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Yankees Rivalry Roundup: Rays lose the opener, win the series

A massive blowout didn’t deter the top dogs in the league from handling Toronto the rest of the way through.

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

The Yankees ended their series with the Orioles on a whimper, mustering up just one run against Kyle Gibson and company. A series loss is a bit of a disappointment, mainly just because of how Wednesday’s loss went down, but life goes on. There were just two games going on outside of Yankee Stadium that involved teams we’ve been keeping our eyes on, but one of them mattered significantly so let’s dive into what went down at the Trop:

Tampa Bay Rays (37-15) 6, Toronto Blue Jays (26-25) 3

Alek Manoah’s junior campaign has diverged far from what he’s done in his first two years, and he didn’t fare well again against the Rays. Handed a 1-0 lead to start the game, Manoah promptly served up a triple to Wander Franco and a single to Randy Arozarena to void that advantage. After a stolen base and a dropped strike three that allowed the runner to reach, Harold Ramírez hit a grounder to the right side that brought home Arozarena and put the Rays on top 2-1.

The second and third innings didn’t go much better for Manoah. Josh Lowe tagged him for an RBI double in the former, and in the latter a stolen base and a throwing error brought in another run. Manuel Margot hit another grounder in the right spot to bring home a fifth run, and Toronto was suddenly in a 5-1 hole after just three innings. Manoah got Francisco Mejía to strikeout to end the frame, but his day was done from there.

Meanwhile, after allowing that initial run in the first, Zach Eflin maneuvered his way around the Blue Jays’ lineup, despite not fooling them by much. Eflin didn’t record a single strikeout and allowed eight baserunners, but still went seven strong including six shutout innings after the first frame. A ton of ground balls and well-placed liners, combined with a pair of double-plays, did the job for Eflin, who handed the ball over to Calvin Faucher for a clean eighth inning before Jake Diekman got into a jam in the ninth. A pair of singles and a pair of walks forced in one run and a sacrifice fly added another, but Colin Poche got Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to groundout to kill the rally.

Seattle Mariners (26-24) 3, Oakland Athletics (10-42) 2

Now, for a game with less significance. Still, we’ve only got two to cover here so why not put a bit of a spotlight on the Mariners (or more accurately, the Athletics’ ineptitude). For the second time in three days the A’s started off the game up 2-0, this time getting their lead via a Seth Brown two-run shot off of Logan Gilbert. For the second time in three days ... it wouldn’t matter.

Gilbert shined outside of that mistake pitch, tossing eight innings and allowing just a single hit after the long ball while striking out six and walking none. On the other hand, the Mariners cut into that deficit immediately in the bottom of the first when Ty France crushed a ball to left. The score held until the sixth inning when France stepped up to the plate again, this time facing Trevor May instead of old friend JP Sears, and repeated his prior outcome.

Naturally, the game couldn’t end without a little bit of blundering on the Athletics’ part. In the eighth inning, Richard Lovelady came on in relief of May and walked Jose Caballero to leadoff, and after getting two outs handed the ball over to Garrett Acton. Acton got gashed for a double from Julio Rodríguez, and the A’s chose to intentionally walk Jarred Kelenic to set up the force play with Eugenio Suárez at the plate. Instead, Acton walked Suárez on five pitches to give the Mariners their first lead of the game just in time for them to close it out in the ninth. Ouch.