The Yankees got a massive reprieve from their August swoon, winning a dramatic extra-inning game against the Rays to salvage the opening series of their homestand. At first it looked like they would slowly watch as they lost another game, then they fought back, then they blew it big time, and then Josh Donaldson saved the day with a walk-off grand slam. Life’s funny like that.
The lead in the AL East got bumped back up to 10 games with those heroics, and it also saved them from watching the rest of the league catch up any further. The playoff hopefuls all were in action last night, and they all did their part to bolster their odds:
Baltimore Orioles 1 (61-56), Toronto Blue Jays 6 (62-54)
The first six innings of this game showcased a brilliant pitchers’ duel between Baltimore’s Austin Voth and Toronto’s Ross Stripling. Neither allowed a run and the two combined to allow just three hits, with Voth responsible for two of them (and a single walk). It looked like the reeling Blue Jays were going to struggle to avoid their fourth straight loss, but then the bottom of the seventh rolled around.
The Orioles went to their ‘pen to start the frame, summoning Joey Krehbiel to replace Voth, who had thrown only 86 pitches. Krehbiel got a groundout to start things off, but immediately followed that with back-to-back singles and was pulled in favor of Cionel Perez. George Springer didn’t start in this game, but he pinch-hit here and slapped a single to put Toronto on the board. Santiago Espinal then ripped a double to drive home another two, and the Jays were in business — but it wasn’t over there. Two walks and a hit-by-pitch forced another run in, and then Alejandro Kirk lined a double to score the final two runs in a six-run inning. The Orioles got one back in the eighth but couldn’t come close to matching that outburst, dropping the chance to sweep the Blue Jays.
Seattle Mariners 11 (65-54), Los Angeles Angels 7 (51-67)
Mike Trout may by the one that’s out with a back injury, but Shohei Ohtani’s back must be hurting as well after carrying the Angels just to give them a chance at winning this game. Ohtani was electric, going 4-for-5 with four RBI and two runs scored including a two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth ... where the Angels were still down four runs after his bomb to center field.
Unfortunately for Ohtani, the Angels were in the hole almost from the jump in this one. Seattle scored four runs in the third inning, thanks in large part to the three walks and two hit-by-pitches that were handed out by Touki Toussaint and Mike Mayers. The Angels got one back in the bottom half thanks to singles from Andrew Velazquez and David Fletcher, but the Mariners added three more runs in the fifth to take a commanding 7-1 lead. Seattle added a pair in the sixth and the ninth each to further pad their lead out of Ohtani-range, leading to another showcase of Los Angeles’ superstar shining amid a field of dudes who happen to wear the same uniform as him.
Houston Astros 3 (76-43), Chicago White Sox 2 (61-57)
Both bullpens were on lockdown in this game, but the difference came down to the first inning when the Astros were able to jump on Michael Kopech and strike first. Kopech walked Jose Altuve to lead off the game, and Altuve made himself a menace on the basepaths by stealing second and third. Yordan Alvarez just needed to lift a fly ball into the outfield and he did just that, allowing Altuve to score on a sacrifice fly for the early 1-0 lead.
From there, the two teams traded runs in the fourth inning. After getting men on second and third with one out, Trey Mancini lifted another sacrifice fly to make it 2-0 Astros, and Chas McCormick doubled home another run to make it 3-0. Chicago responded with a single and a walk to start off the bottom half, and Yoan Moncada smashed a double to score both runners. The White Sox couldn’t capitalize from there though, eventually hitting into a double play that killed the momentum of the frame and left them a run down for the rest of the game.
- Detroit Tigers 4 (45-75), Cleveland Guardians 8 (63-55): It looked like Detroit would snag this one for a while, as they led 4-2 entering the bottom of the eighth. That’s when Cleveland kicked off a six-run rally, surviving after striking out in order when Luke Maile made it to first on a dropped third strike. From there six straight batters found base hits, demolishing Detroit’s lead in demoralizing fashion.
- Kansas City Royals 0 (48-71), Minnesota Twins 4 (61-55): What could have been a scary situation for Minnesota ended up being an easy victory. Tyler Mahle exited this game after just 2.1 innings after observing that the ball wasn’t coming out right when he threw. Mahle wasn’t experiencing pain, but was generally sore and underwent an MRI afterwards to be safe — meanwhile, the Twins coasted after a Jose Miranda two-run bomb in the first and insurance runs were added in the second and fourth.