The New York Yankees lost another game to the Boston Red Sox and gave up eight runs for the second game in a row in the process. They continue to fall back in the American League Wild Card race, and even Gerrit Cole on the mound couldn’t stave off whatever issues have been infecting the team. While the Yankees lost ground, plenty of the other teams competing with them pushed themselves ahead.
Toronto Blue Jays (68-56) 4, Cincinnati Reds (64-60) 3
One might have looked at the schedule today, seen this matchup, and thought, “Well, that looks like it’s going to either be really fun or really boring.” And these young teams delivered on the fun side of things.
The scoring didn’t get started until the fourth inning when Daulton Varsho brought home the runner from first to give the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead. Then, Whit Merrifield brought home a runner with an RBI single, and Bo Bichette, who returned to the lineup for the first time in three weeks, did the same thing as well. By the end of the top half of the inning, the Jays had a 3-0 lead. However, the Reds were not having any of that. TJ Friedl got the fun started with a solo home run, and then Elly De La Cruz did what he does best: hit the ball hard and run very fast. This time, he hit the ball hard and ran very fast around ALL the bases.
The play was scored as a triple and then a run on an error, but nonetheless, it was still an incredible showing of speed and skill.
In the top of the fifth, though, the Blue Jays took the lead again thanks to Davis Schneider’s third career blast, a solo shot to left field. The Reds managed to put two guys in scoring position in the bottom of the ninth inning, but Sal Romano closed the game out and put themselves even higher in the AL East standings.
Milwaukee Brewers (67-57) 6, Texas Rangers (72-51) 1
Milwaukee came out of the gates sprinting. Carlos Santana hit his 18th home run of the season, which was a solo blast that went 392 feet to right field in the top of the first. Then, Willy Adames hit an RBI single to give them a 2-0 cushion in the top of the third inning. Leody Taveras earned an RBI on a forceout play at first, where the shortstop Adames tried to get the double play and actually overthrew the first baseman Santana and a run scored. The run would have counted either way, but it kept the inning going a little longer for the Rangers, even though nothing would come of it.
Adames made up for the poor throw, though, as he drilled a solo home run 399 feet to right-center field off of Dane Dunning.
Andruw Monasterio hit an RBI single in the top of the sixth inning, Santana brought home another run with an RBI double in the top of the seventh, and finally, Mark Canha hit an RBI single to seal the deal. Adames was the player of the game for the Brewers, though, as he registered four hits in the game, which ties a career-high.
Seattle Mariners (68-55) 10, Houston Astros (70-54) 3
This American League West matchup always gives us some sort of fireworks, whether it’s on the scoreboard, on the field, or in this case, both! The Mariners' offense came out swinging from the get-go, scoring four runs by the top of the third inning on two RBI singles and a special RBI stripe from Cade Marlowe. The Astros came back with two solo home runs in the bottom of the fourth to cut the Mariners’ lead in half, though, one from Alex Bregman (his 20th of the season) and Yanier Diaz (his 17th of the season).
In the top of the fifth, Dylan Moore responded with a homer of his own, a two-run shot to right field.
Framber Valdez didn’t have a very strong outing on the mound, which prompted a hurl at the Mariners batter Jose Caballero, and that caused a scuffle, which made things even more interesting!
Benches clear at Minute Maid Park after Framber Valdez drills Jose Caballero pic.twitter.com/9LctozivAf— The Game Day MLB (@TheGameDayMLB) August 20, 2023
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Jose Altuve recorded the 2,000th hit of his career, but as far as offense for the Astros goes, that was about it. Julio Rodríguez had a four-hit game, Teoscar Hernández hit a two-run double in the top of the eighth. Finally, Moore hit his second home run of the game, and Sam Haggerty hit his first home run of the season both in the top of the ninth inning to add icing to the cake. Mauricio Dubón blasted a solo shot to left field just like his teammates did earlier in the game, but Eduard Bazardo closed out the game with a strikeout to Altuve and sealed the win.
Out of Reach:
The Orioles, the best team in the American League, played the Athletics, the worst team in the American League, and the game was a lot closer than I’m sure lots of O’s fans would have liked.
The game started with Ryan Mountcastle extending his on-base streak after a first-inning walk off former Yankees prospect, Ken Waldichuk, but it was the A’s that would strike first in the form of Aledmys Díaz’s third home run of the year (a solo shot) in the bottom of the second inning. The Orioles, though, would respond in the top of the fourth with two solo home runs of their own off the bats of Austin Hays and James McCann. But, Díaz would strike again for the A’s, hitting another solo shot to tie the game.
There wasn’t any offense until extra innings came around. In the top of the 10th, Mountcastle hit an RBI single to bring home the ghost runner from second base, and from there, the Orioles' offense took over. Jordan Westburg hit an RBI sacrifice fly to center field, Hays hit into a fielder’s choice that wasn’t successful to make the game 5-2. Then, McCann struck again, this time with a two-RBI single to finalize the score line of 7-2.
Los Angeles Angels (61-63) 7, Tampa Bay Rays (74-51) 6 (Game 1)
Today’s doubleheader between the Angels and the Rays was a tale of two very different games. The Rays took an early lead in this game, but the Angels fought back all the way and then some, ending the bottom of the third with a 6-2 lead despite being down 2-0 by the bottom of the first. Tampa fought back to within one run by the top of the fourth thanks to two home runs (a Josh Lowe solo homer and René Pinto two-run home run). Brandon Drury hit a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth to put Los Angeles up 7-5, and despite a Jonathan Aranda solo home run to bring the game within one run again, the Angels were able to hang on to win the first game.
Tampa Bay Rays (75-51) 18, Los Angeles Angels (61-64), 4
This game was ... not as close. No runs were scored by either team until the top of the fourth inning when the Rays struck first on an Osleivis Basabe RBI double and a Josh Lowe sacrifice ground ball to second base. The Rays put up four more runs in the fifth inning, and despite one run for the Angels in the bottom of the fifth on a Hunter Renfroe solo home run, Tampa Bay made sure not to let the Angels back into the game, scoring seven runs in the top of the sixth inning, making the game out of reach. Drury hit a three-run home run for the Angels in the bottom of the eighth, but at that point, the game was all but over at 17-4. The Rays added one run on a sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth and 18-4 was the final score.
AL Central Rock Fight:
Kerry Carpenter started the game off hot for the Tigers with a three-run homer off right-hander Tanner Bibee. Kole Calhoun hit his first home run with the Guardians as a response in the bottom of the first inning, and Gabriel Arias scored on a broken play involving some defensive errors, but Javier Báez hit a solo shot to cushion the Tigers' lead. Despite a Steven Kwan RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Guardians were not able to get over the hump even after loading the bases in the same inning and putting runners on second and third in the bottom of the eighth.
The Twins went up 2-0 early in the game, and Sonny Gray had a perfect game up until the top of the sixth inning, but after having it broken, the Pirates' offense took over, scoring three runs in the inning and then another run in the top of the seventh inning. Jorge Polanco hit a sacrifice fly to bring the game to 4-3, but an Andrew McCutchen three-run home run in the top of the ninth put the game out of reach.