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Yankees Rivalry Roundup: Rays, Jays, O’s and Astros all fall

Tuesday was a rough day for AL Wild Card hopefuls.

Oakland Athletics v Houston Astros Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

They did it! The Yankees completed their first doubleheader sweep at Fenway since 2006, barely hanging on to a 3-2 lead in the first game before riding Carlos Rodón’s best start in pinstripes to a 4-1 victory. The pair of victories lock the Yankees and Red Sox in a tie for fourth place, giving the Yankees a chance to grab an outright lead in the division over their rivals with results in the final two games of the series. Other teams around the AL weren’t so lucky, so let’s see how those results impact the Wild Card race.

St. Louis Cardinals (64-91) 5, Baltimore Orioles (91-53) 2

John Means looked decent in his third start back from Tommy John recovery, holding the Cardinals to three runs on five hits in five innings. However, the grizzled veteran Adam Wainwright one-upped him with five innings of two-run ball. St. Louis jumped out to a 3-0 lead early on solo shots by Paul Goldschmidt and Richie Palacios in the first and fourth, respectively, sandwiched around a Jordan Walker sac fly in the second after the first three batters reached on singles.

The Orioles cut it to within one, scoring two in the fifth on an Anthony Santander RBI single and Ryan O’Hearn RBI groundout. However, St. Louis responded by scoring two of their own in seventh on a Lars Nootbaar RBI single and Palacio’s second solo shot of the contest — both coming after he subbed in for Nolan Gorman after the starting right fielder exited with hamstring tightness.

Texas Rangers (80-64) 6, Toronto Blue Jays (80-65) 3

Max Scherzer compiled one of his better starts with the Rangers, holding the Blue Jays scoreless across 5.1 innings, but had to exit his start in the sixth with right triceps spasms. Hyun Jin Ryu wasn’t so lucky, coughing up three runs on five hits in six innings. Corey Seager continued his red-hot tear since coming off the IL, logging another three hits to raise his batting average to .341, behind only Luis Arraez for the MLB lead among hitters with at least 450 plate appearances.

The first was a single in the fourth, setting up a Robbie Grossman two-run blast to open the scoring. He’d add a pair of doubles to round out his night. From there, the two offenses traded blows, Toronto only able to equal the runs scored by their opponents in the top of the seventh and ninth. The Rangers have now won four in a row after a horrid 4-21 stretch, grabbing a half-game lead over the Blue Jays for the second Wild Card spot.

Minnesota Twins (76-69) 3, Tampa Bay Rays (89-57) 2

Joe Ryan and Louis Varland combined to give the Twins seven innings of two-run ball with ten strikeouts, nullifying Zack Littell and his seven innings of three-run ball for the Rays. Edouard Julien kicked things off with a solo shot in the third to put the Twins up, 1-0, but the Rays responded scoring in the fourth and fifth on a Josh Lowe RBI single and René Pinto solo shot, respectively.

Tampa held the lead until the seventh, when Max Kepler singled to set up a Willi Castro two-run homer, allowing Caleb Thielbar and Jhoan Duran to pitch a perfect eighth and ninth to seal the Twins’ 3-2 victory.

Oakland Athletics (79-63) 6, Houston Astros (44-99) 2

What should have been a walk in the park for Justin Verlander facing the lowly Oakland offense turned into a rough ride, with the future first ballot Hall of Famer yielding five runs on eight hits in seven innings. Three of those came in the first on a Ryan Noda RBI single and Shea Langeliers two-run bomb. Oakland followed that up with a Seth Brown RBI double in the fifth and Tony Kemp home run to lead off the seventh.

Meanwhile, old friend JP Sears held down the potent Houston offense to the tune of two runs on five hits in six innings and a trio of relievers were perfect in the final three frames to lock up the 6-2 victory and reduce the Astros’ lead in the AL West to one game.

Seattle Mariners (80-65) 8, Los Angeles Angels (68-78) 0

The Mariners issued a rude welcome to Angels starter Patrick Sandoval, tagging him for eight runs (five earned) on ten hits in five innings. Every member of the Mariners’ starting lineup registered a hit save for nine-hole hitter José Caballero. Seattle did most of their scoring in bunches, opening affairs with a three-run third on three straight RBI hits with two outs. This was only a prelude for their four-run salvo in the fourth, as they loaded the bases with three straight singles to set up a bases-clearing double by J.P. Crawford, himself driven in on Julio Rodríguez’s RBI single.

Eugenio Suárez wrapped up scoring with a solo shot in the fifth. On the pitching side, rookie Bryan Woo tossed 5.2 scoreless innings allowing four hits and no walks against eight strikeouts, lining up 3.1 perfect innings from Eduard Bazardo and Dominic Leone to close out the easy win, moving Seattle into a tie with the Blue Jays for the final Wild Card berth.