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Yankees Rivalry Roundup: Blue Jays wallop the Rays

Plenty of the Yankees’ key rivals got thoroughly beaten yesterday.

Toronto Blue Jays v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Yankees fell behind early despite sending their ace Gerrit Cole out against the Orioles, but they managed to make a dramatic comeback and walked it off in extras. Their first clash with the ascendant birds is officially a W, and are just 1.5 games back of second place in the division. There was ground to make on first place as well, among a host of other outcomes worth keeping an eye on, so let’s start off right there.

Toronto Blue Jays (26-23) 20, Tampa Bay Rays (35-15) 1

Yeah, you read that right. The Blue Jays offense put on a clinic against the Rays staff, demolishing them from start to finish. There were two main points of run production, starting in the fifth with the Jays already up 4-0. A one-out Matt Chapman walk started the thrashing, but so many Blue Jays got in on the act: Whit Merrifield, Daulton Varsho, Danny Jansen, George Springer, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. all knocked base hits around, and Kevin Kiermaier lifted a sac fly to aid the cause. Without a home run in the frame, the Jays were up 10-0.

The wheels truly came off in the ninth with a position player on the mound, though surprisingly after the Rays got a quick two outs. A trio of singles set up Vladdy to tee off on a 52-mph ball for a grand slam, and two batters later Chapman joined him with a blast of his own. Jansen completed the trifecta of bombs with one more after a pitching change (to a different position player), and mercifully the inning ended after a nine-spot. Needless to say, there was no rally in the home half of the ninth.

Milwaukee Brewers (26-22) 6, Houston Astros (28-20) 0

Houston’s been one of the hottest teams in baseball lately, riding an eight-game winning streak into this matchup, but it ended here in abrupt fashion. Colin Rea turned in one of his best starts of the year, blanking the Astros over 5.1 innings before turning it over to a Brewers ‘pen that allowed just a single hit the rest of the way.

J.P. France was sharper, picking up eight strikeouts to Rea’s four and lasting an extra out into the sixth, but he got beat by Joey Wiemer leading off the third inning for a solo shot and Yainer Diaz threw away a ball in the fourth that allowed another runner to score. Phil Maton kept it close in his inning and a third of work, but Rafael Montero imploded in the eighth to give Milwaukee some breathing room — A Brian Anderson two-run double and an Owen Miller two-run shot tripled the lead and made it nice and easy to close out.

Other Matchups

Los Angeles Angels (27-23) 4, Boston Red Sox (26-23) 0

The Sox are hitting a bit of a scuffle, losing their third straight contest, and they got beat on exactly three pitches against the Angels. Mickey Moniak and Matt Thaiss picked up solo homers off of Brayan Bello in the first and fifth innings respectively, and then Mike Trout added insurance with a two-run shot off of former Yankee Joely Rodriguez in the eighth. Meanwhile, Griffin Canning tossed a brilliant seven shutout and Matt Moore and Jacob Webb kept the goose eggs coming.

Seattle Mariners (24-24) 3, Oakland Athletics (10-40) 2

Oh Oakland, you tragic, tragic team. A 2-0 lead in the first inning off of singles from Ramón Laureano and Carlos Pérez? That’s not good enough to last forever, and it sure didn’t. J.P. Crawford launched a two-run shot in the fifth that tied the game, and Ty France went back-to-back to give Seattle the lead. After that excellent start for Oakland, they managed just two more hits across the whole game and went quietly in their last three times to the plate. Congrats on making it to .500 Seattle, and ... wow, is it bad that the A’s are already at 40 losses.

Chicago White Sox (20-30) 4, Cleveland Guardians (21-27) 2

In the battle of two mid teams, the White Sox won out this time. The critical frame came in the seventh inning with the ChiSox down 2-1, when Andrew Vaughn and Andrew Benintendi got on second and third with no outs. Logan Allen got a ground ball to third that might’ve held the runner, but the usually sure-handed José Ramírez botched the play and allowed the lead runner to score. Romy González doubled to left to score two more, and that was that.

Texas Rangers (30-18) 6, Pittsburgh Pirates (25-23) 1

Houston’s downfall was the Rangers’ chance to get some breathing room back in the AL West race, and they capitalized. Marcus Semien started the game off with a bang when he slapped a triple out to right, scoring a batter later on a Corey Seager single, and the Pirates balked a second run home in the first. In the sixth Josh Jung singled home another pair of runs, and somehow the Pirates managed to balk home another run in the frame. When you balk home not one but two runs you don’t deserve to win, and the Pirates sure didn’t.

San Francisco Giants (24-24) 4, Minnesota Twins (25-24) 3

Byron Buxton had himself a day, going 2-for-4 with a two-run shot in the first inning, but the Twins couldn’t find much more offense around him. The Giants struggled mightily against Sonny Gray through five innings, but he loaded the bases on a pair of walks and a double in the sixth before exiting. Jovani Moran nearly escaped the jam, but he walked in a pair of runs with two outs, and then Michael Conforto launched a two-run shot in the seventh to go ahead. The tying run got aboard via a hit-by-pitch in the ninth, but Camilo Doval closed the door on the rally.