Emmanuel Rivera.

Baseball: As unexpected as advertised.

The Astros cut into the Royals’ 5-1 lead and Aledmys Díaz’s homer made it 5-4 in the sixth. However, Scott Barlow and the Kansas City bullpen held on with three innings of one-hit ball to save the game, and a couple insurance runs in the ninth helped the Royals secure a 7-4 victory.