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Yankees Rivalry Roundup: Rangers wrap up seismic sweep in Toronto

Every game is vital at this point, and the Jays just dropped four of them in a row at home to a Wild Card rival.

Texas Rangers v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images

After a couple of rainouts, the Yankees finally finished their series against the Red Sox. Despite dropping the matinee of their doubleheader, they came back and won the series with a victory in the second game. There was very limited action among the more relevant American League teams, but still, the matchups that were available to us had some excellent storylines.

Tampa Bay Rays (91-57) 4, Baltimore Orioles (91-55) 3

The two best teams in the AL East faced off in the first game of their four-game set in the Charm City, and it didn’t disappoint. After a great defensive play by Cedric Mullins in center field to keep a run from scoring for the Rays in the top of the second, Ryan O’Hearn came back in the bottom half of the inning and blasted a solo shot 409 feet to right field off pitcher Aaron Civale to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead.

The Rays came back with punches of their own, as they so often do. In the top of the third, Brandon Lowe started the scoring with an RBI single that brought Luke Raley across home plate, sliding head first. Then, Randy Arozarena did the things that he does best: hit the ball well and run fast.

The All-Star pushed the ball down the right field line and motored around the bases to edge out a triple, bringing in the two players that were on base ahead of him, giving the Rays a 3-1 lead.

Rookie Gunnar Henderson has made his presence felt in the Orioles lineup essentially since the moment he debuted late in 2022. Last night, he did the same thing, hitting a solo shot in the bottom of the fourth to cut into the Tampa Bay advantage, and a fielder’s choice by Adam Frazier an inning later knotted it up at 3-3.

The final blow would be struck by Raley in the seventh, just a couple hours after scoring the first run of the game. He hit a solo home run to center field out of the reach of the outstretched arm of Mullins, and the game ended 4-3 when Pete Fairbanks struck out the side in the ninth. The Rays are now within one game of the O’s in the AL East.

Texas Rangers (82-64) 9, Toronto Blue Jays (80-67) 2

The Blue Jays needed to salvage a win out of this series if they wanted to stay in prime postseason position and things were interesting early on the Thursday. However, the Rangers remain an absolute force at the plate and the Toronto crowd bore witness.

The Rangers started the scoring thanks to none other than Corey Seager, who has been simply incredible this season despite missing over 40 games due to injury. He hit a solo home run in the top of the first, but in the home half, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. didn’t let that slide. Vladito launched a home run of his own, a two-run moonshot to take the lead and keep the fireworks going.

Unbeknownst to the two teams and the people in attendance for this vital game, those would be the only runs that Toronto scored the entire game. The Rangers made it known that they weren't going to roll over, as Seager again brought some runs across the plate with a two-run double to take a 3-2 lead. Shortly thereafter, Jonah Heim pimped a solo shot in the top of the third to add a bit of insurance.

No more runs were scored until the top of the eighth inning when the Rangers tacked on even more insurance. Marcus Semien hit an RBI double to left field and Nathaniel Lowe brought two more runners across the plate to make the Rangers lead 7-2. Then, with the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the eighth, Seager scored another run, this time off a walk to Robbie Grossman.

The game would end on a close play at first off a groundball to Lowe that the first baseman shoveled to Jonathan Hernandez. The series ended in a commanding sweep for the Rangers, who have won six in a row and are feeling better about their playoff hopes (they’re also just half a game back of idle Houston in the AL West). Toronto, meanwhile, went from sitting in the second Wild Card position on Monday morning to 1.5 out of the picture entirely by Thursday night. Brutal.

Minnesota Twins (77-70) 10, Chicago White Sox (56-91) 2

There wasn’t much to talk about through the first few innings of this AL Central matchup, but when things heated up, they heated up in a major way ... primarily for one side. The scoring got started in the top of the fourth inning. Eduoard Julien and Royce Lewis both clubbed solo home runs to put the Twins up 2-0. Then, after Kenta Maeda escaped a jam in the bottom of the fifth, Minnesota decided to pour it on the White Sox.

Things kicked off with Matt Wallner driving in two runs on a single between the first and second basemen, making the game 4-0. Kyle Farmer then cranked a two-run shot to left field.

Chicago’s only runs of the game would come in the bottom of the seventh inning. Maeda was still on the mound for the Twins, and Andrew Vaughn took full advantage of it, answering Farmer’s two-run home run to left field with one of his own. But in the top of the ninth, the Twins sealed the deal. Jorge Polanco hit an RBI single with the bases loaded, Lewis walked on four straight, and Alex Kirilloff hit a two-run single to put the Twins’ run total in double digits, ending an abysmal night (in a season full of them) for the White Sox.