The Yankees were enjoying a well-earned day off on Monday, after taking six of seven games against Toronto and Cincinnati. That does mean the now-third-place Yankees couldn’t gain any ground on the two teams ahead of them, but they’ll just have to start tonight against the Orioles. For the rest of the league, there was plenty of action, and in a pleasant twist of events my own fantasy team finally had a decent night
Tampa Bay Rays (35-14) 6, Toronto Blue Jays (25-23) 4
The Blue Jays skid continued. The now last place Jays, fresh off a sweep at the hands of Baltimore, couldn’t complete the comeback in the face of three Tampa home runs. Jose Siri and Randy Arozarena both went deep off of Chris Bassitt, but it was Luke Raley’s laser shot in the seventh that ended Bassitt’s day.
Credit to the Blue Jays, they did put up a fight. Down 6-2 headed into the ninth, Daulton Varsho led the charge to make up some of that deficit:
Alejandro Kirk and Whit Merrifield both singled to bring the tying run to the plate, and Brandon Belt brought Kirk in to bring the deficit down to two. Another walk only upped the pressure, but Bo Bichette bounced into the final out of the game, and all 11 Rays fans took a sigh of relief.
Houston Astros (28-19) 12, Milwaukee Brewers (25-22) 2
Here come the Astros.
Now just a game behind the division-leading Rangers, Houston jumped all over Corbin Burnes in Monday’s win. Burnes lasted just five innings and allowed five earned, with seven hits and two walks. Two home runs in the second inning had the Astros off and running, and while Rowdy Tellez was able to answer with a solo shot of his own in the bottom half, H-town just kept on coming.
Runs came along in the fourth and fifth, before Yordan Alvarez, with his second home run of the game, gutted the Brewers and quieted the home Milwaukee crowd.
Darth Vader provided the fireworks but Cristian Javier threw ice against the Brewers lineup. Over six innings he allowed the home run to Tellez and not much else, lowering his ERA on the season to 3.07 and struck out five against one walk.
Hunter Gaddis’ up-and-down rookie season took a turn up on Monday, as the righthander blanked the White Sox over six innings. He only struck out four but limited the Sox to two hits and a walk over that span, logging the first win of his MLB career. Mike Zunino’s two-run blast in the seventh inning was the big difference in the contest, the dagger in the series-opening victory for Cleveland.
The Pirates have come back to Earth after the first two weeks of the season, but a big seventh inning got their week off to the right start. Tied at one after six innings, each team had plated a run without a hit — Pittsburgh opening the scoring with an RBI groundout and Corey Seager answering with a sac fly. Tucupita Marcano’s grand slam put the game out of reach for the Rangers even as they marshalled three runs in the last two innings.
Five Giants pitchers combined to grind down the Twins lineup, as the Twinkies struck out 16 (!) times while managing just four hits. Sean Manaea, in a bulk role, struck out more than half the batters he faced in a truly sublime performance. San Fran did all their scoring in the first, with JD Davis opening things up with an RBI double before Michael Conforto blasted a three-run shot to put the Giants up four.
It was just by the skin of their teeth, but the Angels managed to pull it out. Luis Rengifo opened the scoring in the second with an RBI groundout, and Mickey Moniak broke a 1-1 tie in the eighth with a solo home run. That was enough, as the Angels’ pitching managed to go a full game without walking a single Red Sox hitter, Jaime Barría had the start and threw five shutout innings, striking out six, while Chase Silseth ended up with the win after throwing clean eighth and ninth innings.
As the Yankees know, playing the Athletics can be the tonic that spurs a turnaround, and the Mariners might be betting on that too. A huge first inning home run from Jarred Kelenic got the M’s off to the right start, putting the club up 2-0 early. Jose Caballero added a three-run shot of his own an inning later, and as the saying goes, it got late early for the Athletics. Luis Castillo threw six shutout innings, dropping his ERA to 2.97.