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Yankees Rivalry Roundup: Rays blow ninth-inning lead, win anyway

The Rays pulled off yet another magic trick in Tampa.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Tampa Bay Rays Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The universe had other plans than the Yankees playing baseball on Wednesday night. Due to smoke from the Canadian wildfires making the air unhealthy and leaving the stadium looking like some kind of post-apocalyptic hellscape, last night’s scheduled game was pushed back for a planned doubleheader today.

However, there were some other places that didn’t have to deal with all that and did manage to get some action in. Here’s a look at what went down for some of the Yankees’ AL rivals yesterday.

Tampa Bay Rays (45-19) 2, Minnesota Twins (31-31) 1

After putting in a dominant pitching performance for most of the game, the Rays managed to blow a one-run lead in the top of the ninth...only to win it via a Randy Arozarena walk-off two pitches into the bottom of the ninth.

Using a bullpen game/opener spot, the Rays were close to flawless on the mound for most of the game. The Twins picked up one hit in the second and one in the third, but after that, Tampa Bay pitching retired 17 of the next 21 batters they faced. However, their offense only gave them one run of support thanks to a Isaac Paredes home run.

That seemed like it was going to be enough until the ninth inning. There, Rays’ pitcher Jason Adam got a little wild, hitting one batter with a a pitch and walking another. That allowed the Twins to even the second on their third hit of the game: a Royce Lewis RBI single. Another HBP then gave Minnesota the bases loaded with just one out. However, they squandered that chance when Ryan Jeffers grounded into a inning-ending double play, thanks to some ridiculous defense from the Rays.

That double play ended up being quite important considering what Arozarena then did immediately afterward. The Rays now sit eight games up on the Yankees and 6.5 up on the second-place O’s.

The loss also ensured that the Twins currently lead the AL Central with a record of exactly .500 and just 2.5 ahead of 28-33 Cleveland. Cool.

Toronto Blue Jays (35-28) 3, Houston Astros (36-26) 2

Alejandro Kirk’s RBI single in the seventh inning ended up being the difference as the Blue Jays outlasted the Astros.

Houston struck first in the game when Yordan Alvarez’s two-run homer in the fourth inning. Toronto got runs back in the fourth and sixth innings thanks to Bo Bichette and Brandon Belt solo shots. However, the game was also a bit of a pitchers’ duel with Chris Bassitt and Ronel Blanco both putting in good outings. Bassitt’s in particular was impressive, as he went eight innings, allowing just four hits and no walks.

The Jays managed to break the 2-2 tie on Kirk’s single in the seventh.

That ended up being enough. After Bassitt left, Jordan Romano came in for the ninth and worked around a Mauricio Dubón leadoff double to eventually seal the win. Suddenly, the Jays are creeping just a game and a half behind the Yankees with New York’s best player out of commission for at least a week and a half.

Milwaukee Brewers (34-28) 10, Baltimore Orioles (37-24) 2

A dominant performance from Corbin Burnes and double-digit runs from the Brewers’ offense allowed Milwaukee to crush the Orioles.

The Brewers’ offense put up 10 runs on 16 hits, which included a two-home run and four-hit game, five-RBI game from rookie Joey Wiemer.

All but one Brewer starter recorded a hit, and that ended up being more than enough offense thanks to Burnes.

The Milwaukee starter ended up going eight innings, allowing two hits and no walks while striking out nine. Baltimore ended up tacking on a couple runs off the Brewers’ bullpen in the ninth, but they didn’t come particularly close to making a game of it.

St. Louis Cardinals (26-37) 1, Texas Rangers (40-21) 0

The Rangers have played well enough so far this season, that they earned a promotion from the “Other Games” section of this post. However, they didn’t get off to the best start to their lives in the main body of the Rivalry Roundup. Texas wasted an excellent outing from Jon Gray as they were blanked by Jack Flaherty and a trio of Cardinals relievers.

Gray went all nine innings for the Rangers, allowing just one run on four hits while striking out 12. The lone blemish against him came on an Alec Burleson homer in the eighth inning.

The Texas offense had their chances to back him up with some run support, but they couldn’t do it. The Rangers went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left nine runners on base over the course of the game. That included leaving the bases loaded in the first inning and not taking advantage of runners on second and third in the sixth.

Other Games

San Diego Padres (29-33) 10, Seattle Mariners (30-31) 3: The Padres cracked double=digit runs on 17 hits and got six, two-hit shutout innings from Michael Wacha as they crushed the Mariners. On the offensive side of things, San Diego was led by Juan Soto, who went 5-for-5 with four RBI. Meanwhile, former Yankee Gary Sánchez went deep for the Padres, his fourth dinger since joining San Diego at the end of May.

Cleveland Guardians (28-33) 5, Boston Red Sox (31-31) 2: Three hit games from Amed Rosario and Josh Naylor helped take Cleveland past Boston. The Red Sox took leads in both the first and third inning, but the Guardians scored two runs in both the fourth and fifth innings, taking the lead. Across the last four innings, the Guardians’ bullpen allowed just one hit and two walks to seal the win.