The Yankees got a decent jolt in their system when the Twins arrived in town. Only a power such as the one the Yankees have over the Twins could conjure a scenario where Marwin Gonzalez and Isiah Kiner-Falefa homer in the same game. Oh, Aaron Judge did as well, but that’s nothing new. Anyway, the Yankees won the first game of their homestand, setting them up to gain ground if any of their rivals stumbled. Let’s check in on how they did:
Tampa Bay Rays 4 (75-58), Boston Red Sox 3 (67-69)
The Red Sox are the only AL East team out of the race at this point, and their best hope for the rest of the season is to play spoiler down the stretch. They had a chance here against Tampa Bay, which would have been very beneficial to the Yankees after the series they just dropped to the Rays. Boston held a 3-1 lead after the third inning, but Tampa cut the deficit to one in the fifth inning. Michael Wacha left the game after the sixth, turning the ball over to Jeurys Familia who promptly blew it by allowing RBI doubles to Manuel Margot and David Peralta. Colin Poche and Peter Fairbanks held the Sox in check for the final two frames to seal the deal.
Toronto Blue Jays 7 (74-59), Baltimore Orioles 3 (71-63)
Toronto and Baltimore got together for a doubleheader in Camden that had major implications for the Wild Card race. If either team got the better of the other it would be a sizeable shift in the standings, and Toronto won out here. Kevin Gausman pitched 6.2 innings of two-run ball, with his only mistake coming against Anthony Santander in the first inning. The Blue Jays scored three over the next four innings to bail him out of that early hole, added another in the eighth, and put the game away with three runs in the ninth.
Toronto Blue Jays 8 (75-59), Baltimore Orioles 4 (71-64)
That led us into the second game of the doubleheader, where the O’s again took an early 1-0 lead, this time up against José Berríos. However, the main character of this outing was Bo Bichette, who launched not one, not two, but three long balls in this game. Bichette’s first came in the third inning and was a three-run shot, and he paired it with solo blasts in the sixth and seventh innings. Bichette got an at-bat in the ninth inning looking to join the elusive four-homer club, but he lined out instead.
The doubleheader sweep at home was a tough blow for Baltimore fans, who saw their team fall 4.5 games behind Toronto in the Wild Card race.
Houston Astros 1 (87-48), Texas Rangers 0 (58-76)
The Rangers held onto Martín Pérez over the trade deadline, keeping him around to pitch amazingly in games like these ... and still lose. Pérez was masterful against an elite Houston lineup, tossing seven innings and allowing just one run, way back in the second inning when Martin Maldonado hit a two-out single to score Trey Mancini. The Rangers, meanwhile, were three-hit by Hunter Brown and the Astros ‘pen, completely failing to provide a pulse when their ace was shoving.
Chicago White Sox 3 (68-67), Seattle Mariners 2 (76-59)
Lance Lynn was on top of his game for the White Sox, striking out 11 over seven innings and allowing just an unearned run in the second. Chicago had gotten on the board first a half inning prior on an AJ Pollock solo shot, and they rebounded immediately with two runs in the third thanks to an Elvis Andrus blast. Seattle was held in check until the ninth inning when they started a rally off of Liam Hendriks, but they couldn’t get the tying run across.
- Cleveland Guardians 6 (69-64), Kansas City Royals 5 (55-81): Cleveland won this one in extras on a two-run double from Oscar Gonzalez, breaking through after three Royals relievers had stifled their offense temporarily. The Guardians have the Yankees to thank for giving them the lead in the AL Central lead again, in a race that will surely eek its way to the end of the year. (They’re one up on Cleveland and two ahead of Chicago.)