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Yankees Rivalry Roundup: Houston crushes Toronto, Rays bounce back

The Rays provided a rude welcome to a rookie making his debut, while the Astros rode a superb start from Luis Garcia to a series victory over the Blue Jays

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Houston Astros Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees grinded out a tough win last night, outlasting the Angels in ten innings. They sit at 11-7, but of course, that hasn’t been enough in what’s been a bloodbath so far in the AL East. How did the rest of the Yankees’ competition fare yesterday? Let’s go through all the action:

Tampa Bay Rays (16-3) 8, Cincinnati Reds (7-11) 0

Levi Stoudt isn’t a quite a top prospect. A right-handed starter, he ranks 22nd on FanGraphs’ list of top Reds farmhands, and owns a 4.11 career ERA in the minors. But for lower-profile prospects, making one’s MLB debut is perhaps even more special than it is for the top prospects. Someone like Stoudt isn’t guaranteed a major league career the way Gunnar Henderson or Anthony Volpe might be, so that he got to make his first ever MLB appearance at home on Wednesday had to be a joy.

Unfortunately for Stoudt, he was greeted about as rudely as I’ve ever seen a young starter greeted upon promotion, running into the buzzsaw that is these 2023 Rays. The first batter he faced, Yandy Diaz, ripped a homer, Diaz’s sixth of the season. Three batters later, Isaac Paredes doubled home a run. Josh Lowe followed with a two-run single, and then Manuel Margot, with an RBI double. And to add insult to injury, still with just one out in the first, poor Stoudt balked in a run.

To his credit, Stoudt settled down after that first-inning implosion, allowing just one more run over the next three frames before exiting after four. That was more than enough for the Rays, though, who got five scoreless innings from Drew Rasmussen, and three shutout in relief from Josh Fleming. As tough a blow as losing Jeffrey Springs was for Tampa, they’re still very much in position to give opposing lineups fits every night.

Toronto Blue Jays (11-8) 1, Houston Astros (9-10) 8

Houston sent Luis García to the mound in this rubber match, and the young righty delivered one of the finest starts of his career. Facing a quality Toronto lineup, García dominated across seven shutout innings, striking out nine while walking one and yielding just two hits.

While García leaned primarily on his fastball during a breakout 2022, he got better results with his cutter. García seems to have taken note, using the cutter 55 percent of the time last night. The tactic was hugely successful, with the cutter generating a jaw-dropping 19 whiffs on 34 swings. The pitch gave Toronto fits, and when they could make contact, they could nary produce a hard batted ball.

Opposite García’s brilliance, José Berríos did his best to keep his team in the game, tossing seven innings with three hits and two runs allowed. All Houston could manage off Berríos was a two-run double from Jake Meyers in the second inning.

Rafael Montero relieved García and did his best to fritter away García’s work, loading the bases with none out and one run in. Bryan Abreu came on from there and performed an all-time Houdini job. Facing the top of the Jays lineup, Abreu retired George Springer, Bo Bichette, and Vlad Guerrero Jr. in order to preserve the 2-1 lead. Houston ensured there would be no further drama, tacking on six runs in the bottom of the eighth despite the first two hitters of the inning being retired. José Abreu drove in two with a single, Kyle Tucker added an RBI single, and Jeremy Peña provided the exclamation point in the form of a three-run homer.

Detroit Tigers (7-10) 2, Cleveland Guardians (10-9) 3

Cleveland bounced back solidly after dropping both ends of a doubleheader yesterday, with Cal Quantrill providing his best outing of the year so far. The right-hander tossed six shutout, striking out four and walking one.

He left with a 3-0 lead thanks to the most concise kind of rally. With the game scoreless in the top of the sixth, Steven Kwan led off with a walk. Andrés Giménez followed with a single, and José Ramírez smashed a homer off Spencer Turnbull to break the tie:

The Tigers did chip away; Spencer Torkelson’s second homer of the year narrowed the lead to 3-1 in the seventh, and Zach McKinstry’s solo job off James Karinchak in the eighth brought it to 3-2. In the bottom of the ninth, Detroit put the first two runners on against Emmanuel Clase, but the closer retired the next three batters to secure the win and get Cleveland back above .500.

Milwaukee Brewers (14-5) 5, Seattle Mariners (8-11) 3

For some time, it appeared the biggest story out of this game would be Seattle’s debut of their new home run celebration: The Trident. The club broke it out after Julio Rodríguez’s screaming line drive of a home run off Eric Lauer:

In being named the king of the sea, Rodríguez gave the Mariners a 2-0 lead, one they held into the seventh, when the Brewers at last broke out. Marco Gonzales had pitched six shutout, but was removed in favor of Matt Brash after putting allowing two singles to start the frame. Brash immediately allowed two more singles to put Seattle on the board. Brash had a chance to escape with the lead, but Brice Turang delivered a two-run, two-out double to put Milwaukee in front:

Rowdy Tellez pinch-hit singled home two more. which would prove vital when Seattle loaded the bases in the ninth against Matt Bush. Jared Kelenic brought in a run with a single to make it 5-3, but Brian Anderson and Tommy La Stella both popped out to leave the bases loaded and end the game.

At 14-5, the Brewers very quietly find themselves at the top of the NL. The cushion may come in handy, as they deal with a major injury to one ace, Brandon Woodruff, and a minor injury to another ace, Corbin Burnes.


  • Baltimore Orioles (11-7) 4, Washington Nationals (5-13) 0: Talented young right-hander Kyle Bradish came off the IL to power the Orioles to a quick two-game sweep of the Nats. Bradish shut out Washington across six innings, while an Adam Frazier two-run homer provided the bulk of the scoring for Baltimore.
  • Boston Red Sox (9-10) 4, Minnesota Twins (11-7) 10: Minnesota battered Boston’s pitching staff throughout this one. Corey Kluber continued to look as though he’s reached the end of the line, getting tagged for seven runs in five innings; he’s got an 8.50 ERA on the year. Edouard Julien went 3-for-4 with a dinger, while Joey Gallo came off the IL to smash a three-run homer, his fourth of the season.