For once, the games in this space aren’t far more interesting than what’s going on with the Yankees. New York pulled off a scintillating sweep of the Astros, powered by a wave of prospects. Still, there were plenty of important, interesting games across the American League on Sunday, so let’s get you caught up.
Wild Card Mix
Boston Red Sox (71-66) 7, Kansas City Royals (42-96) 3
The Red Sox bounced back nicely from their blowout loss on Friday night, winning smoothly the next two days to take two of three in KC. They had very little trouble on Sunday. Masataka Yoshida put Boston up 3-0 in the fourth with a three-run dinger, his 14th of the season:
Adam Duvall added his 17th dinger, a solo shot in the sixth to make it 4-0. Salvador Perez drove an RBI single in the sixth to get the Royals on the board, but the Red Sox responded with two more in the seventh to go up 6-1.
In all, it was just a very comfortable performance for Chris Sale. He shut out the Royals over five, and hit the 100-pitch mark for the first time since coming off the 60-day IL last month. With Sale under contract for next season, Boston would surely be thrilled to see the once-dominant lefty finish the year strong.
Kenley Jensen entered in the ninth with a 7-1 lead, and was scratched for a couple of runs, but ultimately retired the Royals to secure the win. They’re 5.5 games behind of Texas and Houston for a Wild Card spot, though Toronto’s win (as detailed below) put them closer at 1.5 back.
Toronto Blue Jays (75-62) 7, Colorado Rockies (50-86) 5
Both teams were able to get after the other’s starter, with each side taking big swings early on. Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Spencer Hurwitz each hit solo homers off of Chase Anderson, while the Rockies scored three runs off Toronto ace Kevin Gausman before he departed after just four innings.
The Jays surged in front in the fifth, scoring three runs off of reliever Tommy Doyle. But Jays reliever Trevor Richards immediately fumbled the lead, with rookie Hunter Goodman driving home two on a double in the bottom of the fifth.
After all the early action, the two teams suddenly went quiet, exchanging zeroes until they reached the ninth inning tied at five. With two on and two out, facing Colorado closer Justin Lawrence, Whit Merrifield came up big with the go-ahead RBI single:
Ernie Clement followed with an RBI single of his own to give Toronto some breathing room. That was more than enough for Jordan Romano, who slammed the door for his 32nd save.
Tampa Bay Rays (83-54) 6, Cleveland Guardians (66-71) 2
Looking to avoid a tough sweep at the hands of a middling Guardians team, the Rays used a late push to secure a crucial win. Taj Bradley held Cleveland to a couple runs over five, but the Rays could only manage two runs of their own against Xzavion Curry, and the game headed to the eighth tied at two.
That’s where Cleveland’s typically strong bullpen broke. With two down and none on, Jose Siri drew a walk off of former Yankee farmhand Trevor Stephan. Siri swiped second, then scored the go-ahead run on Taylor Walls’ single.
Tampa opened up some breathing room in the ninth. Christian Bethancourt, Yandy Díaz, Brandon Lowe, and Isaac Paredes all strung singles together to two runs. Another came home on an error to put the Rays up 6-2. Andrew Kittredge navigated the bottom of the ninth without incident to get Tampa back in the win column.
New York Mets (63-74) 6, Seattle Mariners (77-59) 3
It was Pete Alonso Day at Citi Field. The slugging first baseman went deep twice, reaching the 40-homer milestone for the third time in his career. He’s just the fifth player in history to clear 40 homers three times in their first five seasons.
Alonso also had an RBI single in the first inning to open the scoring for the Mets. New York built a nice early lead, with Alonso’s first homer, a two-run shot in the third inning, putting the Mets up 4-0:
This was all against George Kirby, who had one of his shortest starts in what’s otherwise been a strong year. Kirby lasted just three innings, allowing the four runs on six hits. Seattle did battle back, scoring three against Tylor Megill to get within 4-3.
But Jeff McNeil added a solo homer in the seventh, and then Alonso added another insurance in the seventh to make it 6-3, his 41st of the season:
Adam Ottavino closed out the save, and the Mariners settled for a disappointing one out of three in their trip to Queens.
Texas Rangers (76-60) 6, Minnesota Twins (71-66) 5
The Rangers stopped the bleeding, just barely taking the series finale to avoid getting swept away by the Twins. It wasn’t easy though, with Texas blowing an early 3-0 lead before walking it off at the end.
Mitch Garver gave the Rangers that lead, smashing a three-run homer in the first to quickly put Texas ahead. Jon Gray cruised to start the game, shutting out the Twins over the first four, but gave it all back in the fifth. Edouard Julien singled, Jorge Polanco walked, and Royce Lewis tied it up with one swing:
The game was tied 4-4 in the seventh when Garver pushed the Rangers in front again with his second dinger of the game, this one a solo shot. But again Texas couldn’t hold the lead, with Jose Leclerc letting the Twins tie the game at five in the eighth on Lewis’ RBI single.
We went to the bottom of the ninth all square, but Adolis García ensured there would be no extra innings. He led off the inning by impressively yanking an inside, 96-mph fastball 430 feet to left for a no-doubt walk-off homer:
A huge swing for a Rangers team that needed it. They pulled to within one game of the Mariners in the AL West.
Baltimore Orioles (85-51) 8, Arizona Diamondbacks (70-67) 5
Faced with a shaky starting rotation at the deadline, the Orioles chose a half-measure, bringing in an also-shaky Jack Flaherty to supplement their starting pitching. Flaherty got roughed up again on Sunday, but the Baltimore bats picked him up as they so often do to secure a series win in Arizona.
Flaherty allowed four runs before getting pulled after 4.2 innings, raising his ERA to a devilish 6.66 as a member of the Orioles. But Baltimore had plenty of success against Zac Gallen, with Ryan O’Hearn notching a two-run single in the first, and Gunnar Henderson doing the same in the second. The game went to the fifth tied at four.
That’s where the Orioles broke things open. O’Hearn doubled to knock Gallen out of the game, and Cedric Mullins singled him home to put the Orioles in front and to close Gallen’s line at five runs in 5.1 innings. Jordan Westburg added an RBI double later in the inning, and Adley Rutchsman crushed a two-run double to put Baltimore up 8-4.
Christian Walker hit his 30th homer in the ninth to pull Arizona within three, but that was all the Diamondbacks could muster.