The Yankees enjoyed a much needed day off yesterday as their depleted squad rests in anticipation of a pivotal early season matchup against the Rays.
Tampa Bay Rays (26-6) 3, Pittsburgh Pirates (20-12) 2
If you would’ve told me that the Rays and Pirates would be in first place when the two sides met at the start of May, I might’ve questioned your sanity. However, that’s precisely the scenario that just played out, in fact with the teams the owners of the two best records in baseball entering the series. The Rays proved that they are the class of the league through the early going, knocking the Bucs back a few pegs with a comprehensive sweep.
Club record signing Zach Eflin turned in the signature start of his early tenure with the team, pitching seven scoreless innings allowing just three hits against 10 strikeouts.
Tampa Bay looked to be in complete control throughout. All three of their runs came via solo home run. Taylor Walls got things started in the second, followed by Randy Arozarena in the fourth and Yandy Díaz in the eighth.
The Pirates did not quit, however, making things dicey for Rays closer Jason Adam in the ninth. They put a pair on via HBP and a fielding error, leading to a Carlos Santana two-run double to pull within one. However, Adam slammed the door on the comeback to give his team all the momentum as they await the Yankees arrival in Tampa.
Baltimore Orioles (21-10) 13, Kansas City Royals (8-24) 10
Don’t look now, but those upstart Orioles are second in the division. It helps to face the Kansas City pitching staff, who yielded double-digit runs in two of the series’ three games. In fact, both starters took a beating on this day, with Grayson Rodriguez and Jordan Lyles combining to give up 14 runs.
Baltimore’s pair of top rookies Rodriguez and Henderson have had a bit of an adjustment period after graduating to the majors, though Henderson did contribute a two-run homer in the third before being pinch-hit for by Ramón Urías in the eighth. Urías amazingly would go on to drive in four runs across his two at-bats in the final two innings.
All told there were five balls that left the park: Henderson and Anthony Santander for Baltimore and Salvador Perez, Kyle Isbel, and Freddy Fermin for Kansas City. The Orioles scored two in the first and three in the second and third, but the Royals matched them stride for stride. They scored one in the second, three in the third, two in the second, and one in the fourth, and even grabbed a brief 9-8 lead scoring two in the seventh, but the Orioles scored five in the final frames to take this one, 13-10.
Seattle Mariners (15-16) 5, Oakland Athletics (6-26) 3
Both clubs did their scoring in the early innings as their respective bullpens brought this one to a quick and efficient end. JJ Bleday opened the scoring for the A’s with a solo shot in the second. Taylor Trammell responded with a two-run bomb in the top of the third, but Oakland offered an immediate riposte in the bottom half, scoring a pair on an RBI triple from exciting rookie Esteury Ruiz, who then scored on a Tony Kemp soft grounder to reclaim the Athletics’ one run lead.
That lead would only survive the two minutes between innings, as the Mariners put up a three-spot in the fourth to put this one to bed. Cal Raleigh walked, advanced to third on a Teoscar Hernández double, and scored on a bases-loaded walk issued to Trammell — his third RBI of the night. Kolten Wong then drove in Hernández and J.P. Crawford with a single to bring us to our final score, 5-3.
Boston Red Sox (19-14) 11, Toronto Blue Jays (18-14) 5
My, how fortunes can turn from one start to the next. Last time out Kevin Gausman tallied a career-high 13 strikeouts. This time, he got torched for eight runs on 10 hits in 3.1 innings. And while his offense wasn’t terrible — Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Daulton Varsho each had multi-hit nights with Vlad clobbering a two-run bomb in the fourth — it was the Boston offense that really brought the fireworks last night.
Masataka Yoshida, Justin Turner, Rafael Devers, and Jarren Duran all went 3-for-5. Yoshida seems to be adjusting to life stateside nicely, driving in three on the day including a solo shot in the first. Devers stung a two-run double as part of Boston’s five-run second, and brought his tally up to four driven in for the contest with a two-run blast in the eighth.
With the win, the Red Sox complete the four-game home sweep of the Blue Jays, leapfrogging their division rival for third in the AL East. Toronto is one game up on the Yankees for last.
Minnesota Twins (18-14) 7, Chicago White Sox (10-22) 3
What started out as a classic pitcher’s duel ended in a thrilling extra-innings showdown. Pablo López and Lucas Giolito battled for seven innings, with the former giving up two runs on six hits against eight strikeouts versus the latter’s one run on two hits with seven strikeouts. The game headed to extras knotted at two apiece and stayed that way until Chicago relievers Alex Colomé and Sammy Peralta combined to surrender five runs in the 12th inning as the Twins held on to win, 7-3.