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Yankees Rivalry Roundup: Mullins carries the O’s, Ohtani downs the ‘Stros

Shohei Ohtani launched his 41st dinger of the year, while the Rangers were walked off in San Francisco.

Los Angeles Angels v Houston Astros Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

In a season full of low lights, the Yankees may found a way to top themselves with perhaps their worst loss of the year in Miami on Sunday. You’d be forgiven for not wanting much to do with baseball after watching Clay Holmes immolate in the ninth inning against the Marlins, and if you did, you missed some other, less infuriating action across the AL. For those who have the stomach, let’s go through the games from the Yankees’ nominal rivals.

Toronto Blue Jays (66-54) 11, Chicago Cubs (61-57) 4

Making just his third start since returning from Tommy John surgery, Hyun-Jin Ryu looked shaky out of the blocks. Dansby Swanson doubled home two in the first to put Toronto in a quick hole. But Ryu would allow just one more hit the rest of the way, tossing five solid innings. Meanwhile, the Jays lineup crushed Jameson Taillon, whose rough season in Chicago continued. Toronto had him for eight runs in three-plus frames, with Daulton Varsho doing the bulk of the damage with a three-run homer in the third and a two-run single in the fourth:

In an 8-2 hole after Taillon’s exit, the Cubs never really put together a rally. They pulled to within 8-4 on Patrick Wisdom’s two-run homer in the seventh, but the Jays piled on three more in the eighth to remove any suspense.

Cleveland Guardians (57-62) 9, Tampa Bay Rays (71-49) 2

After getting their hearts broken on back-to-back nights, the Guardians finally exacted some revenge on the Rays. They jumped all over Tampa, hanging six runs on starter Zach Eflin and three more on reliever Jake Diekman. Andres Gimenez and Gabriel Arias each homered, with Gimenez finishing 4-for-5 with four RBI. Oscar Gonzalez chipped in a trio of doubles, driving in two.

It was all more than enough for Tanner Bibee, who fired seven pretty clean innings. The Rays managed seven hits and two runs off Bibee, but never really threatened to get back into the game after falling behind 9-1 in the fifth inning. It’s been a strong rookie season for Bibee, who lowered his ERA to 2.90.

Baltimore Orioles (72-45) 5, Seattle Mariners (63-53) 3

These two clubs staged a tight one on Saturday night, with that game going into extra innings tied at zero. We had another well-pitched matchup on Sunday, as Kyle Bradish tossed six innings of two-run ball, while Bryce Miller went stride for stride, allowing two runs, one earned, over 5.2 frames.

We entered the ninth all knotted up at two, and that’s when the fireworks started. With two on and one out, Andres Munoz balked the runners up. Then, Adley Rutschman grounded one right back to Munoz, who fired home to try and gun down Jorge Mateo, but Mateo just barely snuck his hand in there with the go-ahead run:

Michael Baumann was called on to protect the lead in the bottom half, and with one out and none on, he surrendered a high fly to center off the bat of Ty France. It looked as though the game would be tied, but Cedric Mullins made a flat-out sensational grab to keep the Orioles in front:

Yet before the O’s could even really soak in the thrill of a game-saving, ninth-inning robbery, just two pitches later, rookie Dominic Canzone cranked the first homer of his Mariners career, a high-arching, majestic fly to right:

Tie game! With that, the teams went to extras for the second straight day. Mullins, perhaps feeling slighted that his stellar grab the inning before wasn’t enough to cinch the game, fully took matters into his own hands:

It’s hard to compile a more phenomenal 15 minutes or so than what Mullins accomplished there: a terrific game-saving catch, and a game-winning home run in the next half inning. Shintaro Fujinami came on for the save, nailing down three outs in the 10th to give the Orioles an incredible win. Mark this game down for after the season when compiling a list of the absolute best games of the year.

Los Angeles Angels (59-60) 2, Houston Astros (68-51) 1

The Angels couldn’t do much in this one, as they were largely quieted by Houston’s staff. Jose Urquidy tossed five solid innings, yielding one run while striking out seven and walking none. Five relievers followed Urquidy, and on the whole the Angels could manage just four hits on the day.

But they did just enough, making five shutout innings from Chase Silseth stand up. Mickey Moniak doubled home a run in the third, and in the sixth, Shohei Ohtani launched a mammoth home run, 448 feet to dead center:

Ohtani’s 41st of the year put the Angels up 2-0, and LA’s bullpen was just able to hold on. Jose Soriano uncorked a run-scoring wild pitch in the bottom of the sixth to put Houston on the board, but the Astros otherwise went quietly. The Astros could only get the tying run into scoring position in the eighth, but Matt Moore struck out Mauricio Dubon to end that threat.

San Francisco Giants (63-55) 3, Texas Rangers (70-48) 2

With the Rangers going for a sweep in this one, we had ourselves a classic pitchers’ duel. Dane Dunning, two starts after striking out 11 over 7.2 dominant innings against the White Sox, shoved again, striking out 12 more over seven frames, allowing seven hits and walking none.

The only blemish on Dunning’s line came on a second-inning solo shot off the bat of Michael Conforto:

But Logan Webb was superb on the other side. Webb put the first two runners of the game on, but worked out the of the jam and didn’t find himself in trouble for almost the entirety of the rest of the contest. Leading 1-0, Webb took the mound in the ninth trying to finish off a masterpiece. He retired the first two batters of the inning, and had two strikes on little-known outfielder J.P. Martinez. The 27-year-old rookie denied Webb on a great two-strike swing, lining a double to keep the Rangers alive.

Gabe Kapler went to his closer Camilo Doval from there, but the Rangers found a way to tie the game on a groundball. In an 0-1 count, Martinez broke for the third, and Ezequiel Duran grounded one in the hole between short and third. Brandon Crawford fielded and fired quickly, but Duran beat out the throw, and Martinez, never having broken stride, scored from second on an infield single to tie the game:

Things got weird in the 10th, when, with runners on the corners, Doval balked in a run to put Texas ahead. In the bottom half, the Rangers called on their closer Will Smith to finish things, and he had them on the precipice after setting down the first two hitters. But with two down, rookie Patrick Bailey smoked a line drive down the left field line that barely cleared the wall:

In the blink of an eye, a Rangers win turned into a Giants win, as Texas was denied the sweep in SF.

Other Games:

Boston Red Sox (62-56) 6, Detroit Tigers (53-65) 2: The Red Sox greeted Eduardo Rodriguez, once a rotation stalwart in Boston, quite rudely in a return trip to Fenway, pounding out 10 hits and six runs off Rodriguez. Trevor Story went 4-for-4 with three doubles, while Adam Duvall drove in four, including a three-run dinger off of Rodriguez. Akil Baddoo homered for the Tigers, who never threatened all that much after falling behind 6-2 after five.

AL Central Rock Fight

Minnesota Twins (62-58) 3, Philadelphia Phillies (65-54) 0

A day after Pablo López shut out Philadelphia over six, Sonny Gray repeated the trick, firing six shutout of his own, with seven strikeouts against three walks and two hits. The Twins rode that great starting pitching to a series win, with Jordan Luplow homering off Ranger Suarez in the first, and Jorge Polanco driving in a pair as part of a two-hit effort. With the win, Minnesota maintained its 4.5-game lead in the AL Central.