The Yankees took care of business against their fiercest of division rivals, the Boston Red Sox, last night via a 6-5 victory. But although the Rays and Twins each had the night off, the Blue Jays and Astros each played yesterday. And so, let us embark on our daily scoreboard watching, and see how they did last night.
Toronto Blue Jays (45-39) vs. Seattle Mariners (42-42)
Don’t look now, but the Seattle Mariners are slowly creeping their way into the Wild Card conversation, as they won their fifth straight game — eighth of their last nine — with an 8-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays last night.
The Blue Jays sent out Anthony Banda as an opener, and as it turned out, that would be the wrong move. He walked Julio Rodríguez to lead off the bottom of the first, allowed a single to Ty France, got J.P. Crawford to ground into a fielder’s choice that put runners on the corners, and allowed a single to Carlos Santana. Five batters in, Banda was done, and the Blue Jays brought on the night’s bulk guy, Casey Lawrence, with one out in the first inning — not exactly what you’re looking for when you use an opener. He would escape the first inning allowing one more run to score.
The Mariners’ offense continued to pound away at the Toronto pitching. Somehow, Lawrence made it through the third inning, having surrendered five runs, including a Dylan Moore solo shot in the second and a Cal Raleigh two-run homer in the third, to put the Blue Jays into an early hole.
The offense, meanwhile, consistently put runners on base, but were unable to scratch more than three runs across against Seattle starter Marco Gonzales. Could the Mariners make some noise this year? That remains to be seen, but they’re starting to put themselves on the map.
Kansas City Royals (30-51) vs. Houston Astros (54-28)
Sometimes, baseball does the unexpected. More often than not, however, when a really good team like the Houston Astros goes up against a less-than-mediocre one like the Kansas City Royals, everything turns out just as you would have predicted.
The Royals actually managed to get on the board first against future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander, stringing together a trio of singles to plate Edward Olivares in the top of the second. Unfortunately, that ought to have resulted in two runs, as Emmanuel Rivera was picked off third by Martin Maldonado, and while that run was by no means the difference in the game, it robbed Kansas City of an opportunity for a bigger rally. They then extended the lead to 2-0 in the fourth, courtesy of a leadoff Olivares single in which he reached third on a two-base error by center fielder Jake Meyers, which was followed up by a sacrifice fly off the bat of Kyle Isbel.
That would not be enough, however. Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez each homered in the fifth to give the Astros a 3-2 lead; they would later tack on a pair of runs in the eighth to extend the lead to its final score, 5-2.