The Yankees were uninspiring on deadline day in their trades, making a minor move for White Sox reliever Keynan Middleton and picking up Spencer Howard for just cash from Texas. They were also uninspiring on the field afterwards, dropping their fourth game in five tries with another slow burn against the Rays. Naturally, their competition was more interesting in both facets yesterday, but we’re going to go over the game portion of that equation.
Baltimore Orioles (66-41) 13, Toronto Blue Jays (59-49) 3
Hyun-Jin Ryu made his return from Tommy John surgery in this start, and he was greeted with some hard contact to start the game. Adley Rutschman and Ryan Mountcastle smacked back-to-back doubles to start the game, and Mountcastle eventually scored on a Gunnar Henderson groundout to make it 2-0 off the bat. Rutschman made it 3-0 in the second with an RBI single, but from there Ryu settled down for a bit, working a clean third, fourth, and fifth innings.
Meanwhile, the Jays got to work cleaning the slate for their starter. Danny Jansen launched a two-run homer in the third to cut the deficit, and Brandon Belt followed with a solo shot in the fourth to tie it. Unfortunately, the Jays let Ryu go back out for the sixth inning, and he only lasted one batter. Henderson flipped a 2-2 offering just past the foul pole in right field to give the O’s the lead back, and Ryu’s day was done.
Once the Jays went to their bullpen, what was a close game spiraled out of control rapidly. Génesis Cabrera got the ball in the seventh and allowed three runs via Mountcastle and Henderson hits, Nate Pearson coughed up a grand slam to Anthony Santander in the eighth, and newest Blue Jay Jordan Hicks was greeted with a pair of runs in the ninth as well. The Orioles rode Kyle Bradish for seven strong in the meantime and closed out their two bullpen innings without incident for the blowout win.
Houston Astros (61-47) 2, Cleveland Guardians (53-55) 0
The vibes were certainly immaculate in Houston heading into this game. They’ve been closing in on the Rangers for the division lead for months and have jumped back into a playoff spot, and they solidified their playoff push by trading for their former ace Justin Verlander from the Mets, effectively paying a couple solid prospects for the Mets to help them pay down his contract.
All of that was just the lead-up to a statement win to open up August, and it was thanks to Framber Valdez. Valdez entered the game on a downspin, having allowed 15 runs over 15 innings in his last three starts. The Guardians never got close to touching him on this night, however — a walk to Oscar Gonzalez in the fifth was the only baserunner Cleveland got, and he was erased on a double play. Valdez cruised to a no-hitter in Maddux style, throwing just 93 pitches to accomplish the feat. Kyle Tucker got him all the offense he’d need in the third with a two-run single off of Gavin Williams, and from there it was nothing but dominance.
Texas Rangers (61-46) 2, Chicago White Sox (43-65) 0
The Rangers will have to fight tooth and nail to defend their slim lead in the AL West, even after getting Max Scherzer on Monday. They faced the lifeless White Sox, fresh off of selling at the deadline, and took care of business in a close affair.
Andrew Heaney was tasked with shutting down Chicago’s offense and he excelled, going six innings without allowing a run and just two hits as his only blemishes. The remainder of Chicago’s at-bats often ended in strikeouts, as Heaney racked up 11 of them including two in the sixth to end his outing. The Rangers offense was unusually stoic behind him, but their power still broke through at a couple of key moments. Mitch Garver went deep in the fifth inning to get Texas on the board, and then Adolis Garcia went yard in the seventh to double the lead. The trio of Josh Sborz, Aroldis Chapman, and Will Smith handled the later innings and preserved the shutout (and Texas’ division lead, for now).
Boston Red Sox (57-50) 6, Seattle Mariners (55-52) 4: Brayan Bello was just efficient enough for Boston to outlast Seattle, tossing six innings of four-run ball. He scattered eight hits over that span and got burned for a two-run homer in the fifth inning against Eugenio Suárez, but struck out seven and managed to contain the rest of Seattle’s rallies. Meanwhile, Alex Verdugo and Reese McGuire both hit bombs to lead Boston’s offense against Bryce Miller, who got left out for all six runs in 5.2 innings.
Atlanta Braves (68-37) 5, Los Angeles Angels (56-52) 1: Buying at the deadline was a bold move for the Angels, but they didn’t get enough to overpower the top team in baseball. Spencer Strider was his usual effective self, tossing 6.2 innings and striking out nine in a winning effort. Michael Harris II had himself a day for the Braves’ offense, launching a pair of solo shots, and Orlando Arcia’s two-run bomb in the seventh put a bow on another Atlanta win.
AL Central Rock Fight
Despite not making any key additions to this team, the Twins may have been declared the winners of the AL Central this week purely because they were the only team in the division that didn’t sell at the deadline. As far as this game went, Minnesota rallied for two runs in the seventh on a Donovan Solano single and survived in the ninth after Tyler O’Neill hit a solo shot to close within a run.