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Yankees Rivalry Roundup: Astros down O’s, but lose Justin Verlander to injury

It was an exciting day of action across the league, but the biggest news might have been an injury in Houston.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Houston Astros Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

The good vibes of a five-game win streak have quickly evaporated, with the Yankees looking listless in Oakland. If you’re looking for a distraction from Yankee baseball, well, other teams are playing baseball. The playoff picture in the American League continues to get clearer by the day, so here’s your rundown of what happened on Sunday.

Los Angeles Angels 8 (54-74), Toronto Blue Jays 3 (68-58)

Occasionally, the Angels will show a glimpse of how good a team could be if it received competent production around the pillars of Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout. This weekend was a rare such glimpse, as the Angels went into Toronto and swept away a talented Blue Jays team.

Ohtani and Trout were at the center of the action, of course, with both notching multi-hit, multi-RBI games on yesterday. Trout hit his 28th homer of the year:

While Ohtani stroked his 29th:

For once, the lesser Angels chipped in enough to make the superstars’ contributions stand up. Luis Rengifo and Mike Ford each had two hits, while a cavalcade of pitchers did fine work in repressing a scary Toronto lineup.

The Angels’ supporting cast is and has been far too weak to churn out enough games like these to actually win anything notable. For one weekend, though, they had Toronto’s number, weakening the Blue Jays’ grip on the third AL Wild Card slot.

Tampa Bay Rays 12 (70-57), Boston Red Sox 4 (62-66)

Tampa salvaged the final game of the series in Fenway, launching a torrid offensive assault to avoid a sweep. Isaac Paredes led the way with two homers and five times on base in a 12-4 win.

Paredes stroked two solo dingers within the first four innings, the second of which put the Rays up 4-1. J.D. Martinez struck back with a solo homer of his own to make it 4-2, but Tampa put the hurt on the Boston staff in the middle innings. They hung a four-spot in the sixth inning, then tacked on three more in the eighth. Randy Arozarena finished 3-for-5 with two RBI, while David Peralta chipped in two more RBI in going 3-for-4.

Corey Kluber chipped in six solid innings, holding the Red Sox to three runs to earn his ninth win. The Rays maintained their hold on second in the AL East, while the Red Sox continued to drift further and further back in the rearview mirror.

Baltimore Orioles 1 (67-60), Houston Astros 3 (82-47)

Baltimore helped out the Yankees mightily, winning two games in a row in Houston, but the Orioles couldn’t quite finish off the sweep. The Astros salvaged a win, though more concerning for Houston was Justin Verlander exiting the game after just three innings.

Verlander threw 60 pitches before getting pulled with right calf discomfort. Manager Dusty Baker expressed some relief that Verlander’s arm wasn’t injured, but stressed that the team will know more once the right-hander undergoes an MRI today.

Despite Verlander’s early departure, the game was still a low-scoring affair, with the Houston bullpen stepping up to shut down the Orioles in his stead. Baltimore Austin Voth starter was up to the challenge, keeping Houston scoreless into the seventh, but faltered there. Yuli Gurriel singled home two to break the stalemate, and Kyle Tucker added a solo homer for insurance in the eighth. Rafael Montero, filling in for injured closer Ryan Pressly, allowed a run in the ninth, but still managed to close out his ninth save of the year.

Cleveland Guardians 0 (67-59), Seattle Mariners 4 (70-58)

The start of Robbie Ray’s tenure was a rough one, with the 2021 AL Cy Young winner following up his breakout with a 4.97 ERA through his first dozen starts in Seattle. Since then, though, the lefty has been money, and he shoved with seven more shutout innings on Sunday to help the Mariners keep pace in the playoff race.

Ray was in complete control of the Cleveland lineup, allowing just three hits and zero walks while striking out seven. Seattle’s offense didn’t do much themselves, managing just four hits against Aaron Civale and the Guardians’ bullpen, but Dylan Moore delivered the only damage they needed with a three-run homer in the fifth:

The win kept the Mariners in possession of the second Wild Card in the AL, as they inch closer to breaking their historic playoff drought.

Other contenders

  • Arizona Diamondbacks 3 (59-67), Chicago White Sox 2 (63-65): Chicago, desperate for wins at this point, blew a major chance, wasting an eight-inning gem from Cy Young contender Dylan Cease. The right-hander struck out eight and allowed just two runs, but his offense failed him, and Jake McCarthy doubled home the winning home in the ninth for Arizona.
  • San Francisco Giants 3 (61-65), Minnesota Twins 8 (65-61): The Twins stay in the fight in the AL Central, knocking Giants starter Jake Junis for six runs across 4.1 innings. Former Yankee farmhand Jake Cave led Minnesota with a homer and four RBI.