After a sleepy few days for the offense, the Yankees’ lineup exploded yesterday for seven runs. They didn’t do much else, but it was enough for a 10-8 win over the Padres, securing a series victory before embarking on a West Coast road trip through Seattle and Los Angeles. Tampa Bay and Baltimore both won though, so New York didn’t gain any ground on the two teams in front of them in the AL East.
Here’s the rundown of what went on at the Trop, Camden Yards, and everywhere else relevant to American League play on Sunday.
Tampa Bay Rays (39-16) 11, Los Angeles Dodgers (32-22) 10
It was a Sunday morning slugfest in a Peacock game that start at 8:35am local time in LA. The first three innings alone saw a combined 15 runs, and after six, it was a 10-10 ballgame. The spirit of late-’90s Coors somehow migrated to the Trop!
Back-to-back homers from Chris Taylor and Max Muncy gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead in the second, and Trayce Thompson broke an agonizing 0-for-39 skid with an RBI single. But the Rays were quick to answer off prospect Gavin Stone, tagging him for six runs in the home half of the inning, highlighted by a two-run double from Isaac Paredes.
The Dodgers punched right back with a four-run third against Josh Fleming to knot it up at 7-7, though Muncy cramped his hamstring in the process and had to leave the game.
The Dodgers had gone to the bullpen for the bottom of the third, but the Rays snatched the lead again anyway on an RBI single from Yandy Díaz. Paredes smashed a long ball in the fourth and Tampa Bay pushed its lead up to 10-7 shortly afterward. Undeterred, LA tied the game again by the middle of the sixth on dingers from the resurgent Thompson, former Rays division foe J.D. Martinez, and Taylor (his second of the day). Fleming was weirdly efficient in getting bludgeoned by the Dodgers, resulting in this curious final line:
Fleming 6 IP, 12 H, 10 R (8 ER), 2 BB, 3 K, 5 HR, 86 pitches
The Rays’ bullpen was not nearly as generous as Fleming, as Jalen Beeks and Jason Adam combined for three shutout, hitless innings in relief. An RBI groundout from Wander Franco in the seventh turned out to the anticlimactic final run in this contest. Oh well.
Baltimore Orioles (34-19) 3, Texas Rangers (33-19) 2
Flying high after the series victory in the Bronx, the O’s didn’t expect to have to be fighting off a potential sweep at home against the Rangers on Sunday. But since Texas dispatched Baltimore by scores of 12-2 and 5-3 on Friday and Saturday, respectively, that was indeed their task.
The O’s plated a pair of runners in the first off Cody Bradford, and Kyle Bradish made that slim lead stand up for 6.2 innings. He allowed just four hits and one run, an RBI two-bagger off the bat of Marcus Semien. Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde felt comfortable handing the ball to lockdown setup man Yennier Cano, but for just the third time this year, Cano actually surrendered a run. Robbie Grossman led off with a single to center, and though Cano got a pair of groundouts, Corey Seager laced a double to tie the game.
The O’s didn’t get off to this excellent start by rolling over, though. After Danny Coulombe got the final out, Baltimore rallied in the home half of the eighth. Facing southpaw Cole Ragans, Cedric Mullins worked a leadoff walk and Adley Rutschman singled to center. Rangers skipper Bruce Bochy called on Joe Barlow in the bullpen, but Austin Hays smacked a go-ahead single on his third pitch.
Félix Bautista struck out the side in the ninth for his 13th save and the Orioles ended the weekend on a high note.
Toronto Blue Jays (28-26) 3, Minnesota Twins (27-26) 0
The reeling Jays were in need of a productive series at Target Field, and they demonstrated why even the last-place team in the AL East is better than the division leader in the AL Central. A 3-0 victory on Sunday secured the series win, and pitching was the story in this one.
Former Twins All-Star José Berríos needed 94 pitches to get through 5.2 innings while walking five, but he didn’t allow any runs against his former club. The trio of Trevor Richards, Erik Swanson, and Jordan Romano surrendered only one hit while recording the final 10 outs. A two-run single by Alejandro Kirk in the sixth and RBI hit from Bo Bichette in the eighth were all that the Toronto staff needed for the victory.
The Twins have three games in Houston up next, and amusingly, they now sit only one game in front of the 25-26 Tigers, who were essentially an afterthought in most AL Central predictions. But that’s the division for you!
Houston Astros (31-21) 10, Oakland Athletics (10-45) 1
The Oakland A’s just make me mad. So very, very mad. I should be clear: I don’t blame the players or manager Mark Kotsay. They’re doing their best. This season is just a disgusting display from owner John Fisher and president Dave Kaval, who tore a roster that competed for a playoff spot just two years ago to pieces and flipped the bird to fans (several of whom happen to be my friends) who have followed that team for over 50 years with their courtship of Las Vegas. By the way, if they ever actually do get anything built in Vegas, I will be stunned if that cheapskate spends much on the roster anyway.
I guess I’ll take about yesterday’s game for a bit. The Astros beat the tear out of the A’s! Wow! I can’t believe it! Houston tore into former Baby Bombers Ken Waldichuk and Luis Medina for a combined six runs on eight hits through 6.1 innings. Sam Long and Garrett Acton didn’t provide much relief, either. The recently-returned Jose Altuve clubbed his first dinger of 2023, as did the long-struggling José Abreu (his first in an Astros uniform) and Chas McCormick and Yordan Alvarez (twice) and Jeremy Peña and Jake Meyers and oh my god this is a sorry display. The A’s have dropped 11 in a row with a .182 winning percentage overall that has them on pace for a horrific 132 losses.
José Ramírez has made a career out of saving Cleveland’s bacon, and one of the best players in franchise history was again the story on Sunday afternoon. A trio of solo shots from St. Louis had given the Cardinals their three runs, and against a paltry offense like the Guardians, that normally would’ve been enough. But Ryan Helsley couldn’t hold the 3-2 lead, as down to their final out, Cleveland was fortunate enough to have Ramírez’s spot in the batting order come up, and he cracked a walk-off two-run double to win both the game and the series for the Guardians.
The D-backs needed to win on Sunday to avoid a sweep in Phoenix at the hands of the Red Sox, and like the O’s, they pulled it off. NL Rookie of the Year candidate Corbin Carroll clobbered a two-run shot off Tanner Houck in the first, and each of Josh Rojas and Geraldo Perdomo delivered RBI knocks as well (Perdomo’s being a dinger). Merrill Kelly struck out 10 Red Sox in 6.1 innings, though Boston did chip away late to cut the deficit in half. Former Yankee Miguel Castro had to face Rafael Devers and Justin Turner as the tying run in the ninth, but he held on for his fifth save of 2023.
The M’s survived a scare from the Buccos. Julio Rodríguez and Cal Raleigh homered to give Seattle a 3-1 lead. However, Justin Topa and Paul Sewald fell apart in relief, allowing the Pirates to tie it up at three apiece when Bryan Reynolds tripled in Andrew McCutchen and Sewald uncorked a wild pitch to plate Reynolds. The ballgame went to extra innings, where Eugenio Suárez got to play hero with a three-run shot against Robert Stephenson to walk it off.