Good morning, all. External factors slightly delayed the Rivalry Roundup this morning and that means we’ll have to go rapid-fire through these games more than we usually do, but it is here regardless!
The Yankees were able to snap their four-game losing streak with a mini-comeback late last night. Were they able to make up any ground, though? Let’s get to it.
Tampa Bay Rays (24-6) 4, Pittsburgh Pirates (20-10) 1
Pittsburgh has been one of the biggest stories of the young season to date, roaring to their best start since 1992 by becoming the first National League team to reach 20 wins in 2023. But they faced a serious test last night by having to go down to the Trop and try to take a win from the only team that had been hotter than them: the Rays, who just don’t really lose all that much.
Annoyingly, Tampa Bay didn’t even have to use a real starter to dispatch the Buccos. Javy Guerra was the opener, and while he had to be hooked with two outs and two walks on the books, “bulk guy” Josh Fleming carried the load. In 3.1 innings, he allowed just one run, and that came on a sacrifice fly by Carlos Santana in the fifth that merely tied the ballgame.
Ready for a roll call of boring Rays bullpen names who shut the Pirates down? Well, here you go:
- Colin Poche
- Ryan Thompson
- Jalen Beeks
- Kevin Kelly
- Jason Adam
On the offensive side of the ball, Harold Ramírez was the star for Tampa Bay. He gave the Rays their first run with an RBI single in the fourth, and he later homered in the sixth to put them ahead, 4-1. They had taken the lead on a fifth-inning single from Wander Franco and tacked on another when Jose Siri swiped home on a double steal.
Boston Red Sox (17-14) 7, Toronto Blue Jays (18-12) 6
The Yankees were unable to at least bring the Red Sox back to a share of last place because for the second night in a row, Toronto came up short. Christian Arroyo and Masataka Yoshida led Boston to a 3-0 lead through four, but it seemed like the Blue Jays took control of the ballgame in the fifth. As Tanner Houck faltered, they plated six runs, capped by a three-run bomb from Daulton Varsho that sailed 406 feet to one of the deepest parts of Fenway.
Alas, since Yusei Kikuchi wasn’t starting against the Yankees, it meant that he was terrible. The Red Sox quickly punched back with a pair of RBI singles in the fifth from Yoshida and Rob Refsnyder, sending Kikuchi to the showers and making it a one-run game.
From there, the story of the night became Boston’s 26-year-old catcher, Connor Wong. He entered play on Monday with just one homer in 131 career plate appearances, but after going deep that night to double his lifetime total, he doubled it again on Tuesday with two bombs. More importantly for the Red Sox, the first tied the game and the second off Erik Swanson gave the Fenway faithful a late lead.
A combined three shutout innings from John Schreiber, Richard Bleier, and Josh Winckowski locked up the 7-6 victory.
Baltimore Orioles (20-9) 11, Kansas City Royals (7-23) 7
For as lousy as the A’s are, the Royals are almost right there with them. In fact, if Oakland had held onto their lead last night, they would’ve had even records! (We’ll get to that later.) Kansas City didn’t actually have strong expectations of being relevant in 2023, but man it’s been bad.
As for this 2014 ALCS rematch, Bobby Witt Jr. and MJ Melendez backed the Royals’ Ryan Yarbrough with a pair of bombs in the first. But the former Ray demonstrated why he’s, well, a former Ray by getting torched after three scoreless innings. Ryan Mountcastle began the scoring with a two-run shot, and following a walk to Anthony Santander and a single by Jorge Mateo, erstwhile Met James McCann tied the game at 3-3 with a single to left. Two more free passes loaded the bases for Cedric Mullins. The 2021 All-Star gave the O’s a 5-3 lead with a single to left, cementing a five-run frame.
Now with an advantage, the Baltimore offense piled on in the next few innings. Mountcastle homered again in the fifth, and he followed Adley Rutschman’s RBI double an inning later with one of his own to ensure that the rout was on. Salvador Perez homered twice for the Royals in the sixth and seventh but it hardly mattered at that point and the catcher also sustained an “ugly bruise” on a swing follow-through by Santander. It’s going to be a long summer in KC.
San Francisco Giants (12-17) 2, Houston Astros (16-14) 0
Disco took over in Houston last night. The Giants’ Anthony DeSclafani suffocated the powerful Astros lineup with a lot of weak contact, as while he only fanned three batters in eight innings of three-hit ball, he didn’t have to provide many punchies to turn the ‘Stros away.
Joc Pederson gave DeSclafani an early lead with an RBI single in the first, and when catcher Blake Sabol doubled Joc in off Houston rookie Hunter Brown in the fourth, that marked the end of the run support. The advantage held, as Disco dominated and Camilo Doval impressively retired Mauricio Dubón, Alex Bregman, and Yordan Alvarez in order in the ninth for the save, fanning the dangerous Alvarez for an extra point of flair.
Seattle Mariners (13-16) 2, Oakland Athletics (6-24) 1
Mason Miller is one of the very few bright spots going on in the A’s Universe, and the rookie dazzled in just his third career start. He threw seven no-hit innings with six strikeouts and four walks before being pulled with his pitch count at 100 on the dot and it appearing rather unlikely that he could be economical for two more frames. Still, you can’t ask for much better than how Miller looked:
It’s wild to imagine that Miller was pitching to Division III players just three years ago.
Impressively, the Mariners’ own rookie Miller (Bryce) also shined in his MLB debut. He was perfect through 5.1 innings before Tony Kemp singled to break it up and ended his opening night in the majors with 10 strikeouts and no walks in six frames.
Esteury Ruiz had granted Oakland’s Miller a brief 1-0 lead on an RBI double to bring Kemp home in the sixth, but once the starter had departed, his no-no was in the hands of the Oakland bullpen. So that meant it only lasted one more out before Seattle’s A.J. Pollock broke it up against Richard Lovelady and tied the ballgame in the process.
Doubles from Jose Caballero and Jarred Kelenic then gave the Mariners a 2-1 lead, and they held on for the victory. Even with that and the Kraken’s overtime win last night, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows in the Pacific Northwest. Julio Rodríguez was a late scratch from the lineup with back tightness. He hasn’t played since April 29th.
- Chicago White Sox (9-21) 3, Minnesota Twins (17-13) 2: Do you believe in miracles? The free-falling Pale Hose won their second game in a row in walk-off fashion. A two-run blast from Eloy Jiménez off Jorge López put them in front, 2-1, wasting the six innings of one-hit shutout ball from Minnesota’s Joe Ryan. Nick Gordon’s first dinger of 2023 tied it up in the eighth, but Chicago escaped in the 10th when Jimmy Lambert held the Twins scoreless and Andrew Benintendi—who robbed a Carlos Correa homer to start the night—walked it off.