The Yankees lost a frustrating game last night, another close contest in a 3-2 loss to the Guardians. The loss is just one game, but with Tampa continuing to surge to open the season, it’s important to maintain as much ground as you can get, even if it’s just April.
Houston Astros (5-6) 8, Pittsburgh Pirates (6-4) 2
You just can’t keep those Astros down. It hasn’t been the start to the season that the gang down in Texas wanted, but they started to claw their way back with a big win at PNC Park. Framber Valdez had a 1-0 lead before he even stepped onto the field, as Kyle Tucker notched an RBI single in the top of the first inning.
It was 4-1 by the end of the second, as both Mauricio Dubón and Yordan Alvarez had RBI singles, Darth Vader’s of the two-run variety, before Ji-Man Choi got the Bucs one back in the home half:
The Astros continued to pile on though, scoring all eight runs without leaving the yard. Tucker had another run scoring single, as did Martín Maldonado, while Valdez shook off home run and delivered his third straight strong start to open the campaign, with his ERA to date sitting at a shiny 1.80.
Tampa Bay Rays (10-0) 1, Boston Red Sox (5-5) 0
One of those games where you root for the meteor, the Red Sox had their chance to knock the Rays down to 9-1. Instead, the team struck out ten times while logging just three hits, a paltry performance against MLB’s best club. Five Rays pitchers combined to shut out the Sox, although Colin Poche would be the one to eventually get credit for the win.
To their credit, the Sox staff adequately handled the Rays lineup, as they themselves only logged five hits. Brandon Lowe ended up with the big hit of the night, a solo shot in the eighth that put the Rays ahead for good.
Chicago Cubs (5-4) 3, Seattle Mariners (4-7) 2 (10 innings)
On the South Side, Drew Smyly got things off to an unexpected start, striking out Julio Rodríguez and Ty France to kick off the ballgame. That would be a portend of things to come, as this game needed ten innings to reach a conclusion. Smyly ended up retiring ten straight to start the game, and while Luis Castillo didn’t quite match him, both starters were on one early.
The M’s ended up breaking through first, with AJ Pollock bringing Ty France in on a sac fly in the fourth, and the Cubs responded with two of their own in the same inning. The Cubs bullpen looked like they might hold the line, before Jarred Kelenic came to the plate in the ninth:
The Mariners actually loaded the bases in the extra frame, but Keegan Thompson worked out of trouble to set up Nico Hoerner’s heroics.
The Orioles bounced back from a series loss to the Yankees over the weekend by clubbing the Athletics at home. Adley Rutschman conquered the Great Wall of Camden in the third inning, one of three home runs the O’s hit on the night and Adley’s first to the renovated wall in left since joining the big league squad.
Oakland actually opened the scoring with Ramon Laureano’s RBI triple in the first inning, but were smothered beyond that. The beleaguered boys in green actually outhit the Orioles 8-6 and added a trio of walks, but nobody could get the hit needed to keep it close.
Dylan Cease remains the best pitcher we don’t really talk about. In his third start of the year, the righty lowered his ERA to 1.25 on the back of a five-inning, one-run performance. 11 whiffs, five coming on his slider, paced his outing as the Twins managed just four hits on the day.
The Twins did take advantage of three White Sox errors, cashing in twice and likely keeping Cease from working even deeper into the ballgame. Unearned runs can be a killer, but then again, so can three-run home runs.