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Yankees Rivalry Roundup: Jays outlast Sox in extra-inning thriller

The playoff picture is remaining extremely wild entering the final weeks of the year.

Boston Red Sox v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

The Yankees took care of their own business again, staking a 3-0 lead to newly-acquired fill-in starter Luke Weaver, who did enough not to lose the game and get it to the bullpen which was lights out. In doing so they continued to keep themselves on the marginal outskirts of the playoff picture, which makes this exercise a little more fun than just reporting what the rest of the league is up to. Speaking of them, though — let’s see what went down around the AL on Saturday:

Toronto Blue Jays (82-67) 4, Boston Red Sox (74-75) 3 (13 innings)

Life comes at you fast. After the Yanks took three of four from Boston in Fenway, the Sox traveled up to Canada and have gotten further beaten down by a Blue Jays team that was coming off of getting swept in a four-game series by Texas. Boston had a 2-0 lead midway through the game, but a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. solo shot in the seventh and a Daulton Varsho triple in the ninth inning brought this one to extra innings instead.

Neither team could make any headway in the 10th or 11th, but Boston struck in the 12th with a Pablo Reyes single to score the ghost runner. Despite getting Trevor Story over to second they couldn’t get an additional run, which made it far easier for Toronto to manufacture the tying run via a ground out and sac fly. A 13th inning was needed, and after former Yankee Chad Green intentionally walked his way around Rafael Devers and handled the rest of Boston’s lineup in the top half Whit Merrifield got the soft infield single that brought home the winning run from third base in the bottom half.

Baltimore Orioles (92-56) 8, Tampa Bay Rays (92-58) 0

A day after Tampa blew the O’s out to pull even in the AL East, the O’s turn it around on them and pitch a shutout to take the outright lead right back. Baltimore lit up Tyler Glasnow for six runs over four innings, punctuated by a three-run second inning that had a Gunnar Henderson two-run bomb, and then they added two more runs as soon as Glasnow was pulled in the fifth. On the other side, Grayson Rodriguez had the best game of his career, tossing eight shutout innings with seven strikeouts and no walks. At 95 pitches, he might’ve been able to go for the complete game, but Brandon Hyde opted for Mike Baumann for the ninth and successfully completed the goose egg.

Chicago White Sox (57-92) 7, Minnesota Twins (78-71) 6

For seven innings this looked like it was just going to be an embarrassing loss for the Twins. After taking a 1-0 lead to start off they immediately allowed five runs to Chicago in the first as Pablo López couldn’t find the third out of the inning in time to avoid an avalanche of hits. Then there was nothing going on until the Sox extended their lead to 7-0 in the seventh, which at that point probably felt like overkill.

Turns out it wasn’t, because the Twins mounted a furious rally to nearly pull a win out of thin air. Gregory Santos entered the game and immediately loaded the bases and then allowed a run to come home on a wild pitch, with Carlos Correa knocking in another on an infield single. Kyle Farmer drove in another on a groundout, and Santos got two more grounders that should’ve ended the inning — however, Andrew Vaughn mishandled the second one, allowing another run to score. Suddenly the Twins were two runs away, and they managed to shave it down to one in the ninth by walking in another one. Tanner Banks was able to end the rally before it got any further though, and the Sox walked away with the win.

Kansas City Royals (48-101) 10, Houston Astros (83-66) 8

One of the more frustrating things about not being directly in this year’s playoff hunt is that the AL West seems to be completely imploding right about now. Let’s start with Houston, who dropped the first game of a series to the 101-loss Royals. Surely that wouldn’t happen in back-to-back nights, right?

Well, somehow it did. A Salvador Perez two-run double helped put Kansas City up 3-0 after one, and after blowing their lead in the top of the seventh inning thanks to a Jose Altuve bomb the Royals had an extended run to get it right back. Kyle Isbel singled home the go-ahead run, Dairon Blanco got another in on a fielder’s choice, and Nick Pratto lifted a sac fly to go back up by three. Logan Porter extended that lead to four with a solo shot in the eighth, meaning Houston needed a big rally to avoid a humiliating result in this series. They managed to get three straight baserunners to threaten it, but fell two runs shy of forcing extras.

Cleveland Guardians (71-78) 2, Texas Rangers (82-66) 1

Next up is the Rangers, fresh off a loss after their big four-game sweep of Toronto put them back in Houston’s rear view mirror. A win here would leapfrog them back into the division lead that they’ve held for most of the year ... surely not here too, right?

Oh, the story is the same here as well. Dane Dunning did more than a serviceable job, dancing around nine baserunners to provide five shutout innings while his offense grabbed him a narrow lead in the fifth on a Marcus Semien double. That put him in line for the win, but it all went up in flames in the eighth inning. Will Smith was on the mound for the final out of the seventh, and was left out to start the frame but got pulled after allowing a one-out double to Ramon Laureano and a walk to put the go-ahead run on. Jose Leclerc was tasked with putting out the flames, but singles from Tyler Freeman and Steven Kwan instead gave Cleveland the lead. Emmanuel Clase entered for the ninth, erased a leadoff single with a nifty groundball double-play, and Texas squandered another chance to move ahead.

Los Angeles Dodgers (90-57) 6, Seattle Mariners (81-67) 2 (11 innings)

Alright, so the top two teams in the West both got toppled by inferior opponents, so perhaps the Mariners can make something happen against a top team in the Dodgers. There was certainly hope for that after Clayton Kershaw exited the game after just four innings, but there would be not an ounce of offense in the first nine innings of play. No, instead extra innings were needed, and both teams traded a run in the 10th.

The 11th inning, however, belonged to Los Angles. After intentionally walking Will Smith, Gabe Speier gave up a single to Max Muncy and was lifted for Isaiah Campbell. That decision proved poor, as Campbell walked Amed Rosario and allowed singles to Chris Taylor, Jason Heyward, and Kiké Hernández that blew the lead open to 6-1. Joe Kelly gave up one run in the bottom of the 11th on a wild pitch, but otherwise secured the win and the NL West title for LA.