The Yankees lost a game that they had in their grasp, blowing a late lead to the Cardinals last night. It was a frustrating way to slide into a three-game losing streak and continue a tepid stretch of play as of late. The AL East is still far in the rear view mirror, but the Astros gained another opportunity to get right next to the Yankees for home field advantage. Let’s take a look at what happened around the league yesterday.
Toronto Blue Jays 5 (59-47) vs. Minnesota Twins 6 (56-50)
A back-and-forth affair went the way of Minnesota in Target Field, culminating in an extra-inning walk-off in the 10th inning. After Toronto left the bases loaded in the top half, Minnesota got their ghost runner over to third thanks to a throwing error from catcher Danny Jansen after Jake Cave struck out. Then, Tim Beckham chopped a grounder right to the third baseman setting up a play at the plate, but the throw home wasn’t fielded in time to catch Nick Gordan.
Such a dramatic finish wasn’t the obvious outcome to start the game, when the Twins jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the fourth inning on a three-run Gordon homer. The Blue Jays began chipping away immediately, however, starting with a Matt Chapman solo homer in the next inning and Santiago Espinal and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. bombs in the sixth. The Twins still had a one-run lead to hand to their new closer Jorge Lopez in the ninth, but Lopez allowed three singles to blow the save and send them to extras.
Tampa Bay Rays 5 (57-49) vs. Detroit Tigers 3 (42-66)
Detroit’s early results against Corey Kluber were phenomenal — three singles in the first and a two-run bomb in the second netted them a 3-0 lead. From there Kluber buckled down though, and Tampa began a comeback. Bryan Garcia kept Tampa off the scoreboard for four innings, but his control was erratic leading to him issuing six walks while recording only three strikeouts. Manager A.J. Hinch went to his bullpen early, but the first two relievers he summoned both allowed a run to score and close the gap significantly. The Rays took control in the eighth inning, working two walks before Brandon Lowe doubled them both home and Isaac Paredes singled to score Lowe.
Houston Astros 9 (70-38) vs. Cleveland Guardians 3 (54-52)
Houston blew the doors off of this one early, amassing an 8-1 lead by the end of the fourth inning. Newcomer Trey Mancini got them going in the second with a solo shot, and then capped off a five-run third inning with a grand slam over the Crawford Boxes. Safe to say that he’s making the most of being on a contender for the first time in his career. The fourth inning brought home two more runs on a Jose Altuve double and a Yuli Gurriel grounder, and it was essentially in the books. Cleveland scored a couple garbage runs in the seventh inning, but Houston immediately responded with another run just to emphasize that they were holding onto this one.
For Cleveland, this loss slides them two back of the Twins for the AL Central lead after Minnesota managed to escape the Blue Jays. For Houston, this puts them just a single game in the loss column away from the Yankees for the best record in the American League, as good of a sign as any that the Bombers need to wake up if they want to have the road to the World Series run through the Bronx.
Los Angeles Angels 4 (45-61) vs. Seattle Mariners 3 (57-50)
The Angels are an enigma, and it is truly an experience to watch them on a game-by-game basis. They find incredible ways to lose, and they nearly did so again last night after being in complete control for eight and a half innings.
Los Angeles took a 1-0 lead off of Robbie Ray in the first inning, working a two-out rally with a double and a single. That was the only scoring that would occur until the ninth inning, as Ray quickly rebounded to put up seven sparkling innings and Patrick Sandoval and the Angels bullpen matched him. In the ninth the Angels even managed to extend their lead when Max Stassi launched a two-run homer to make it 3-0. An easy win in the bag, right? Wrong — the Angels blew their entire lead in the bottom frame. It started with a one-out walk to Jesse Winker, and then pinch-hitter Jake Lamb singled. Adam Frazier came up with the Mariners down to their last out and delivered a big double to right, and Ty France singled up the middle to tie it.
The snake-bitten Angels appeared doomed at this point, but they managed to get Eugenio Suarez to fly out to end the inning and force extras. There, old friend Andrew Velazquez laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the ghost runner and Taylor Ward lifted a sacrifice fly to score him. After rallying an inning prior, the Mariners went down in order in the 10th to give the Angels back the win that they tried so desperately to throw away.