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Yankees Rivalry Roundup: Jays finish resounding Pirates sweep

The Yankees sure embarrassed themselves yesterday, but how did everyone else do?

Toronto Blue Jays v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

It’s hard to lose when you’re winning by six and you have one of the best pitchers in baseball on the mound. But much like Han Solo, never tell the 2023 Yankees the odds. They’re just like Han Solo except if Han Solo was actually Mr. Bean.

That was probably the wackiest game of the day around Major League Baseball but what else was afoot among the Yankees’ top rivals?

Atlanta Braves (24-11) 3, Baltimore Orioles (22-12) 2 (12 innings)

The morning Peacock game turned out to be a bit of a marathon that didn’t end until the more normally scheduled matinees were nearing their conclusions. Neither Bryce Elder nor Tyler Wells went a full six innings, but they still limited the damage during their times on the mound. Wells gave up a first-inning bomb to Matt Olson and settled down from there, while the O’s scratched out a run in the fourth to tie it on an infield single, a double by Adam Frazier, and a groundball to shortstop.

The battle of the bullpens crawled along until the 12th. Both teams had surrendered runs in the 10th, but neither had put the opposing team away. A golden chance emerged for Atlanta in the home half of the 11th when Ronald Acuña Jr.’s missile throw to the third for a double play led to a scoreless frame. Give credit to Baltimore’s Mike Baumann though; he retired Acuña on a groundball and fanned each of Austin Riley and Ozzie Albies to keep the game going.

When the O’s again failed to score in the 12th though, the task fell to Cionel Pérez to match Baumann. No dice there, as Michael Harris II lined a walk-off double off the wall to give Atlanta a hard-fought series victory over Baltimore.

Toronto Blue Jays (21-14) 10, Pittsburgh Pirates (20-15) 1

Well, the 2023 Pittsburgh Pirates Moment was fun while it lasted, I guess. The Buccos were the senior circuit’s story of April by getting out to a surprising 20-8 start, but it’s now May 8th and they still haven’t won a game in the month yet. The Rays swept them out of the Trop last week and the Blue Jays did not make for very charitable guests to the Steel City over the weekend.

With a 10-1 blowout on Sunday afternoon that featured multi-hit games by six different Jays (Bo Bichette, Daulton Varsho, Brandon Belt, Whit Merrifield, Danny Jansen, and Kevin Kiermaier), Toronto combined to outscore Pittsburgh 22-3 across the three contests. Yusei Kikuchi spun 6.1 scoreless innings, and a five-run ninth powered by Varsho’s splashdown and Kiermaier’s dinger turned it from a legitimate 5-1 game into a 10-1 blowout.

With Boston’s loss to Philadelphia (more on that in a bit), the Jays have leapfrogged back in front of the Red Sox for third place in the AL East. But don’t feel too bad for Boston, as they’re still 2.5 games ahead of this lousy Yankees team in the cellar.

Seattle Mariners (17-17) 3, Houston Astros (17-17) 1

The Pirates are sure missing April, but as far as Seattle is concerned, that month is dead and buried. The Mariners made an emphatic statement of their return to the AL West mix by taking three out of the four from the hated Astros, including the last three in a row. Since Varsho walked them off at Rogers Centre to push them to 11-16 on April 29th, they’ve won six of seven.

Seattle starter Bryce Miller looked just as comfortable against Houston as he did against the moribund A’s during his MLB debut last week. He threw six zeroes up on the scoreboard, giving up just two hits and a walk.

Julio Rodríguez went 454 feet for Seattle’s first tally, but the other Mariners runs came on unlikely gifts from Houston. New Astro José Abreu’s dire start continued with an error on a ball that shot right through his legs, plating Eugenio Suárez, and Seattle’s third run scored on a balk by Astros pitcher Matt Gage. Each team now sits at .500, with the Rangers (20-13) and Angels (19-16) defying expectations by currently leading both of them in the AL West, even after Texas clobbered Los Angeles yesterday, 16-8. The Astros and M’s are still probably the best two teams in the division, but they need to pick up the pace and prove it.

Other Games

Philadelphia Phillies (16-19) 6,Boston Red Sox (21-15) 1: The Red Sox saw their eight-game winning streak snapped yesterday as the Phillies salvaged the finale of the series at Citizens Bank Park. Kyle Schwarber’s 434-foot shot in the sixth was the crowning blow, and Taijuan Walker did his part with six innings of one-run ball.

Cleveland Guardians (16-18) 2, Minnesota Twins (19-16) 0: Just when it seemed like the Twins would start to build some ground up on the defending AL Central champs, they dropped their second straight in Cleveland yesterday. Cal Quantrill no-hit Minnesota through 6.2 innings before Alex Kirilloff singled to break it up. The Guardians are still looking for their first no-no since Len Barker’s perfect game 42 years ago, but in the meantime, they’ll take the big win over a division rival.