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Yankees Rivalry Roundup: Astros escape Atlanta with a win, Rays down Royals

The Yankees finally won a game, meaning we could scoreboard watch across the AL sans a sense of dread.

MLB: Houston Astros at Atlanta Braves Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Days like these have been few and far between, ones where we can scan through the results across the American League with hope that the Yankees will have put some distance between them and their rivals, or perhaps even have gained ground on the Astros in the race for the league’s top record. The Yankees finally took a game from the Blue Jays, one that they almost needed to have with matchups against Max Scherzer and potentially Jacob deGrom looming.

How did that victory impact the standings? Let’s take a look.

Tampa Bay Rays 3 (65-55), Kansas City Royals 2 (49-74)

The Rays can’t afford to give away opportunities to pick up wins against the AL’s dregs, and they just barely managed a crucial series win yesterday. They held on for a 3-2 win over KC to take three of four from the Royals and stay right in the fight in the Wild Card race.

First baseman Harold Ramirez made the difference, going 3-for-4 and driving in two, including what proved to be the winning run with a fifth-inning RBI single. Tampa mostly used a bullpen strategy, asking Ryan Yarbrough to cover the first four frames, before turning to their quality relief corps to make the lead stand up. Shawn Armstrong, Colin Poche, Brooks Raley, and Pete Fairbanks combined for 4.2 innings of one-hit ball. Fairbanks recorded his fourth save, pulling the Rays into a tie with the Blue Jays in the AL standings.

Oakland Athletics 5 (45-77), Seattle Mariners 3 (66-56)

Luis Castillo has been stellar since coming over to Seattle, helping deliver a win in each of his first three starts with his new team and running a 2.18 ERA in the process. However, he finally faltered against Oakland, turning in his first poor start with Seattle as the Mariners dropped the game and the series to the A’s.

Oakland hit Castillo hard early, with back-to-back doubles from Seth Brown and Sean Murphy producing a run in the first. Castillo could’ve been in more trouble, but managed to pick off Murphy at second to limit the damage. Yet the A’s continued in the second, with Cal Stevenson and Nick Allen driving in runs to make the lead 3-0. All told, Castillo would last five innings having surrendered four runs, with eight hits and a walk versus five strikeouts.

Seattle made a game of it late, with Cal Raleigh and Julio Rodriguez driving in runs in the seventh to make it 4-3, but the rally fizzled there. Old friend JP Sears was the winning pitcher, having contributed five innings of one-run ball.

Atlanta Braves 4 (75-48), Houston Astros 5 (78-45)

The Braves were gunning for a sweep here, and the series finale produced the same score line as Saturday’s contest. To the Yankees’ chagrin, the result was reversed, with the Astros holding on for a tight victory to salvage one in Atlanta.

The hero was Jose Urquidy, who put together seven strong innings to ensure Houston didn’t end up in a skid. Urquidy held Atlanta to two runs on five hits and two walks, with the entirety of the damage coming on Matt Olson’s two-run dinger in the first.

Yordan Alvarez, thankfully back on the field after Friday’s health scare, tied the game in the third with a two-run single off Charlie Morton, who managed 11 strikeouts on the day. The score remained knotted at two until the eighth, when Kyle Tucker singled home a run. Houston headed to the bottom of the ninth with a 5-2 lead, and Atlanta managed to pull to within one, but Ryan Pressly escaped with the lead intact for his 25th save.

Other Contenders

  • Boston Red Sox 3 (60-62), Baltimore Orioles 5 (63-58): The Orioles took the series finale and two of three from Red Sox, keeping pace in the Wild Card chase. Anthony Santander led the way with three hits, and Dean Kremer chipped in 5.1 innings of one-run ball.
  • Texas Rangers 7 (55-66), Minnesota Twins 0 (62-57) : The Twins dropped their second in a row to Texas, falling 1.5 games behind Cleveland in the AL Central. Kohei Arihara pitched six shutout to lead the Rangers, and Marcus Semien drove in three and smashed his 19th homer of the year.
  • Chicago White Sox vs. Cleveland Guardians: Postponed