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Yankees Rivalry Roundup: A tale of two Ohtanis

Shohei swung by Baltimore in a big win for the Angels.

Los Angeles Angels v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Yankees held on to a 7-4 win over the Blue Jays, another big win against an AL East rival ahead of them in the standings. They couldn’t make up any more than half a game against the Rays, who were off Monday night, but with three of their division opponents in play, there was plenty of opportunity to pick up more ground.

Los Angeles Angels (22-20) 9, Baltimore Orioles (26-15) 5

Was this a good start for Shohei Ohtani?

The MVP candidate went seven innings, allowing five runs against five strikeouts, and three home runs. His sweeper has been an issue for most of the season, as the unicorn has given up five long balls on the pitch already this season, compared to six in total all of last year. Indeed, over his last five starts the two-way star has a 4.78 ERA and allowed eight runs over 32 innings pitched.

Fortunately for the Angels, he IS a two-way star.

Although his start wasn’t his best, he did go 4-for-5 with a huge three-run home run to give the Angels the lead. Ohtani ended up a double short of the cycle on the night and scoring three runs to boot. A pair of Angels relievers were able to avoid the Tungsten O’Doyle of it all, giving LAA a much-needed win to stay apace in the AL West.

Houston Astros (22-19) 6, Chicago Cubs (19-22) 4

It is May 16th and the Yankees still have a better record than the Astros, despite the latter’s win over the Cubbies on Monday. Fresh off his Athletic profile, Framber Valdez had himself a weird little start, going just four innings. He cruised through the first three while the Astros built a big cushion, before a sac fly and Christopher Morel tied the game:

Five Astros pitchers picked up the slack for the lefty ace, allowing just two baserunners to reach base in the successive five innings. That was enough to buy time for Alex Bregman’s big moment in the seventh:

Other Matchups

Seattle Mariners (21-20) 10, Boston Red Sox (22-20) 1: Things never got off the ground for the Red Sox. George Kirby gave up a single run, in the sixth, while throwing 6.2 overall and giving up a single free pass. Cal Raleigh and Eugenio Suárez combined for three home runs to lead the offense, and critically, all three came with men on base. The Yankees now move to a game and a half clear of Boston in the AL East table.

Atlanta Braves (26-15) 12, Texas Rangers (25-16) 0: The Rangers fared even worse than the Red Sox did. Facing one of the NL’s best teams, Cody Bradford was hammered for six runs over five innings, including getting struck for four in the second inning. Kevin Pillar and Ronald Acuña Jr. took him deep to put Atlanta up early, and they just poured it on from there. Orlando Arcia and Austin Riley added long bombs to put Texas away for good.

Los Angeles Dodgers (27-15) 9, Minnesota Twins (23-19) 8 (12 innings): It looked like this one might be over early, as the Dodgers jumped out to a 5-1 lead by the end of the third. Will Smith and Max Muncy went back-to-back in the home half of the first to plate three, before Muncy brought Smith in on another home run in the third.

Credit to the Twins, they made the Dodgers work — Jorge Polanco and Trevor Larnach both went deep to spur a comeback, and Byron Buxton added an RBI double in the ninth to tie us up. Christian Vásquez walked with the bases loaded to put the Twinkies up one in the tenth, as gut wrenching a way to fall behind as you can get. J.D. Martinez answered with a single in the bottom half, bring Smith home for his third run scored of the game. If the Twins went up on a backbreaker, a bases-loaded walk, they lost on a soul-crusher, another bases-loaded walk in the 12th that sent the Chavez Ravine crowd home happy.