There were rumors that the AL East was going to have a shock to its system yesterday as the Orioles appeared to be close to a deal for Jon Lester. Instead, Lester stuck around in Boston and watched what should have been his start as the Red Sox fell to Blue Jays. With eight hours remaining until the trade deadline, it remains to be seen where Lester ends up.
Baltimore Orioles 4, Los Angeles Angels 3
Lester or no Lester, the Orioles beat the Angels to continue their strong play despite what could have been a disastrous schedule. The Orioles are now 8-4 in the second half despite playing every game against the Angels, Oakland Athletics, and Seattle Mariners. The rest of the AL East cannot expect this team to fade much.
Garrett Richards has delivered an incredible season for the Angels, but the Orioles got to him twice in this game. They scored twice in the first inning on a two-run home run by Adam Jones, his 21st of the season, before David Lough and Ryan Flaherty scratched across RBIs in a two-run fourth inning. The Angels came right back against Kevin Gausman in the fifth, scoring on a Chris Iannetta two-run single and a Kole Kalhoun RBI double, but that was all they could muster in seven innings against him before he handed it off to the Orioles bullpen. This was a one-run game for a long time, but even a lead like that has been secure most of the time when given to Darren O’Day and Zach Britton. The pair combined to allow just one hit in the final two innings as the Orioles did hang on to win 5-4.
Toronto Blue Jays 6, Boston Red Sox 1
Lester could only watch as his Red Sox lost their eighth game of their last nine. There was a dominant lefty in this game without him, but that was Mark Buehrle for Toronto, who went 6.2 innings allowing 1 run on 6 hits, striking out 2 while walking 1. Brandon Workman, Lester’s replacement, had a rougher time. With two major errors (including one by himself) not helping matters at all, Workman allowed 5 runs, 2 earned, in 5 innings of work. By the time the game was through, Dioner Navarro had gone 3 for 4 with 3 RBI while Juan Francisco was 1 for 3 with 2 RBI. A three-run fifth inning helped the Blue Jays pull away, and while the Red Sox did respond with one run in the bottom of the fifth on a Christian Vazquez RBI double, that was all their offense could manage in the game.
Texas Rangers 3, New York Yankees 2
Brett Gardner stayed ridiculously homer-happy in the top of the first inning of this game, drilling his 14th homer of the season and his fourth in his last three games. However, the Rangers came right back with three runs in the bottom of the inning, scoring against Hiroki Kuroda on an Elvis Andrus RBI double and RBI singles by Adrian Beltre and Leonys Martin. Kuroda rebounded from there, allowing just those 3 runs in 7 innings of work, but Colby Lewis allowed only a Jacoby Ellsbury home run after Gardner’s blast in his 7 innings as the Rangers held a 3-2 lead through the seventh frame. Neal Cotts and Neftali Feliz did the rest, retiring all six batters they faced to send Texas to the win. The ex-Ranger Mark Teixeira made his first start for the Yankees in this game since returning from a back strain, but he went just 0 for 3 with a walk.
Milwaukee Brewers 5, Tampa Bay Rays 0
The Rays remain red-hot, but they settled for two out of three against Milwaukee as David Price lost what could be his last Rays start. For everything else you need to know about the game, here is our full recap.
The Orioles are on fire, and it would be the worst nightmare for the Yankees and Rays if they added Jon Lester to strengthen their team even more. Luckily for them, that seems unlikely at this point, but where Lester ends up could have a direct bearing on the type of offers the Rays get for David Price, so Rays fans better keep refreshing Twitter and MLB Trade Rumors until everything falls into place. Here are the complete standings in the division along with the schedule for tonight’s games.
1. Baltimore (60-46) —
2. Toronto (59-50) 2.5
3. New York (55-52) 5.5
4. Tampa Bay (53-55) 8.0
5. Boston (48-60) 13.0
The standings by themselves are one argument (probably not the best one) for trading David Price. In any event, Andrew Friedman and the Rays front office will has eight hours to decide a course of action as the Rays join the Yankees and Red Sox to compose the three teams in the division that are off on Deadline Day.