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Yankees Rivalry Roundup: The Orioles take third place in the AL East

It hasn’t been a good time for the Yankees, but the rest of the division is in chaos as well.

Baltimore Orioles v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Yankees found another way to lose last night, blowing the series opener against the Red Sox in Fenway in extras. It’s just the latest in a line of missed opportunities for New York lately, but it hurts all the same to see this team in such a funk. While they were throwing away their late lead, the rest of the league was hard at work fighting for the other playoff spots up for grabs.

Baltimore Orioles 10 (59-53), Tampa Bay Rays 3 (58-53)

The Orioles have been one of the sensational stories of this season, fighting their way back to relevancy after years spent in the cellar of the AL East. Well they’ve put some distance on last place now, and have even climbed into sole possession of third place (and a Wild Card spot) after besting Tampa last night.

It was methodical for Baltimore in this game, scoring in the first inning on an Adley Rutschman solo shot and never looking back. They scored in every inning except the third and fourth, and they delivered the knockout punch in the sixth with a four-run rally off of Corey Kluber. The Rays had been kept off of the scoreboard completely up until that point and did respond with a two-run sixth of their own, but it was too little, too late. Baltimore totaled 19 hits, giving the Rays’ pitching staff no breathing room to inspire a rally.

Cleveland Guardians 8 (60-52), Toronto Blue Jays 0 (60-51)

José Berríos has had a nightmare season after re-signing with Toronto, and it continued Friday against Cleveland. The Guardians tagged him for eight runs in four innings, doing all of their damage in the third and fourth inning. Their first rally began with an Austin Hedges hit-by-pitch, and then three straight singles plated two runs. After a sac fly to drive home a third, Josh Naylor clubbed a two-run bomb to cap off a five-run frame for the visitors. Hedges again set the table in the fourth, working a seven-pitch walk before getting forced out at second on a grounder. Steven Kwan also walked to set up Jose Ramirez, who hit a ludicrous golf-style homer on a ball that was breaking for the dirt.

The Jays, meanwhile, couldn’t solve Cal Quantrill, mustering up only one hit in seven innings. They didn’t fare much better against the Cleveland bullpen, and got blanked in a game that felt over for a long time.

Seattle Mariners 6 (62-52), Texas Rangers 2 (49-63)

The Rangers have been truly dreadful against the Mariners this season, and they faced an uphill battle with a scheduled bullpen game on hand. Josh Sborz was the opener and managed to do his part in getting out of the first inning despite taking a rocket comebacker off his shoulder, but the plan crumbled from there.

Hearn took over in the second and worked a scoreless frame, but put the first two batters on base in the third and allowed a run on a groundout. Then in the fourth, Hearn loaded the bases with two outs on a Carlos Santana double and two walks, and got lifted. Jose Leclerc was called on to get out of the mess, but Julio Rodriguez slapped a single to right that scored two runs instead. The Rangers rallied for a couple of runs in the middle innings, but couldn’t close the deficit. Seattle also added insurance runs in the eighth and ninth innings to seal their 12th win in 14 tries against Texas.

Oakland Athletics 5 (41-72), Houston Astros 7 (73-41)

Despite being a terrible team, Oakland has been a bit of a thorn in the Astros’ side this year, a la the Orioles to the Yankees last year. They’ve taken a decent amount of games off of the top team in the AL, including a sweep just a few weeks ago. The Athletics have a pretty good read on their AL West rivals, and they got off to another good start in this one, grabbing a 2-0 lead after three innings against Luis Garcia.

Unfortunately, they weren’t able to hold on this time. Houston barreled back with a six-run fifth inning, getting seven straight baserunners after making two outs to start things out. The big blow was a Kyle Tucker grand slam, Tucker’s 21st homer of the year. Oakland did stay in the game, rallying for three runs in the seventh after chasing Garcia, but Houston’s bullpen held on and Mauricio Dubon added an insurance run in the eighth to secure the win.

Other Contenders

  • Detroit Tigers 0 (43-71), Chicago White Sox 2 (57-56): The White Sox had several chances to get on the scoreboard earlier, but it took until the seventh inning before the scoreless tie between them and the Tigers was finally broken. Andrew Vaughn broke it open with a two-run, two-out single, pushing Chicago once again over .500.
  • Minnesota Twins 4 (58-53), Los Angeles Angels 0 (49-64): Tyler Mahle had a bounce-back start in his second appearance as a Twin, pitching six shutout innings before turning it over to fellow trade deadline acquisitions Michael Fulmer and Jorge López, alongside rookie stud Jhoan Duran, to complete the shutout.