However, there’s still plenty in the balance for them, especially in the AL East race. On its own, last night’s win trimmed the Yankees’ magic number to 7.5 games, but there was action elsewhere that had the potential to affect that figure. Let’s check in on that action in today’s edition of the Rivalry Roundup.
Tampa Bay Rays 10 (83-67), Toronto Blue Jays 5 (84-66)
The Yankees got a bit of help on the magic number front, as the Rays pulled away from the Blue Jays to open their series at the Trop. The first couple innings were a back-and-forth battle, with runs coming in both halves of the first two frames. However, Tampa Bay scored three in the bottom of the second. That put them up 6-3, and they never looked back from there.
Neither starter (or in the Rays’ case, their opener and then follower) had great outings. For Toronto, José Berríos was knocked out after two innings, having allowed six runs on seven hits. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay’s normal longman Ryan Yarbrough went just one inning himself due to injury after following J.T. Chargois and allowing two runs. The difference in this game was that the Rays’ bullpen settled down and their offense kept putting up runs.
Five different Rays had multi-hit games, led by Randy Arozarena, who went 3-4 with two doubles, a walk, and two RBI. Wander Franco led Tampa Bay with three RBI on his two hits.
Combined with the Yankees’ win, that Toronto loss took the Yankees’ AL East magic number to six games. The Jays trail New York by 7.5 games, and the Rays are behind by 8.5 as they continue to battle Toronto throughout this weekend.
Baltimore Orioles 2 (78-71), Houston Astros 0 (99-52)
It was a pitchers’ duel in Baltimore as Justin Verlander was outpitched by ... Kyle Bradish?
Coming into this game, Bradish had a 5.05 ERA across 101.2 innings in his rookie year with the Orioles, but he put in quite the impressive outing in this one. He ended up going 8.2 innings, allowing two hits and no walks while striking out 10. The Astros didn’t record their first hit of the game until the sixth inning, and the second didn’t come until there were two outs in the ninth, preventing Bradish from finishing off a complete-game shutout. Félix Bautista got the last out to complete Bradish’s gem and get Baltimore the win.
On the other side, Verlander was solid, allowing two runs on six hits. Both runs came on one hit in the second inning when Rougned Odor plated two runs with an RBI single. Given the lack of Astros offense against Bradish, that was enough to tag him with an L.
Seattle Mariners 9 (82-67), Oakland Athletics 5 (55-95)
After allowing a five-run inning that put them into a 5-3 hole, the Mariners came roaring back to pick up a win over the A’s.
While Seattle struck with three runs in the top of the first, Oakland answered with five runs in the third, knocking out Mariners’ starter George Kirby after just 2.1 innings. However after his exit, the Mariners’ bullpen combined to allow just two hits and a walk the rest of the way, including retiring the last 14 Athletics’ hitters in order.
As that was happening, the Mariners’ offense rallied, led by Adam Frazier (2-for-4 with a double and three RBI) and Jarred Kelenic (2-for-3, with a home run, a double, a walk, and two RBI). They’re stuck in the final playoff spot at the moment, but with the win, they maintained a four-game lead over the Orioles and their magic number sits at nine.
- Cleveland Guardians 4 (83-67), Chicago White Sox 2 (76-74): A two-RBI game from José Ramírez got Cleveland a step closer to the division title as they beat the White Sox. A two-run, 7.2-inning outing from Shane Bieber helped keep the Guardians in front.
For our sake, that will tie a bow on the non-Guardians AL Central coverage. The White Sox trail by seven games and the once-hopeful Twins are even further back (10). Kudos to the Guardians for all but putting this race away in the span of a single week; their magic number is five.