The Yankees needed a pick-me-up after their disappointing series against the Rays, and they got just that in the form of the A’s. The battle of the last-place teams showcased the difference between last place in the AL West versus the AL East, though the Athletics had some fight in them for a couple of innings.
While that was going on, there was plenty of action around the rest of the league. One game in particular stood out in the Yankees’ interests, so lets start off right there:
Tampa Bay Rays (29-7) 3, Baltimore Orioles (22-13) 0
The Rays traveled to Camden for a faceoff featuring the two best records in the AL entering the day, a wild development for both teams from what their expectations were a little over a month ago. The Rays got the better of the O’s in this one, and they got the win off the backs of their dominant pitching staff.
Shane McClanahan got the start and got to work maneuvering through Baltimore’s lineup, tossing six shutout innings. He did get into trouble at a couple points, handing out a pair of two-out walks in the second and allowing the first two batters to reach base in the fourth inning. He never bent, however, getting a flyout and inducing a double-play in those respective spots, and from there a trio of Colin Poche, Kevin Kelly, and Jason Adam combined to take the shutout the distance. Offensively, a pair of solo homers sandwiched a sacrifice fly for the Rays, gradually stretching out their lead until they closed it out.
Los Angeles Angels (20-16) 6, Houston Astros (17-18) 4
The Astros may have gotten off to a slow start last year as well, but they didn’t face the competition within their own division that they’ve faced so far this year. The Angels are one of the teams that we’ve all been eyeing for years to see if they’ll figure it out, and they’ve got a decent chance again this year. They helped their odds out with a win against the team that has run the West for years in the series opener.
Two-thirds of the Angel’s top of the lineup delivered, a ratio that they’re used to seeing, but this time they made due without much from franchise icon Mike Trout. Instead, Taylor Ward simply went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and Shohei Ohtani drove him in twice with two doubles. Hunter Renfroe added a solo shot to the mix, and Brandon Drury got the insurance runs started with a triple in the eighth and came around on a sacrifice fly.
The Astros, meanwhile, had one big inning but otherwise couldn’t manage much on offense. After making two quick outs in the third inning, the Astros rattled off four straight hits and scored three, including three straight extra-base hits courtesy of Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, and José Abreu. Outside of that frame, Patrick Sandoval kept the high-powered ‘Stros from stringing together a rally, only getting beat on a David Hensley solo shot in the fifth.
Texas Rangers (21-13) 2, Seattle Mariners (17-18) 1: Speaking of teams contending out west, welcome to the recap Texas! The Rangers have played their way into the discussion after a major makeover in the offseason, and they kept rolling with a lights-out performance from Jon Gray. Gray tossed seven innings and went toe-to-toe with Logan Gilbert, whose gem of an outing unraveled in the seventh inning and allowed Texas to slip ahead on a sacrifice fly and a single.
Detroit Tigers (16-18) 6, Cleveland Guardians (16-19) 2: The Guardians are scuffling, and they ran into a fellow mid-tier team in the Tigers. Shenanigans ensued, including perhaps the most unfortunate thrown ball since Gary Sánchez (the newest Met) caught David Robertson in that game. Detroit got their revenge in the next inning though, chaining five hits in six at-bats for a three-spot, and Riley Greene added some insurance runs throughout the game.