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Yankees Rivalry Roundup: Benches clear in Houston, Phillies and O’s have exciting finale

Lots of runs were scored around the American League.

MLB: Texas Rangers at Houston Astros Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

With the Yankees finishing up their second Subway Series of the 2023 season, let’s check in around the league to see what their rivals have been up to since last night. Here are all the top American League teams and their scores from Wednesday!

Miami Marlins (55-48) 7, Tampa Bay Rays (62-43) 1

After the Rays took the first game of the series by snagging the lead early and never looking back, they came into today’s game looking to do the same, and boy, oh boy, did the opposite happen.

The Marlins took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second thanks to an RBI single from Jon Berti and an RBI double from Jacob Stallings. And even though Jose Siri put the Rays back within one run in the bottom of the third, that would be the only run the Rays would score all game. The Marlins would reach the final 7-1 line by the top of the sixth inning. Stallings had another RBI in the top of the fourth, then Dane Myers hit a sacrifice fly to make it 4-1 in the same inning. Luis Arraez unsurprisingly got onto the scoresheet with an RBI double, Bryan De La Cruz hit a solo home run (his 13th of the season), and to cap it all off, Arraez again hit an RBI single.

The biggest part of this game, however, was the fact that Sandy Alcantara pitched a complete game. Last year’s NL Cy Young winner, who has unfortunately had a down year in 2023, threw all nine innings, allowing only five hits, one earned run, walking only one batter, and striking out seven. Today was the right-hander’s second complete game this season. The Rays have really been taking their lumps in July, as they fell to a 5-15 record this month while falling out of first place.

Toronto Blue Jays (57-46) 8, Los Angeles Dodgers (58-43) 1

After the Dodgers put up eight runs on the Blue Jays yesterday in a close 8-7 win, it felt only right that the Blue Jays’ offense came out swinging, and they did.

The runs didn’t start until the top of the second inning, but the Jays didn’t look back. By the end of the fifth inning, they had scored five runs to the Dodgers’ zero. In the sixth, Danny Jansen added one more with a solo home run. James Outman had an RBI single to bring in the only run of the Dodgers’ day, and then Bo Bichette brought in two with a single to reach a line of 3-for-5 and the final score of 8-1 in favor of the Yankees’ rival from north of the border.

Two big wins and one close loss against a perennial powerhouse in the National League is huge for a young Blue Jays team trying to separate themselves from the bottom of the AL East. They hold the edge for the final Wild Card spot by 1.5 games over Boston and 2.5 up on New York.

Philadelphia Phillies (55-47) 6, Baltimore Orioles (62-40) 4

Thus far, the series between these two teams has been full of exciting baseball in the late stages of the games. Even though this one didn’t come down to the ninth inning, it was back and forth through most stages of the game.

Adley Rutschman got the scoring started for the Orioles, cranking a three-run homer over the left field wall at Citizens Bank Park in the top of the third inning. But the Phillies came back — two RBI doubles by Jake Cave and J.T. Realmuto brought home three runs and an RBI single from Nick Castellanos put the Phillies up 4-3. No more runs were scored until an Austin Hays RBI single in the top of the seventh, which the Phillies directly answered with Edmundo Sosa hitting his seventh blast of the season.

A Bryce Harper RBI single in the bottom of the seventh gave the Phillies the insurance they needed at 6-4, and that all but sealed the series win.

Texas Rangers (60-43) 13, Houston Astros (58-45) 5

The battle of the Texas teams got off to a hot start tonight and there were plenty of runs scored unlike what happened on Tuesday.

Alex Bregman kicked things off for the Astros in the bottom of the first with a three-run home run, but by the time the fifth inning struck, the Rangers had taken over the game with a 7-3 score. Nathaniel Lowe hit a two-run homer, Leody Taveras hit a two-run single, Marcus Semien hit a two-run homer, and then Sam Huff blasted a solo shot 443 feet.

The last of the runs came in the top of the fifth as well, with Adolis García blasting a grand slam after some more runs were tacked on beforehand. It’s the 21st time the Rangers have scored 10+ runs this season, which leads MLB. There was also some controversy afterwards, as Martín Maldonado took exception to the way García appreciated his blast and the two had some words at home plate that prompted both benches to clear and stand around. It was the typical baseball blustering as opposed to a real fight, but there’s been a lot of chirping in this series and it’s clear that these two cross-state teams have some real beef.

The Astros still took home the series win, but this decisive victory by the Rangers was one that they’ll use to build from, and the bench clearing shenanigans is bound to get people fired up about the rivalry.

Other games

Seattle Mariners (52-50) 8, Minnesota Twins (54-50) 7

The Mariners and the Twins sure had a battle until the very end in today’s final game of their series. The game was relatively close until Seattle broke it open in the middle innings, but Minnesota came storming back with some clutch situational hitting.

Teoscar Hernández got the scoring started in the top of the first inning and the score was 1-0 until Dylan Moore got into the action with a solo home run — his third bomb of the season. Julio Rodríguez also blasted a solo shot 422 feet to give the Mariners a 3-0 lead by the top of the third inning. The Twins put the game within one run thanks to a Christian Vázquez solo home run and an Edouard Julien solo home run both occurring in the bottom of the third. A Kolten Wong RBI single in the top of the fourth and another Twins solo home run, this time by Matt Wallner, made the game 4-3 by the bottom of the fourth inning.

At this point, Seattle decided to turn up the heat, scoring three runs in the top of the fifth inning thanks to Moore’s second home run of the day after Joe Ryan was pulled after 3.2 innings pitched.

Eugenio Suárez hit an RBI double in the top of the sixth inning to make the score 8-3, and even though the Twins ponied up another four runs to bring the game within one in the bottom of the sixth, it wasn’t enough, and the Mariners took the series win.

Boston Red Sox (55-47) 5, Atlanta Braves (64-36) 3

For the first five innings, nothing happened in this interleague matchup, but in the top of the sixth, the Braves sprinted out to a 3-0 lead thanks to Ozzie Albies’ three run homer (his 24th of the year, moving him into the top 10 of the home run leaderboard as of this writing). But the Red Sox came back with the help of two solo dingers from Rafael Devers and Tristan Casas. Justin Turner hit a two-run double to give the Sox a 4-3 lead, and then an Adam Duvall solo home run added some insurance.

The Red Sox beating arguably the best team in the National League in such a decisive fashion should be a big boost to their confidence heading into their series against the slumping San Francisco Giants. That’s not the kind of news the Yankees wanted as they try to get out of the AL East cellar (they remain one game back despite the Wednesday victory).

AL Central Rock Fight

Cleveland Guardians (51-51) 8, Kansas City Royals (29-75) 3

We gave the Twins a brighter spotlight with the highlight-reel ping-pong matchup against the Mariners, but we’ll touch on Cleveland for a second too. Seattle ekeing out that victory was a boon for the Guardians, who moved to within two games of Minnesota even while trading starting shortstop Amed Rosario to the Dodgers for Noah Syndergaard. José Ramírez belted two homers to down Kansas City and ensure an easy series victory.