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Yankees Rivalry Roundup: Jays and Mariners inch closer, Twins get walked off

Things didn’t go great for New York on any level last night.

Seattle Mariners v Cleveland Guardians Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Yankees have found themselves in a situation where they need to win a series off the bat in September to pull themselves out of a tailspin. They didn’t get off to the start they wanted though, turning a close deficit into a full-blown beatdown by the hand of the Rays. That means the division lead is down to just five games, and the Wild Card cushion continues to be threatened as well.

Speaking off, let’s see what the rest of the field did. Spoiler alert: They did not help!

Toronto Blue Jays 4 (71-59), Pittsburgh Pirates 0 (49-82)

Sending Pittsburgh up against Alek Manoah was a mismatch to begin with, and the Blue Jays capitalized on it as much as they could. Manoah twirled 7.1 shutout innings while his team got him an early 2-0 lead in the fourth inning when Santiago Espinal doubled home a pair of runners. Bo Bichette added some insurance in the ninth with a two-run homer, but it was not necessary — the Jays had this one all the way.

Toronto still trails Tampa Bay for second in the AL East, though they’re seven games behind New York — the same spot that the Rays were in just a few days ago.

Houston Astros 4 (85-47), Los Angeles Angels 2 (57-75)

Lance McCullers Jr. made his fourth start of the year, and so far, he’s jumped into the playoff race in midseason form. McCullers went 5.2 innings in this one, and was cruising until he exited in the sixth after allowed a run-scoring double and a sacrifice fly.

The Astros did the same thing in the third inning, but the difference was in the fifth inning, when Reid Detmers walked two and allowed a single to load the bases. He was replaced by Jose Marte, who promptly walked in two runs, the second coming on just four pitches. A quartet of Astros relievers were tasked with holding the lead, and they did just that.

Seattle Mariners 6 (74-58), Cleveland Guardians 1 (68-62)

This game was the Cal Raleigh and Mitch Haniger show all the way. Haniger started the scoring in the first inning with a double to bring home Julio Rodríguez, and in the second, Raleigh hit a solo shot before Haniger doubled home another run. In the sixth, Raleigh put it away with a three-run jack to put Seattle up 6-0, and all the while Luis Castillo was cruising. The Guardians did get a run to prevent the shutout in the seventh once L. Castillo left the game (replaced by Diego Castillo), but they couldn’t string together anything else.

Like the Rays, the Mariners have made up a ton of ground on the Yankees, and they sit five back of New York as well if that comes into play.

Other Contenders

  • Baltimore Orioles 5 (70-61), Oakland Athletics 2 (49-84): The Orioles won this game on a massive eighth inning rally tied at two, opening with a walk and single before bunting both runners into scoring position. The A’s chose to intentionally walk Cedric Mullins to set up the force play, but ended up walking home a run and then Jorge Mateo opened the floodgates with a two-run single. That helped the O’s keep pace in the Wild Card race at 1.5 games behind Toronto.
  • Chicago White Sox 4 (66-66), Minnesota Twins 3 (67-63): Just when we write off the White Sox, they crawl right back into this mediocre AL Central race. Let’s jump right into the drama in the bottom of the ninth: Andrew Vaughn was hit by a pitch to load the bases, the benches cleared after this (with both managers getting up in each other’s faces), and then Jose Abreu was seemingly hit by a pitch and the White Sox started celebrating — only for the play to be challenged and overruled. Abreu then hit a grounder instead that went off the glove of the pitcher and couldn’t be turned into a double play, re-securing the walk-off for Chicago.

Cleveland, Minnesota, and Chicago are now separated by only three total games at the top of the AL Central, with the Guardians leading the Twins by one.