There’s no sugarcoating it, the Yankees are playing their worst baseball of the season. They’ve lost seven of their last eight and are 7-13 in the second half. Whereas earlier they were finding different ways to win games, the script has flipped, with the team finding a new way to lose with each passing night. Luckily, their AL rivals did them a favor and all lost as well to prevent the Bombers from losing ground on this particular afternoon.
Tampa Bay Rays 3 (58-52) vs. Milwaukee Brewers 4 (60-50)
With the Orioles’ inexplicable rise up the AL East leaderboard, the Rays all of a sudden are feeling the pressure in the hunt for a Wild Card berth. They instantly found themselves in a 2-0 first inning hole thanks to RBI singles from former employee Mike Brosseau and Keston Hiura. The Tampa Bay bullpen locked it in after that, allowing the offense to grab a lead thanks to an RBI single from deadline add David Peralta in the third and solo home runs from Yu Chang and Randy Arozarena in the fifth and seventh respectively.
Heading into the bottom of the ninth down one, the Brewers jumped right back into the game on a Rowdy Tellez leadoff solo blast to send the game to extras. Reminiscent of the Yankees’ 1-0 extra-innings loss to the Mariners, the Rays ran into two outs on the base paths in extras, giving the Brewers a chance to walk it off in the bottom of the tenth. That’s just what they did, as Willy Adames punished his former team with a leadoff walk-off single to cap off the 4-3 comeback.
Toronto Blue Jays (60-50) vs. Baltimore Orioles (58-52)
This game was postponed by rain and will be made up as a part of a doubleheader on September 5th in Baltimore. However, with the Rays’ loss and the Orioles’ implausible 23-8 hot streak, Baltimore has taken possession of a Wild Card spot ... for now. Absolute madness.
Texas Rangers 8 (49-61) vs. Houston Astros 4 (71-41)
This game was nip and tuck throughout until the Rangers blew it open with a five-run tenth. Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker each contributed solo home runs while Leody Taveras showed Justin Verlander and the Astros who was boss, accounting for five of the Rangers’ eight runs. Tied at three apiece, the contest headed to extras where an onslaught awaited the Astros relievers.
The Rangers loaded the bases on a Josh Smith single and Jonah Heim walk, after which offseason mega-signings Marcus Semien and Corey Seager each drove in a run. They reloaded the bases for Taveras to clear them with a three-run double to put the contest fully out of reach. Texas did the Yankees a huge solid in beating the Astros — now losers of three of their last four — to ensure the Yankees maintained a share of the best record in the AL heading into the off-day.
Minnesota Twins 5 (57-53) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers 8 (77-33)
This was a back and forth affair worthy of slotting in as the nightcap to a day full of baseball. The Dodgers struck first in the second thanks to a Max Muncy leadoff blast and a Cody Bellinger sac fly. The Twins grabbed the lead right back in the following frame on a Jorge Polanco three-run blast and looked like they’d really blow it open in the fifth. Gary Sánchez led off with a home run after which Minnesota loaded the bases, but Alex Vesia got Gilberto Celestino to flyout to leave them juiced.
The Dodgers took advantage of the Twins’ wasted opportunity, scoring a pair in the bottom-half on an RBI single by Trea Turner and RBI double by Will Smith. An inning later, Chris Taylor — recently off the IL after missing a month with a fractured foot — restored the Dodgers’ lead on a solo shot with two outs. The pièce de résistance came in the seventh when Joey Gallo demolished a pinch-hit, opposite field three-run bomb for his first home run with the Dodgers because of course he did. As he’s wont to do, Craig Kimbrel made things interesting in the ninth, surrendering a run on a double, single, and wild pitch, but ultimately reined it in to wrap up the victory. With the 8-5 loss, the Twins fall a full game back of the AL Central-leading Guardians.