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Yankees Rivalry Roundup: Rays reach 50 wins

Multiple missed opportunities by the A’s on Wednesday and Thursday allowed Tampa Bay to avoid a four-game sweep in Oakland.

Tampa Bay Rays v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Yankees had the day off after a particularly uninspiring display of baseball in the City, dropping two out of three to the White Sox and Red Sox before splitting a two-game Subway Series. They face a quick turnaround rematch against the Red Sox, this time in Boston, but before we get to that upcoming series, let’s recap the action among the Yankees’ AL rivals who did play yesterday.

Baltimore Orioles (43-25) 4, Toronto Blue Jays (38-32) 2

Danny Jansen did everything in his power jumpstart the offense, going 3-for-4 with solo home runs in the third and fifth innings to give his team a 2-1 lead. However, the rest of the Toronto offense — except for maybe Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and his pair of 112+ mph singles — failed to support the output of their catcher.

As for the Orioles, Adley Rutschman and Austin Hays contributed solo shots in the fifth and eighth respectively, the former going 3-for-5 on the contest to one-up the latter and his 2-for-5 day. Rutschman’s blast tied the game, three straight singles in the sixth gave them a lead, and Hays’ shot provided late insurance. Toronto had chances in the seventh and eighth putting on a pair of baserunners, but ace relievers Yennier Cano and Félix Bautista slammed the door each time to seal the 4-2 win, just as they’ve been doing all season.

Tampa Bay Rays (50-22) 4, Oakland Athletics (19-52) 3

A’s fans turned out en masse to voice their defiant cries of “Sell the team,” however it was not enough to power a shock upset over the class of the AL as the Rays came back from losses in the first two games of the series to split the four-game set at the Coliseum. Tampa Bay struck first in the second on an RBI single from Isaac Paredes followed by a Taylor Walls double before a Manny Margot solo shot extended the lead to 3-0. And with the way rookie starter Taj Bradley was dealing on the mound — 11 strikeouts in 4.1 innings — the Rays appeared to have this one locked up early.

However, the young righty’s command wavered in the fifth, issuing a pair of walks before a Paredes error loaded the bases. The home team made him pay, with back-to-back singles by Ryan Noda and Seth Brown clearing the bases and leveling the scores. In fact, Oakland had a golden opportunity to grab a late lead, but squandered it in an eerily similar fashion to an equally-deflating scenario the night before.

The day before yesterday, the A’s were losing 4-3 in the sixth but managed to load the bases, only for Aledmys Díaz to ground into the inning-ending double play. That played out in an almost identical manner on Thursday, with Oakland loading the bases down 4-3 in the seventh, this time Brown grounding into the twin killing. They would fail to score for the rest of either game, this time dropping the series finale, 4-3.

Los Angeles Angels (39-32) 5, Texas Rangers (42-26) 3

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but Shohei Ohtani almost single-handedly dragged his team to victory. It started with six strong innings against the division-leading Rangers, giving up two runs on six hits, and culminated with a 443-foot, two-run missile in the eighth to tie Pete Alonso for the MLB lead with 22. More importantly, it extended his team’s lead from one run to three runs.

Chad Wallach started things off with a solo shot off Nathan Eovaldi in the second while Mickey Moniak added two more, first on a fourth-inning RBI single followed by a seventh-inning solo home run. It continues the red hot streak for the outfielder — acquired in the 2022 deadline trade that sent Noah Syndergaard to the Phillies — as he’s now batting .319/.347/.681 with six home runs, 14 RBI, and a 178 wRC+ in 20 games for the Angels. It appears that Moniak is finally starting to make good on at least some of his first overall pick pedigree. Despite another strong start from de facto ace Eovaldi — three runs on five hits against nine strikeouts in seven innings — it wasn’t enough as the Rangers fell to the Halos, 5-3.

Washington Nationals (27-40) 4, Houston Astros (39-30) 1

A pitchers’ duel between MacKenzie Gore and Cristian Javier saw the former go 5.2 scoreless, allowing four hits and three walks against four strikeouts, only to be one-upped by his opponent, who gave Houston six scoreless giving up five hits and no walks with two strikeouts. Thus, in a battle of the bullpens it was Washington who came out on top to avoid a sweep as their hitters were able to get to the back end of Houston’s ‘pen.

Keibert Ruiz homered off closer Ryan Pressley in the ninth, but Houston responded in the bottom-half to send the game to extras. Washington apparently had a plane to catch, because they didn’t wait around. The Nats scored three runs off Phil Maton (all with one out) on two singles, a hit-by-pitch, a walk, and another single to clinch the series finale, 4-1.

Other Matchups

Detroit Tigers (28-39) 8, Minnesota Twins (35-34) 4

The Twins ambushed Matthew Boyd for four runs in the second, capped off by a Donovan Solano three-run jack. However, Detroit’s offense scored three each in the fifth and ninth, led by a pair of 2-for-5, two-RBI efforts from Spencer Torkelson and Javier Báez as they roared back to take the series opener, 8-4.

Cleveland Guardians (32-36) 8, San Diego Padres (34-34) 6

This was a topsy-turvy affair from the first pitch, with David Fry and Manny Machado trading three-run homers in the first inning. The Guardians ended up hanging a five-spot on Ryan Weathers in the first as the San Diego starter lasted just 1.2 innings, coughing up six runs on seven hits. The Padres slowly clawed back the deficit, trailing just 7-6 after seven innings, but an RBI single from Andrés Giménez in the eighth sealed the Guardians’ eventual 8-6 victory.