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Yankees Rivalry Roundup: Rays finally lose at home

As the Yankees continue to slide, let’s see what the competition is up to.

MLB: Houston Astros at Tampa Bay Rays Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees can’t get out of their own way lately, floundering to another loss and losing the season series against Minnesota for the first time since 2001. Minnesota has always been their safety net in a way, whether it was the regular or postseason, so to falter there is a concern, but it didn’t happen in a vacuum either. The rest of the league was active last night, and we’ve got plenty to cover:

Houston Astros (13-11) 5, Tampa Bay Rays (20-4) 0

Tampa Bay entered this game with an absurd 14-0 home record on the year, impressive both for how dominant they’ve been and also for how many home games they’ve gotten out of the gate. They faced a tougher task than most with this Houston squad rolling into town, and though they held serve in the series opener their streak ended at last.

All of the relevant action occurred in a single inning. In the top of the fifth, after a strikeout to start the frame, Mauricio Dubon doubled out to left and came around to score on a Jeremy Pena double. Kyle Tucker singled Pena home, and then stayed put at first while Alex Bregman flew out. Down to two outs, Jose Abreu poured salt in the wounds with the third double of the inning and Corey Julks hit the fourth right after him. Jake Meyers put Drew Rasmussen out of his misery with a single to second that bounded off of Wander Franco, allowing the fifth run of the inning to score, and that would be it for the Rays starter.

On the other side, Luis Garcia turned in his second straight gem after a rough patch to start the year. Garcia hurled six shutout innings, walking two and allowing three hits while striking out seven en route to the victory. A trio of Astros relievers stepped in to steer the shutout into place after Garcia exited, keeping the Rays flummoxed all night.

Toronto Blue Jays (15-9) 7, Chicago White Sox (7-17) 0

You can’t win a division race in April, but you sure can lose it then. That’s the motto of the 2023 White Sox, whose culture and game has just taken a massive decline after emerging back into the contender’s pool a few years ago. They’re flailing with no hope in sight, and they were dismantled by Toronto in this one.

Jose Berrios needed a standout performance in the worst way, and he got it last night — seven shutout innings with nine strikeouts to just one walk is the type of ace pitching that Toronto opened up their wallet for. His offense did their part in staking him a massive lead early as well, thanks to Danny Jensen launching a three-run homer in the second and Kevin Kiermaier slapping a two-run triple in the fourth. Toss in a George Springer RBI single and it was 6-0 after four, and Berrios was able to go into cruise control. Jensen stepped up in the seventh to add a little more to the White Sox’ burden, crushing another homer for a solo shot to make it 7-0.

Colorado Rockies (8-17) 5, Cleveland Guardians (11-13) 1

You can’t always capitalize on playing the terrible teams, and Cleveland found that out the hard way against Colorado. The Rockies put up four runs in two innings against rookie starter Peyton Battenfield (an ironic last name that I approve of), leading off with a Charlie Blackmon solo shot. The second inning saw most of the damage, with Blackmon doubling in another run before Jurrickson Profar lifted a sacrifice fly and Kris Bryant lined a single for another RBI.

In the sixth it was Brenton Doyle’s turn to add to the lead with an RBI double, though Cleveland responded with one in the bottom half when Amed Rosario lifted a sac fly. The run was charged (unearned, thanks to an earlier throwing error by catcher Elias Diaz) to Rockies starter Ryan Feltner, who turned it over to Brent Suter for two shutout frames before Justin Lawrence closed things out.

Seattle Mariners (11-12) 5, Philadelphia Phillies (11-13) 3

Two promising teams from last year both haven’t gotten off to solid starts, but only one team could walk away with the win here. For Seattle, they were stumped against Bailey Falter for four innings before he lived up to his surname, serving up a homer to Jarred Kelenic. JP Crawford later added an RBI single, something that would be significant as Philadelphia responded by getting one of the runs back on an Edmundo Sosa solo bomb. Seattle’s offense was revitalized, however, and in the sixth they found their game-winning hit in the form of a Teoscar Hernandez two-run blast to pull away.

The Mariners added another run in the seventh on a sac fly, but had to survive a scare in the ninth inning. Alec Bohm led off with a double and advanced to third on a groundout, later scoring on a two-out single from old friend Jake Cave. Paul Sewald got Bryson Stott to strike out to end it, however.

Other Games

Boston Red Sox (13-12) 8, Baltimore Orioles (15-8) 6: Corey Kluber wasn’t quite in vintage form, but he delivered six innings of one-run ball and turned the ball over with a massive lead after Boston drubbed Kyle Bradish for seven runs in 2.1 innings. Kaleb Ort nearly blew it in the ninth, allowing five runs (four earned) on a pair of blasts from Gunnar Henderson and Cedric Mullins, but Kenley Jansen swooped in to get the final out and secure the win.