Some find doubleheader splits unsatisfying; it’s a long day’s worth of work that leaves both teams where they were before. In any case, the Yankees split with the Cardinals yesterday, but while the two teams experienced stasis on Saturday, the rest of the league continued to see things shift. It was another day full of rallies, pitchers duels, and even thrilling game-ending plays. Let’s go through it all.
Boston Red Sox (42-42) 7, Toronto Blue Jays (45-39) 6
The Jays and Sox played a thriller, with Boston prevailing on the final play of the game as Alex Verdugo gunned down Bo Bichette on a play at the plate.
Kenley Jensen was on the mound for the Red Sox in the ninth, having entered with two outs and two on in the eighth and Boston leading 6-5. Jansen escaped that jam, and found himself with a two-run lead after Justin Turner added a key insurance run with a solo homer in the top half. But Jansen ran into trouble, with a single and a double putting the tying runs in scoring position.
Vlad Guerrero Jr. lined a hard single to right to score one with two out, but Verdugo came up throwing and fired a perfect throw to Connor Wong to send the Toronto crowd home deflated:
The Jays had done well to come even that close, rallying from an early deficit. Trailing 6-2 in the seventh, Matt Chapman scored on an error to cut into Boston’s lead, and the next inning, Chapman brought Toronto that much closer with a two-run shot. It seemed their rally would be complete once Guerrero got ahold of a Jansen cutter, but alas, it was the Red Sox that prevailed at the death.
Seattle Mariners (39-42) 8, Tampa Bay Rays (57-29) 3
This had the makings of a quality pitching matchup, and for the most part Tyler Glasnow and George Kirby delivered. Kirby shut out the Rays over the first five innings, and Seattle held a 2-0 lead despite Glasnow looking awfully impressive at times, missing bats with regularity, as the right-hander does when he’s on.
Kirby finally cracked in the sixth though, with Luke Raley going deep for a two-run homer to level the game. That would be the only blemish on his line, as Kirby finished with seven innings of two-run ball, with seven strikeouts against two walks and two hits.
Seattle got right back to Glasnow in the bottom of the sixth, ultimately chasing Glasnow after Jarred Kelenic’s RBI single put the M’s back in front. Glasnow’s line was still quite strong, coming in at 5.2 innings, three runs and 11 strikeouts versus one walk.
The Mariners piled on from there. Teoscar Hernández doubled home two in the seventh, and Eugenio Suarez added one with a sac fly. RBI singles in the eighth from J.P. Crawford and Julio Rodriguez iced things for the Mariners.
Texas Rangers (50-33) 5, Houston Astros (45-38) 2
With a five-game division lead entering this four-game home set, the Rangers had a chance to really separate themselves from the Astros. Houston took the series opener on Friday, but Nathan Eovaldi stepped up in game two to get the Rangers back in the win column.
It’s been a stellar 2023 on the whole for Eovaldi, who kept the good times rolling with seven shutout innings. He’s now got a 2.64 ERA on the year, and has to rank among the more impactful free agent signings of the past offseason.
Jonah Heim, another 2023 breakout, went 2-for-3 with two doubles, and lineup cornerstones Corey Seager, Marcus Semien and Josh Jung all drove in runs to provide enough support for Eovaldi. Chalk it up as another solid, balanced win for a Texas team that has made a habit of winning many such games.
Minnesota Twins (42-42) 1, Baltimore Orioles (48-33) 0
Bailey Ober vs. Kyle Bradish doesn’t exactly scream “pitchers duel”. But both pitchers have quietly had quality seasons, and on Saturday, Ober just barely outdueled Bradish to send the Orioles to their fourth straight loss.
Ober tossed a gem, shutting out Baltimore over seven innings, striking out eight, walking none and allowing just two hits. Bradish held his own, scattering seven hits over six innings of one-run ball. The lone run he allowed came on a long ball from Joey Gallo, his 15th of the year:
The win pulled the Twins up to .500, and though the Orioles are reeling a bit now, they banked so many wins early that they still are in solid position in the AL East.
- Arizona Diamondbacks (50-34) 3, Los Angeles Angels (44-41) 1: The Angels slipped back once again, going entirely silent against Arizona starter Ryne Nelson. The young righty befuddled the Angels over 7.1 innings of one-run ball, with the blemish coming via Anthony Rendon’s solo homer, just his second of the year. Jake McCarthy and Dominic Fletcher drove in runs to support Nelson and do just enough to propel the NL West-leading Diamondbacks.
AL Central Rock Fight
Cleveland Guardians (40-42) 6, Chicago Cubs (38-43) 0
The typically sleepy Cleveland offense had its second outburst in three days, crushing Marcus Stroman for six runs over 5.2 innings. It was in support of impressive rookie Tanner Bibee, who fired 5.2 shutout with nine strikeouts. The Guardians pull to within two games of the vaunted .500 mark, and with that, remain one game behind Minnesota for first place in the AL Central.