There were actual good vibes in the Bronx this weekend, with the Yankees looking as strong as they have in weeks. The actual quality play, coupled with the prospect of possible returns from injury in the coming days, offers the possibility of a decent run from the Bombers. In any event, it was a fun day of action across the AL, as the playoff picture continued to become clearer and clearer. Here’s what went down.
Texas Rangers 4 (60-79), Toronto Blue Jays 1 (78-61)
Toronto couldn’t quite close out the sweep in Texas, dropping the series finale in somewhat listless fashion. The Jays could manage only an RBI double from Teoscar Hernández against the Rangers staff as Martín Pérez continued his resurgent season, tossing six innings of one-run ball to secure his 11th win of 2022.
Nathaniel Lowe stayed hot, going 3-for-4 and driving in a run, while Adolis García paced the offense with a two-run homer off Yusei Kikuchi in the third:
The Texas bullpen had no problem holding the win for Perez, with Matt Moore notably continuing his shockingly great year in relief, pitching a scoreless eighth and lowering his ERA to 2.15. Toronto remains in strong position in the AL Wild Card race, 5.5 games ahead of Baltimore for the final spot (though they’re six back of the Yankees in the AL East, and half a game behind the Rays).
Houston Astros 12 (90-50), Los Angeles Angels 4 (61-79)
This was the final game of a nice little AL West jaunt for Houston, one in which they played four consecutive series against the Angels and Rangers. They went 10-2 in that stretch, securing their 90th win of the season on Sunday and keeping right on track for the AL’s top seed.
The Angels actually jumped all over Luis Garcia, taking an early 3-0 lead, thanks in part to Shohei Ohtani’s 34th homer of the year. But it was all Astros from there. with Houston scoring at least three runs in three separate frames. Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Trey Mancini, Kyle Tucker and Mauricio Dubón all went deep. Tucker Davidson and and Mike Mayers were the main recipients of the pain, with Davidson yielding four runs in two innings, and Mayers letting up five across 3.1 innings.
Seattle Mariners 8 (79-61), Atlanta Braves 7 (87-53)
This was one of the wilder games of the year, one that saw a comeback, a collapse, and redemption in rapid succession. At the end of it, Atlanta had dropped ground in the race for the NL East, and the Mariners continued to consolidate their grip on a playoff spot.
For some time, though, it seemed like this would be a pretty straightforward Seattle win. Marco Gonzales fired six innings of one-run ball, allowing just two hits and striking out five. Julio Rodríguez and Eugenio Suárez each homered in support of Gonzales, and J.P. Crawford’s RBI double in the sixth put the M’s up comfortably 6-1.
Then the Michael Harris II show began. The rookie smacked a solo shot in the eighth to chip in to the deficit, and then smashed a three-run bomb in the ninth to narrow Seattle’s lead to 6-5:
Robbie Grossman followed with a two-run dinger of his own, and all of a sudden, Atlanta had pulled into the lead.
The Braves turned to Kenley Jensen to close out an unlikely win. The veteran’s struggles continued, as Rodríguez and Suárez each hit their second homers of the game. Rodríguez’s homer tied the game:
And Suárez ended the game:
In an instance, defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory, and back again. With the win, Seattle moved to a solid six games clear in the Wild Card race.
- Boston Red Sox 1 (69-72), Baltimore Orioles 0 (73-68): Some whiplash from Saturday’s 17-4 game to this one, with the Red Sox narrowly pulling this one out and putting another dent in the Orioles’ playoff chances. Boston went ahead on a sac fly in the first inning, and proceeded to post zeroes from there. Rich Hill tossed five shutout for the win, handing Kyle Bradish a tough-luck loss for his one-run, two-hit, seven-inning outing.
- Cleveland Guardians 6 (73-65), Minnesota Twins 4 (69-70): Cleveland picked up another big win, their third in a row as they pulled 2.5 games ahead of Chicago in the AL Central. Shane Bieber fired 6.1 innings of one-run ball, while Andres Gimenez and Steven Kwan each homered to do enough to get Bieber the win. The Twins are going to have an awfully tough time coming back from this, as they’re now 4.5 back (not to mention under .500).
- Oakland Athletics 10 (51-90), Chicago White Sox 3 (72-69): Chicago missed a chance at a crucial four-game sweep of Oakland, having to settle for three out of four after Oakland broke out on Sunday. Vimael Machin and Tony Kemp each drove in three runs, while Johnny Cueto had one of his worst starts with the White Sox, allowing seven runs across 4.2 innings.