It’s always more fun to do these recaps on days where the Yankees took care of their own business. The Rays continued their stellar start to the season, but as long as the Yankees keep winning games on their end, there’s nothing the team can do until they get their hands on Tampa themselves.
Outside of that, we saw the Astros continue to heat up amongst a mediocre start, and the reigning AL Central champs swept in a doubleheader.
Chicago White Sox (7-14) 3, Tampa Bay Rays (18-3) 4
Another day, another game the Rays draw a near-last-place team, and the results were what you’d expect. Shane McClanahan generated an absurd 34 whiffs from the paltry ChiSox lineup, striking out ten men against a single walk in six innings. As good as the Rays’ ace was, this was really the Randy Arozarena game.
A two-run shot in the first inning had the Rays off and running, and Randy added an RBI single in the fifth to break what was then a 2-2 tie. Eloy Jiménez and Yasmani Grandal touched McClanahan for solo home runs, but were playing catchup all day. Pinch hitter Gavin Sheets tied the game in the seventh with a home run of his own, pulling us toward extra innings.
Once there, well...
Some mf named Randy. Rays still have the best record in baseball.
Miami Marlins (11-9) 6, Cleveland Guardians (10-10) 1 (Game One)
Miami Marlins (12-9) 3, Cleveland Guardians (10-11) 2 (Game Two)
A day-night doubleheader after yesterday’s series opener was washed out, the Marlins put eight men on against Shane Bieber, bringing a trio of them home to pace a win in the front half. Bryan De La Cruz swung the big stick for the Fish, with a home run, double, walk and scoring two runs himself.
A team generally guided by starting pitching saw a strong but short performance from oft-swingman Devin Smeltzer, who threw just four innings but turned a lead over to the bullpen that completely smothered the Guardians. Over five innings, four Marlins relievers surrendered but one hit, icing Cleveland in the early game.
Come the nightcap, we saw more of a pitcher’s dual. Braxton Garrett and Zach Plesac combined for 10.2 innings and four runs allowed, although Plesac had the worse effort surrendering ten hits and three runs. De La Cruz had another three doubles, though neither scored a run nor drove one in.
Garrett Hampson had two RBI hits to put the Marlins ahead, and a late comeback by the Guardians actually got the winning run on first. A failed sac bunt — never bunt, hit dingers — strikeout, and groundout ended the threat and delivered the Marlins the doubleheader sweep.
Houston Astros (11-10) 6, Atlanta Braves (14-7) 3
The Astros haven’t been quite the relentless offense we’re used to seeing so far this year, but an 11-hit, two-homer effort against Kyle Wright might be what they needed to wake up. Jeremy Peña paced the attack with three hits and a run scored. The big thumps came from the two big lefties in the sixth inning:
That was all the support Framber Valdez would need, spinning seven innings with nine strikeouts against a powerful Atlanta lineup. Ronald Acuña Jr. and Ozzie Albies had multi-hit efforts, and Sean Murphy added a solo home run, but that was all the home club could muster despite those dazzling City Connect uniforms.
Seattle Mariners (10-11) 5, St. Louis Cardinals (8-13) 4
Another close one, the Mariners relied on more hot hitting from Jarred Kelenic as the onetime top prospect appears to be living up to his potential:
Kelenic added a double, going 2-4 on the night, lifting his season wRC+ to 173.
Luis Castillo had his worst start of the season, a well below-average outing by his own standards. His final line stood at 5 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB although he did add eight strikeouts. The Cardinals were able to line singles off him right from the word go, going up 1-0 on a trio of base hits in the first inning.
A pair of Cardinal doubles in the third inning put them up 3-1, before Teoscar Hernández and Eugenio Suárez had two-run hits in successive innings to pull the Mariners ahead:
Milwaukee Brewers (15-6) 5, Boston Red Sox (11-11) 4: Rowdy Tellez just can’t stop hitting home runs. The first baseman smoked a two-run shot to push the Brewers ahead to 3-0 in the third inning, and although Rafael Devers and Yu Chang had home runs of their own, it wasn’t enough to pull the last-place Sox ahead of the Brewers.
Baltimore Orioles (13-7) 5, Detroit Tigers (7-12) 1: Baltimore made quick work of one of the game’s worst teams, putting up four runs in the third, kicked off by Adley Rutschman’s RBI single. Ramon Urías added a double to clear the bases three batters later, and that was all Kyle Gibson and company needed to ice the Tigers lineup.