Due to extenuating circumstances, all three editors are tag-teaming the Rivalry Roundup this morning. Thanks for bearing with us!
Here’s how the Yankees’ top American League opponents fared on Tuesday night.
Philadelphia Phillies (54-47) 4, Baltimore Orioles (62-39) 3
These two teams went down to the wire in their first game of the series, and there was more ninth inning drama in store on Tuesday. The Orioles popped open a 2-0 lead midway through the third inning after RBI doubles from Austin Hays and Adam Frazier, but the Phillies got one back in the bottom of the third when they chained three straight hits off of Kyle Gibson. Gibson held firm until the sixth inning, when Bryce Harper took him deep to right to tie the game back up.
Baltimore had coughed up the lead, but Ryan O’Hearn put them back on top in the eighth inning with a solo shot off of Matt Strahm. That opened the door for Baltimore to put it away with the elite back of their bullpen, but for the second night in a row they opted against summoning closer Félix Bautista. Instead, they thought they could get by with Yennier Cano, who to be fair has been having an excellent season with a 1.48 ERA entering this appearance, but it wound up costing them. Cano got two of his first three batters out, but Bryson Stott slapped a ball down the right field line to tie the game and Alec Bohm ground one just outside of the reach of third baseman Jordan Westburg to win it.
Tampa Bay Rays (62-42) 4, Miami Marlins (54-48) 1
Few would’ve guessed at the start of the year how good both of these teams would be entering this matchup, but Florida baseball has been on an upswing in 2023. The Marlins were still the underdog entering the game though, and they dug themselves into an early hole in the second inning.
Brandon Lowe and Isaac Paredes started the rally with a pair of one-out singles, and after a forceout Josh Lowe singled up the middle to bring home the first run. Lowe then stole second, and Christian Bethancourt walked to load the bases for Yandy Díaz. The All-Star got served a 2-0 curveball that hung over the plate, and he served it into left field for a two-run double. Just like that, it was 3-0 Tampa Bay.
The Rays gifted Miami a run back in the top of the third thanks to a wild pitch from Tyler Glasnow, but they got it back for him in the sixth when Brandon Lowe smashed one deep to right. It was otherwise all in Tampa Bay’s control — Glasnow went seven strong with just the one mistake and a pair of hits to go along with two walks and eight strikeouts. Jason Adam and Pete Fairbanks both tossed scoreless innings in relief to close it out for the Rays, who pull even with Baltimore in the win column (but are still three back in the all-important loss column).
Houston Astros (58-44) 4, Texas Rangers (59-43) 3
This AL West race feels like it could down to the wire, so every game between these two teams is crucial. The Astros pulled out a 10-9 win in the opener, and cinched the series in game two, just holding off the Rangers at the end to secure the victory.
Houston got off to a fast start, going up 2-0 in the second against Yerry Rodríguez. It could have been more, though, if it weren’t for a leaping grab by Travis Jankowski at the left field wall:
The Rangers didn’t get on the board until the sixth, scratching one across on a fielder’s choice. Otherwise, rookie J.P. France was superb, yielding just the one run and five hits over seven innings. The Astros extended their lead thanks to a couple solo homers, one from Kyle Tucker in the sixth, and one from Martín Maldonado in the seventh.
Houston led 4-1 in the eighth, when the Rangers tried to launch a comeback. Jankowski appeared to drive in a run with a double, but after review, it was determined Corey Julks nabbed the runner at the plate:
That saved run would prove crucial, as closer Ryan Pressly gave up a two-run dinger to Mitch Garver in the ninth. But instead of tying the game, Garver’s fly only brought the Rangers agonizingly close, and Pressly ultimately shut the door on the 4-3 win. The Astros have pulled to within just one game of Texas, a crushing development for a Rangers team that has played great baseball for almost four months now, but may not have a division lead to show for it by tonight.
Los Angeles Dodgers (58-42) 8, Toronto Blue Jays (56-46) 7
Another fun interleague match, the Jays took the series opener, and the two sides played a barnburner deep into the night on Tuesday. The game started with a matchup between Chris Bassitt and Julio Urías. The Dodgers had Bassitt on the ropes a bit early, getting traffic on the basepaths thanks to four hits and our walks through the right-hander’s five innings of work. But Bassitt held LA to a Freddie Freeman solo shot and a Max Muncy sac fly, keeping the Dodgers from finding the big hit they needed.
