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Yankees Rivalry Roundup: Don’t sleep on those O’s

Orioles outlast Blue Jays; White Sox hold off Houston; Mariners maul Angels.

Baltimore Orioles v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images

Well, the Yankees finally scored a run! It may have taken three games but the Bombers finally broke their duck. Surely this signals the start of a breakout, right? ...Right? Anyway, a bunch of their AL rivals also played yesterday afternoon, so let’s recap the results in those games.

Baltimore Orioles 4 (61-55) vs. Toronto Blue Jays 2 (61-54)

Toronto ace Alek Manoah was uncharacteristically permissive in the run department, ceding four runs on four hits in 5.2 innings including back-to-back solo shots by Cedric Mullins and Adley Rutschman in the fifth. The Blue Jays actually jumped out to a 2-0 first inning lead thanks to a two-run missile from Vladimir Guerrero Jr. that never got more than 43 feet off the ground, yet seemed to still be rising when it cleared the fence.

The Orioles responded with four unanswered runs — the aforementioned pair in the fifth and two more in the sixth on RBI singles by Ramón Urías and Ryan McKenna. On the pitching side, Dean Kremer gave them seven strong innings not allowing another run after the first.

If you had told me that the Orioles would be half a game back of the AL East preseason-favorite Blue Jays on August 16th, I’d have tried to have you committed. But here we are, with Baltimore just a game behind Toronto in the loss column for third place in the division thanks to the latter’s ninth loss in the last 12 contests.

Houston Astros 3 (75-43) vs. Chicago White Sox 4 (61-56)

This one was a battle of the leading candidates for the AL Cy Young Award, and in fairness it didn’t quite live up to the hype. Dylan Cease’s streak of 14 straight starts giving up one or fewer earned runs came to an end as he surrendered three on six hits in five innings. On the other side, Justin Verlander completed seven innings, giving up three runs on eight hits.

The White Sox struck first on a Josh Harrison RBI single in the second. The Astros answered with back-to-back RBI doubles from Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker in the third and scored their final run on a Jose Altuve solo shot in the fifth. Pinch-hitter Gavin Sheets tied the game with a two-run double in the seventh before Yoán Moncada provided the decisive hit with an RBI single in the eighth.

With the win, the White Sox move level with the Twins a game back of the Guardians for the AL Central lead.

Seattle Mariners 8 (64-54) vs. Los Angeles Angels 2 (51-66)

Reigning AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray pitched one of his best games with his new team, giving the Mariners six innings of two-run ball on six hits against ten strikeouts. It was Ray’s seventh game with double-digit strikeouts, moving him to second behind Shohei Ohtani in the AL.

Luis Rengifo powered the Angels to a 2-0 lead, first with a solo shot in the first followed by an RBI single in the third. Their starter would hold the Mariners scoreless until the sixth, when they tallied three runs on four straight singles and a sac fly. Seattle would put it truly out of reach with a five-run ninth highlighted by a two-run triple from Adam Frazier and two-run home run from Julio Rodríguez.

With the victory, the Mariners maintain a half-game lead for the first wild card spot in the AL.

Other Contenders

  • Detroit Tigers 4 (45-74) vs. Cleveland Guardians 3 (62-55): Detroit tagged Cleveland starter Zach Plesac for three runs in the first. Harold Castro and Kerry Carpenter each had multi-hit, two-RBI nights for the Tigers while José Ramirez added two of his own to draw within one of Pete Alonso for second in baseball. With the loss, the Guardians’ lead in the AL Central shrinks to one over Minnesota and Chicago.
  • Kansas City Royals 0 (48-70) vs. Minnesota Twins 9 (60-55): The Twins bats jumped all over the Kansas City pitchers, with Zack Greinke, Wyatt Mills, and Luke Weaver surrendering three apiece. More than half the Minnesota lineup had multi-hit nights while old friend Sonny Gray twirled an absolute gem — six scoreless innings giving up three hits and a walk against ten strikeouts. The Twins climb to within a game of the AL Central-leading Guardians.