With two divisional series taking place this weekend, this is an important stretch not only for the Rays to do well in, but to keep an eye on what the competition is up to. Friday night saw the maximum of three of the division’s five teams win, with the only two loses coming to divisional opponents.
New York Yankees 6, Toronto Blue Jays 4
A game that was similar to the Rays game (without the marquee pitching matchup), the Yankees came back from a 3-0 deficit and scored two in the bottom of the second and four in the next inning, and were able to hold the Jays offense in check from the fourth inning on to seal the deal. Chase Headley is proving to be a huge pickup by New York, as he is hitting .429 in pinstripes in his first four games, and went 3 for 4 in this game with two runs scored. The one and only Ichiro Suzuki, meanwhile, drilled a go-ahead three-run home run, just his first of the season, and it could not have come at a better time for the Yankkes. Toronto starter Mark Buehrle only lasted three innings, allowing nine hits and six runs in the process, but three Jays relievers combined to go the final five innings and threw two-hit, scoreless ball and recorded six strikeouts.
Baltimore Orioles 2, Seattle Mariners 1 (10 innings)
The lone non-divisional series belongs to the Orioles, as they are out in the Great White North taking on King Felix and the Seattle Mariners. It was a tight one, as the game went into extra innings in a 1-1 tie. Baltimore got a solo shot from Nelson Cruz in the top of the second, but the equalizer came in the bottom of the sixth, when newly acquired Kendrys Morales hit a sac fly to score Robinson Cano. But the Orioles would get the first–and only–extra innings tally on a Chris Davis bomb in the top of the 10th to take this one. A real bummer for Seattle that they lost and spoiled another magnificent Felix Hernandez start, as the King went seven innings allowing just one run on five hits while striking out 10. The game also ended on a replay, which if you haven’t heard about, you can go now. (Personally, I think it was the right call).
Tampa Bay Rays 6, Boston Red Sox 4
Who would have thought in a game that featured both David Price and David Ortiz that Evan Longoria would be the star? Well, as our own Robbie Knopf pointed out in his recap, the Rays’ third baseman is back, and proved it with a three RBI night. Desmond Jennings also had himself a day, going 1 for 3 with a pair of runs driven in and a run scored himself. The star-studded pitching matchup ended like this: Boston’s Jon Lester went six innings allowing just two runs on 6 hits and striking out seven, while the winning Tampa Bay pitcher Price went eight full frames, allowing a hit per inning and giving up three runs en route to striking out 10 Red Sox.
Overall, it was an exciting day, from the key blasts from Chris Davis and Ichiro to the pitching of Price and Lester. Here’s how the division looks after last night’s games.
1. Baltimore (57-45) —
2.) New York (54-48) 3.0
3.) Toronto (54-50) 4.0
4.) Tampa Bay (50-53) 7.5
5.) Boston (47-56) 10.5
Here are your matchups for today, as the Rays will look to gain more ground on someone. Anyone.