Urias was improved after a disastrous last start, but still surrendered eight hits and three runs over six innings. He departed trailing 3-2, thanks to a Brandon Belt sac fly in the first, and Bo Bichette’s two-run smash in the third:
The score remained 3-2 headed into the eighth, where Alejandro Kirk doubled home an insurance run. J.D. Martinez struck back with a homer in the bottom half to keep the game tight, and we went to the ninth with the score 4-3.
There, the Jays seemed to put the game out of reach. Lefty Justin Bruihl entered for the Dodgers, and issued a pair of walks with one out. A Matt Chapman single loaded the bases with one out, bases Danny Jansen took the liberty of clearing for a 7-3 lead.
That took the air out of the building, but the Dodgers had one last rally in them. Three straight singles to open the ninth against former Yankee farmhand Erik Swanson plated a run, and after a flyout, a Will Smith infield single and a bases-loaded walk from Max Muncy made it 7-5. Swanson fanned Martinez to bring Toronto one out from victory, but the Dodgers tied the game on a hard groundball from Chris Taylor, one that deflected off first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr’s glove:
Some heads-up baserunning allowed Will Smith to score from second on the play, and we headed to extras.
More drama unfolded there, with Mookie Betts throwing out zombie runner Kevin Kiermaier at the plate. At last, in the bottom of the tenth, the Dodgers ended it in the bottom of the tenth, with Josh Outman, who reached base five times on the day, drilled the walk-off hit off the center-field wall. Mark that down as one of the craziest games of the season.
Los Angeles Angels (52-49) 7, Detroit Tigers (46-55) 6 (10 innings)
It looked like the Angels were going to breeze to their sixth victory in their last seven games when they carried a 6-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth. They beat up on trade target Eduardo Rodriguez with four runs on seven hits through five innings while Bally Sports suffered technical difficulties. (If Mike Moustakas drives in two in Detroit with no one watching outside the ballpark, does it make a sound?) Disaster struck for closer Carlos Estévez, though, as an error by second baseman Luis Rengifo combined with two singles, a double, and this horror show from Mickey Moniak ...
... to suddenly tie it up at 6-6.
Fortunately for the Angels, the Tigers are still not a very good ballclub. Matt Vierling struck out to strand the winning run in the ninth, Moniak atoned for his mistake by plating the automatic runner in the 10th on a double, and Aaron Loup retired the side in order for the save. No harm, no foul, Mickey.
Boston Red Sox (54-47) 7, Atlanta Braves (64-35) 1
The Red Sox began the day by dealing the struggling Kiké Hernández back to the Dodgers and then found themselves in a rain delay for over an hour and a half at Fenway. They took a 2-1 lead thanks to some shaky work by Atlanta’s Charlie Morton, but impressively TOOTBLAN’d themselves into a rally-killing triple play:
Bestowed with that gift of an escape, the best team in baseball did absolutely nothing. They had stranded the bases loaded in the first and then got blanked through five by Nick Pivetta (excelling in his new relief/occasional bulk guy role). Atlanta never did much of anything on offense and Boston tacked on with multiple RBI hits by Rafael Devers, a two-run single by Yu Chang, and a Masataka Yoshida blast in the ninth that put this to bed.
The rub is that the Red Sox are now a game ahead of the Yankees, who are all alone in last place in the AL East. Again. Fun!
AL Central Rock Fight
The Guardians only got four hits against Zack Greinke in five innings, but two of them were Bo Naylor homers that put Cleveland up, 4-1. Since Aaron Civale only allowed the single run in eight innings, that was more than enough against the lowly Royals. Thanks to a truly horrid bullpen collapse by the Twins, that helped the Guardians chip the AL Central lead down to three games.
Like the Angels, a late 6-2 lead went poof for the Twins; Jovani Moran failed to record an out in the eighth, and Julio Rodríguez tied it off Emilio Pagán with his second homer of the night. Unlike the Angels, there were no extra innings to bail Minnesota out. Eugenio Suárez plated two in the ninth and Seattle held on. (They’re only two back of the Yankees, by the way.)