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Yankees Rivalry Roundup: Doubleheader sweep holds chasers at bay

White Sox out-mash Mariners; Rays shutout Red Sox; Blue Jays cruise past Orioles; Astros walk off Rangers in extras

Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

What a huge day for the Yankees! They swept the doubleheader against the Twins in dramatic fashion, first with a wild 5-4 extra-innings walk-off followed by a dominant 7-1 victory that featured 14 strikeouts from Gerrit Cole and Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s first career grand slam. The pair of victories couldn’t be better timed as many of their AL rivals also won, so let’s recap those games.

Chicago White Sox 9 (69-68) vs. Seattle Mariners 6 (77-60)

What looked like a pitchers’ duel in the early frames transformed into a slugfest by the end. Luis Castillo struck out the first six batters faced while Michael Kopech matched him zero for zero in the first couple innings. It wouldn’t stay that way for long, with Seattle opening the scoring with a four-run third. Julio Rodríguez was the first to get on the board with an RBI double before coming in to score on a sac fly. Eugenio Suárez capped off the scoring in the frame with two-run bomb to give the Mariners a seemingly comfortable lead.

That lead quickly evaporated when the White Sox clawed back two runs in the fourth on an Eloy Jiménez home run. They’d grab the lead scoring four in an error-aided sixth. Jiménez went 3-for-4 with the home run and a double and three driven in while José Abreu and Gavin Sheets each contributed two batted in. On the other side, Suárez had two long balls in the game, the second a solo shot in the seventh to tie the game. However, Chicago managed to tack on three more in the final two frames to grab a 9-6 victory and tie with the Twins two games back of the division-leading Guardians.

Boston Red Sox 0 (67-71) vs. Tampa Bay Rays 1 (77-58)

It’s hard to imagine a more miserable baseball game than a 1-0 loss at the Trop. Such was the fate that befell the Red Sox, as Jeffrey Springs and the obligatory procession of Rays relievers held them scoreless on six hits. The Rays hardly faired any better, as Nick Pivetta held them to one run on two hits in five innings after which the Boston bullpen backed their starter up with three scoreless frames. That lone run came in the fifth when Francisco Mejía led off with a double before being driven home on a Taylor Walls single. With the victory, the Rays maintain their lead over the Mariners for the first Wild Card spot.

Toronto Blue Jays 4 (76-60) vs. Baltimore Orioles 1 (72-65)

Alek Manoah was back to his dominant self, going eight innings allowing a run on three hits against five strikeouts. Baltimore actually opened the scoring in the bottom of the first on a Ryan Mountcastle RBI double, but it would be all Blue Jays from that point forward.

Toronto tied it in the top half of the next frame before a three-run fifth well and truly tilted this game in their favor. Alejandro Kirk, Raimel Tapia, and Santiago Espinal all had multi-hit nights in the Blue Jays’ eventual 4-1 win. The victory capped off a critical 3-1 series win over the Orioles as the two teams battle it out for the final wild card spot. Toronto currently sits 4.5 games ahead of their avian foes for that last playoff berth.

Texas Rangers 3 (59-77) vs. Houston Astros 4 (88-49)

The Rangers gave their Texas rivals a fair fight, but the Astros managed to eke out an extra-innings walk-off victory. Texas jumped out to an early 3-0 lead thanks to a first inning solo shot from Nathaniel Lowe and RBI from Marcus Semien and Kole Calhoun in the third.

Houston responded in the fourth on a Yuli Gurriel RBI single before Kyle Tucker tied the game in the sixth with a two-run blast. The score would remain knotted at three apiece until the Astros walked it off in the tenth on a wild pitch by Jonathan Hernández.

Other Contenders

Cleveland Guardians 1 (70-65) vs. Kansas City Royals 2 (56-82): Both teams pitched marvelously in this game, with Zack Greinke giving the Royals six innings on one-run ball while the Guardians shut out the Kansas City hitters for eight innings. The Guardians struck first in the fourth at which point you figured one of the best bullpens in baseball would hold down the lead. They managed to do so until the unlikeliest of culprits — closer Emmanuel Clase — blew the save thanks to a pair of leadoff walks, a single, and a Salvador Perez walk-off sac fly. With the loss, the Guardians’ lead in the division drops to two games over the Twins and White Sox.