Ugh, I guess I could be forced to wait one more day for Judge to hit number 61. I suppose we’ll just have to settle for the pair of doubles to maintain his Triple Crown bid. In all seriousness, it’s been a privilege watching him play all season, and each day that he doesn’t surpass the record makes me that much more excited to get up and see if he can do it the next day. The Yankees clobbered the Pirates, 14-2, which became all the more crucial as several of their AL rivals fell on Wednesday
Houston Astros 5 (99-51), Tampa Bay Rays 2 (82-67)
The Astros did the Yankees a huge solid, handing the Rays a 5-2 loss to complete the three-game sweep. Lance McCullers went seven strong innings, allowing two runs on six hits against eight strikeouts, but was actually out-duelled by Corey Kluber, who also went seven giving up just one run on six hits. Houston jumped out to a 1-0 first inning lead, and the score would remain that way until the Rays tied it in the sixth on a Randy Arozarena RBI double and grabbed a lead of their own thanks to a seventh inning leadoff home run from Isaac Paredes.
Houston responded scoring three in the eighth, the big blast a Kyle Tucker two-run bomb to make it 4-2 Astros. Martín Maldonado added an insurance run with a solo shot in the ninth as the Astros completed the sweep at the Trop. After this series, the Rays find themselves third in the division, 8.5 back of the Yankees and two back of the Blue Jays.
Philadelphia Phillies 4 (81-67), Toronto Blue Jays 3 (84-65)
The day could not have gone better for the Yankees from a divisional standpoint, as the Blue Jays also found themselves on the losing side. It was a true pitchers’ duel for most of the contest, with Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard trading zeroes with Kevin Gausman for six innings. The Blue Jays struck first in the eighth, with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. demolishing a three-run shot for his 30th home run of the year. The Phillies answered right back in the bottom of the frame, J.T. Realmuto leading off with a home run before his teammates rattled off four straight singles to level the scores at three apiece.
That’s where the game would remain, forcing an action-packed 10th frame. Philly reliever Andrew Bellatti walked the bases loaded with one out, but got Teoscar Hernández to ground into the inning-ending double play. This gave the Phillies a chance to walk it off in the bottom of the tenth in rather unorthodox fashion. Bryson Stott bunted the ghost runner over to third, and like his opposite number in the top of the inning, Adam Cimber walked the bases loaded before ultimately surrendering the walk off single to Matt Vierling to cap off his five-hit night. The loss drops Toronto to 6.5 back of the Yankees, though they maintain their two game lead over the Rays for the top wild card spot.
Oakland Athletics 2 (55-94), Seattle Mariners 1 (81-67)
The Mariners had no answer for James Kaprielian in this one, and drop a crucial game as they try to keep their hold on the final wild card spot. The former Yankee sent to Oakland in the Sonny Gray trade held Seattle scoreless through six, giving up just two hits and a walk against six strikeouts. Robbie Ray essentially matched him stride for stride, pitching six scoreless with three hits, three walks, and seven strikeouts.
The A’s broke the deadlock in the seventh, scoring a pair on a Vimael Machin double and Tony Kemp single. Luis Torrens clawed a run back for Seattle in the eighth on a solo home run, but that was all the offense the Mariners could muster as they fell to the A’s, 2-1. The loss means they remain a half-game behind the Rays in the Wild Card chase, but still comfortably in possession of that final Wild Card berth with four game separating them and Baltimore.
- Baltimore Orioles 8 (77-71), Detroit Tigers 1 (57-92): Jordan Lyles pitched a complete game for the Orioles, allowing one run on three hits against six strikeouts. Baltimore rookie Kyle Stowers went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI while fellow rookies Adley Rutschman batted in a pair and Gunnar Henderson contributed a multi-hit night. With the win and Mariners loss, the Orioles reduce the gap to Seattle to four games for the final Wild Card spot.
- Cleveland Guardians 8 (82-67), Chicago White Sox 2 (76-73): The Guardians are playing their best baseball at exactly the right time, and continue to separate themselves from the rest of the AL Central. Triston McKenzie twirled an absolute gem, allowing two runs on six hits in eight innings while striking out a whopping 13 Sox. Steven Kwan went 3-for-5 with a solo shot and Josh Naylor and Andrés Giménez each drove in a pair. This was Cleveland’s 14th win in their last 17 games, giving them a decisive six-game lead over the White Sox in the division.