If you watched yesterday’s listless Yankees loss to the Cardinals, well, you might be in need of a palette cleanser. As is always the case, the good thing about baseball is that there’s always so much of it, so there was plenty of great action on display on Sunday. Multiple games came down to the wire, with all of the Yankees’ main rivals playing games that were decided by one or two runs.
Boston Red Sox (43-42) 5, Toronto Blue Jays (45-40) 4
For whatever reason, the Blue Jays just can’t solve the Red Sox. Boston came into Toronto this weekend and swept them away, moving to 7-0 on the season versus the Jays.
To be fair to Toronto, Saturday’s game was decided by a razor-thin margin, as was Sunday’s contest. Jays ace Kevin Gausman didn’t have his best outing, but managed five innings of two-run ball, striking out seven. He departed with a 3-2 lead, and Brandon Belt’s solo homer in the sixth, his second dinger of the day, had Toronto up two and in good position to avoid the sweep.
But Erik Swanson couldn’t hold the lead. In the seventh, Justin Turner singled home a run, and a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. throwing error allowed the tying run to score. The sides headed to the ninth tied at four, where Alex Verdugo smashed a game-winning home run off of stud closer Jordan Romano:
The bad news is that every team in the AL East is again above .500, and that the Red Sox are playing some decent ball. The good news is that Boston’s gain is at least also the Yankees’ gain, as the Jays’ continued struggles keep the Yankees in playoff position.
Seattle Mariners (40-42) 7, Tampa Bay Rays (57-30) 6
The Rays staked rookie hurler Taj Bradley to a big early lead in this one and seemed well on track to securing a series win in Seattle. Randy Arozarena hit a solo homer in the first, Isaac Paredes did the same in the second, and the Rays hung a four-spot on Luis Castillo in the third to go up 6-1.
But the M’s crushed Bradley in their half of the third. Ty France and Jarred Kelenic hit RBI doubles, and Mike Ford stroked a two-run single to quickly make it a 6-5 game.
Castillo did a good job settling down after the early barrage from Tampa, shutting out the Rays for the last three innings of his day and exiting after six. That gave his offense more time to level the score, and that’s what they did in the sixth, on Tom Murphy’s solo shot.
And in the seventh, the Mariners didn’t even have to lift the bats off their shoulders to finally push into the lead. Reliever Jason Adam issued two walks and hit two batters, forcing in a run to give the Mariners a 7-6 advantage. Andres Muñoz and Paul Sewald, a formidable late-inning duo, each pitched perfect innings from there to deliver the tight win to Seattle.
Houston Astros (46-38) 5 , Texas Rangers (50-34) 3
Game three of this important four-game set between AL West rivals turned out to be a good one. Andrew Heaney fired five shutout innings, but the Astros rallied late and held off the Rangers for a tight 4-3 win.
An Adolis García sac fly in the first inning off Houston starter Shawn Dubin was the only scoring in the game for some time, with Heaney pitching very well against a subdued Astros lineup. But the Astros tied the game once Heaney departed, with Mauricio Dubón doubling home a run in the sixth off Grant Anderson make it 1-1.
The score held until the top of the eighth, where the Astros loaded the bases against Josh Sborz. There, Chas McCormick came up big with a bases-clearing triple:
Nathaniel Lowe kept the Rangers in it with a two-run shot off Bryan Abreu in the eighth, but Ryan Pressly came on to pitch a perfect ninth for the save.
Baltimore Orioles (49-33) 2, Minnesota Twins (42-43) 1
On Saturday, Baltimore’s pitching staff shoved, holding the Twins to just one run, but still lost, with Bailey Ober outdueling Kyle Bradish. For the second straight day, Orioles pitchers held Minnesota to one run, and this time, it was just barely enough, as the Orioles snapped a four-game losing streak and avoided getting swept for the first time this season.
It looked for a while, though, that we might be headed to another 1-0 finish, as Sonny Gray shut out the O’s over six innings and departed with a one-run lead. But the Orioles cobbled together a late rally, with Aaron Hicks continuing his Baltimore renaissance with a game-tying RBI single in the eighth off Jhoan Duran. Two batters later, Duran hit rookie Jordan Westburg with the bases loaded to force in the winning run.
All-World closer Félix Bautista came on with the newly-found lead for a clean ninth and his 22nd save. It wasn’t by much, but the Orioles are back in the win column after one of their first rough stretches of 2023.
- Los Angeles Angels (45-41) 5, Arizona Diamondbacks (50-35) 2: Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani did great things, and the Angels won. That’s a statement that just hasn’t been true often enough the last six years, but the Angels yesterday managed to snap a four-game losing streak and avoid a sweep. Trout hit his 18th homer of the year, and Ohtani hit a mammoth home run, his 31st of 2023. Reid Detmers earned the win, allowing three hits and two runs over six innings with nine strikeouts.
AL Central Rock Fight
Cleveland Guardians (41-42) 8, Chicago Cubs (39-43) 6 (10 innings)
Jameson Taillon’s struggles after leaving New York continue. The righty did strike out six against zero walks over five innings, but the Guardians tagged him for six runs. Yet the Cubs stayed in it, remarkably rallying in the ninth inning against the fire-breathing Emmanuel Clase, erasing a 6-2 deficit and sending the game to extras. Cleveland finally ended it there, with Josh Naylor’s 10th-inning two-run single cinching the game and putting the Guardians back into a tie in the pitiful AL Central.