With the 1st place Baltimore Orioles dropping to the Seattle Mariners on Saturday, the rest of the AL East had a chance to move up in the standings. The Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays were able to take advantage of the opportunity, topping the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees respectively.
Toronto Blue Jays 6, New York Yankees 4
Chris Capuano had a good first start as a Yankee (he was acquired from the Colorado Rockies this week), going 6.0 innings and allowing 2 runs. However, after he exited with the game a 2-2 tie, the Yankees bullpen could not hold the lead. The starter for the Jays, Drew Hutchison, also had a nice outing, going 6.2 innings and allowing 2 runs. Casey Janssen made things interesting for the Jays, allowing 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th to narrow the lead, but he was still able to lock down the win.
Offensively, it was a couple of former Rays who led the way for the Jays. Dan Johnson went 2 for 5 with a 3-run homer and 4 RBIs. Catcher Dioner Navarro was also solid, going 3 for 5 with a run scored. For the Yankees, both Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann homered, but ultimately that would not be enough.
Seattle Mariners 4, Baltimore Orioles 3
Mariners’ starter Chris Young outdueled Bud Norris of the AL East leading Orioles, throwing 7.o shutout innings and striking out 8. Norris, meanwhile, gave up 4 runs in 5.o innings. T.J. McFarland and Brad Brach did hold things down in relief by throwing a final 3.0 scoreless innings, giving the Orioles enough room to mount a rally–which they almost did. The O’s scored 3 runs in the top of the 8th, but they could not get the one more run needed to at least send it into extras. The Orioles as a team managed just 3 hits–2 by former Ray Delmon Young.
Tampa Bay Rays 3, Boston Red Sox 0
The Rays managed to hurl a shutout against the Red Sox thanks to a team effort as Jeremy Hellickson, Jeff Beliveau, Grant Balfour, and Jake McGee would all pitch in the game. Meanwhile, Ben Zobrist hit his 8th homer of the season. Read more in-depth on the Rays’ triumph in our recap of the game.
Overall, it was an important day for the AL East with 4 of the teams playing within the division, and there were a surprising amount of ex-Rays involved. Here’s a look at the update standings after Saturday’s action.
1. Baltimore (57-46) —
2. New York (54-49) 3.0 GB
3. Toronto (55-50) 3.0 GB
4. Tampa Bay (51-53) 6.5 GB
5. Boston (47-57) 10.5 GB
Here are Sunday’s pitching matchups, with the rest of the East looking to gain more ground on the Orioles.