After every team in the AL East won on Saturday, only the bottom four teams managed to keep pace on Sunday. This division race is getting more exciting by the day.
Oakland Athletics 10, Baltimore Orioles 2
There is no shame in losing to the A’s, who hold the best record in baseball, but the Orioles have to be kicking themselves after blowing a 9th inning lead in the first game of their series and seeing their usually strong bullpen come apart again in this contest. Kevin Gausman did not pitch well, allowing 5 runs in 5+ innings, but a 5-1 deficit is not so difficult to overcome. Unfortunately, it became much more than that quickly as T.J. McFarland allowed 2 runs, 1 earned, in his inning of work before Ryan Webb allowed 3 more in just 0.2 IP. A pair of former Rays did the rest of the AL East a favor as Stephen Vogt went 3 for 4 with a double, a walk, an RBI, and a run scored as the Oakland first baseman while John Jaso went 2 for 4 with a triple, a walk, 2 RBI, and a run scored.
Toronto Blue Jays 9, Texas Rangers 6
In sharp contrast to the A’s-O’s series, it does not mean much to win a three-game set against the team with the worst record in baseball. At the very least, though, the Blue Jays won the last two games of their series with the Rangers to avoid the ignominy of losing two out of three. Mark Buehrle actually struggled mightily for Toronto in his start, allowing 5 runs in 6 innings pitched, but luckily for the Blue Jays, their bats came to play. Melky Cabrera had 3 hits, including a homer, and 3 RBI while Jose Reyes had 2 RBI, and six different Blue Jays had multiple-hit games. Toronto pulled away with three runs in the 8th inning, and they needed every run they could get as Casey Janssen made things too interesting in the 9th and had to be replaced by Aaron Loup for the save.
New York Yankees 3, Cincinnati Reds 2
If the Yankees were going to sweep the Reds, they were going to need Hiroki Kuroda to out-pitchi Johnny Cueto. Kuroda did exactly that, going 6.2 innings allowing just an unearned run on 3 hits to depart with a 2-1 lead. Dellin Betances proved he was human behind him, allowing Todd Frazier‘s 20th home run to tie the game at 2. The Yankees, though, matched Frazier’s blast with a rally against Cincinnati closer Aroldis Chapman. Jacoby Ellsbury singled, stole second, and advanced to third on a wild pitch before New York won the game in bizarre fashion. Brian McCann hit a high popup into shallow right field, and the three Cincinnati defenders could not find the ball as it dropped for a walk-off single.
Boston Red Sox 6, Kansas City Royals 0
The Kansas City Royals entered their series with the Red Sox as legitimate contenders. They departed it with people ready to leave the bandwagon. Jon Lester was dominant to help Boston complete the sweep, going 8 shutout innings allowing just 4 hits and 2 walks while striking out 8. The offense also packed plenty of punch as David Ross drilled a 2-run homer and Daniel Nava went 2 for 3 with a double and 3 RBI. The Red Sox scored early and often against hotshot rookie Yordano Ventura, and a strong bullpen effort from the Royals was meaningless as their bats could not put anything together.
Tampa Bay Rays 5, Minnesota Twins 3
Head here to read about Evan Longoria’s record-breaking heroics in the Rays’ win.
Kevin Gausman and the Orioles certainly picked the wrong time to lose, and suddenly the gap between first and last in the AL East is closer than first and third in both the NL East and NL West. Here are the complete standings.
1. Baltimore (53-44) —
2. New York (50-47) 3.0 GB
3. Toronto (51-48) 3.0 GB
4. Tampa Bay (47-53) 7.5 GB
5. Boston (46-52) 7.5 GB
On Monday, the Rays are off, but the Red Sox will start a series with the Blue Jays, the Yankees will take on Texas, and the Orioles face another tough matchup in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.