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Yankees Rivalry Roundup: O’s survive Rays rally

Aaron Hicks’ resurgence is at least helping indirectly against a division foe.

Baltimore Orioles v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Yankees broke their losing streak on Tuesday, getting an ace performance from Gerrit Cole and some big hits by Anthony Rizzo and Billy McKinney. We’ll see if they can get it going in the other direction and start up a winning streak, but breaking up the monotony of the past week at least feels good. More importantly, it gave them a chance to move up in the standings for a change, so lets see how fortunate they got:

Baltimore Orioles (45-27) 8, Tampa Bay Rays (51-25) 6

There were two crucial pairs of innings for each offense, and Baltimore got theirs first. They put up a four-spot in the first inning, capped off by an Aaron Hicks three-run blast. Then Baltimore added two more runs in the second with an Anthony Santander two-run shot, and suddenly the O’s were up 6-0.

Ryan O’Hearn added a seventh run in the fifth inning on a solo homer, which felt at the time like a bit of a pile-on but quickly became necessary. The Rays got on the board in the bottom half of the inning, cobbling together a pair of hits after a hit-by-pitch to score two, and then exploded for four runs in the sixth. Just like that it was a one-run game, but Hicks’ day wasn’t done — he singled home a run in the eighth inning to provide a bit of insurance for Félix Bautista, who earned the four-out save.

Toronto Blue Jays (40-35) 2, Miami Marlins (42-32) 0

The first six innings of this game gave us an excellent pitchers’ duel between rookie Eury Pérez and Yusei Kikuchi. Both gave up no runs and no walks, with Kikuchi only allowing two hits to Pérez’s three while Pérez struck out nine and Kikuchi had six punchouts. The scoreless tie persisted after the bullpens entered for the seventh, but in the eighth Toronto broke through against Tanner Scott. Santiago Espinal got a one-out double and scored on an Ernie Clement single, and then George Springer singled him home as well. Jordan Romano allowed the tying run to step up to the plate, but converted the save nonetheless.

Houston Astros (40-34) 4, New York Mets (34-39) 2

Justin Verlander’s final line in his return to Houston wasn’t awful, but the Astros got to him early and got enough to coast the rest of the way. Corey Julks led off the third with a double and moved to third on a Martín Maldonado single, later scoring on a Jose Altuve sac fly. Then Alex Bregman stepped up to the plate and did this to his ex-teammate:

Verlander shook that rough inning off and threw scoreless frames in the fourth through sixth, but the Astros touched him up one more time in the seventh. Altuve did it to him this time, singling up the middle to score a run and make it 4-0. The Mets made it close in the eighth by finally getting to Framber Valdez, getting two men on with no outs and manufacturing one while driving in the other on a hit, but he still managed to hand the ball over to Houston’s closer after eight sparkling innings. Ryan Pressly walked a guy but did his job in securing the win and snapping Houston’s five-game losing streak.

Chicago White Sox (32-43) 7, Texas Rangers (45-28) 6

Nathan Eovaldi has been excellent for Texas and Dylan Cease has struggled after a Cy Young runner-up season, but their roles were reversed on Tuesday. Eovaldi gave up four runs in six innings, including two bombs to Eloy Jiménez and Elvis Andrus. Meanwhile, Cease gave up just two runs over an identical six innings, but things got off the rails once the bullpens got involved.

Keynan Middleton entered for the seventh and couldn’t record a single out, serving up four hits and two runs instead. Gregory Santos bailed him out, but then stayed on for the eighth and allowed two runs of his own. Then the controversial bottom of the eighth rolled around — Andrus drove home two more to tie the game, and then Zach Remillard singled to left. The baserunner at second went to go home and got easily thrown out at home, but Chicago challenged the play and got a violation called on Rangers catcher Jonah Heim for blocking the plate too early. The call was so egregious that even the White Sox broadcast couldn’t understand why it was made, but it decided the game and gave the White Sox the winning run.

Other Games:

Boston Red Sox (39-35) 10, Minnesota Twins (36-38) 4: Kutter Crawford and Brennan Bernardino combined to pitch six shutout innings for Boston while the offense built up a slow lead and then exploded for five runs in the seventh. Corey Kluber earned the classic blowout save by pitching three innings, but he continues to look broken after allowing all four runs on three homers.

Cleveland Guardians (34-38) 3, Oakland Athletics (19-56) 2 (10 innings): This had the potential to be Oakland’s 20th win of the year, but their 2-0 lead was erased in the seventh on a single from Amed Rosario and a double by José Ramírez. From there the predictable happened — the game went into extras and Oakland squandered their chance to score, allowing Cleveland to move the runners over and make it nice and easy for Andrés Giménez to slap a walk-off single.