The Baltimore Orioles lost for just the second time in their last six games on Thursday, and the rest of the AL East was right there to take advantage. Strong starting pitching wound up being a common theme as from Drew Hutchison to Joe Kelly, everyone but the Orioles received a start of at least 6.2 innings pitched and exactly one run allowed.
Toronto Blue Jays 5, Baltimore Orioles 1
It doesn’t matter how well you’re playing when you run into a pitcher feeling it like Drew Hutchison was on Wednesday. Hutchison allowed a solo homer to Chris Davis in the second inning, and that was basically it as he went 8.2 innings allowing just 1 run on that hit, striking out 8 while walking 1. The Blue Jays entered the year with high hopes for Hutchison in their rotation, and this game shows why. The 23 year old right-hander rebounded strongly from allowing at least 4 runs in three of his last four appearances as he posted an 85 game score, his second-highest this season behind his complete-game shutout of the Texas Rangers on May 16th.
Wei-Yin Chen entered his start with the second-highest winning percentage in baseball at .800 (12-3), but the Blue Jays had his number in this game as they got him for 4 runs in 5 innings of work. Jose Bautista was at his best in this game, going 3 for 4 with a homer and 3 RBI, and Melky Cabrera matched his 3 hits to go along with a double, a walk, and a run scored. T.J. McFarland did go the final 3 innings to save the rest of the Baltimore bullpen. For Toronto, however, all they are concerned about is that they snapped their four-game winning streak and have a chance to take a series from the first-place Orioles with a win tomorrow night.
New York Yankees 5, Detroit Tigers 1
Justin Verlander has not looked like the ace he is known to be too often this season, but he can’t be blamed for the Tigers’ loss in this game. Verlander went 7 innings allowing 2 runs on 5 hits, striking out 5 while walking 1. Unfortunately for him, the great pitching of Chris Capuano plus the solo home runs he allowed to Chase Headley and Brian McCann were enough for him to depart in line for the loss. The Yankees added three runs in the eighth inning on a Mark Teixeira RBI single and an RBI groundout by McCann that scored another run on an error as New York wound up winning by a relatively comfortable margin. Speaking of Capuano, he looked good for the second time in his three Yankee outings, going 6.2 innings allowing an unearned run on 5 hits, striking out 8 while walking 1. He came just one out short of qualifying for his first win since joining the team, but New York will settle for simply his great outing.
The Yankees did have an injury scare in this game after Teixeira injured his pinky as he scored in that eighth inning, but x-rays were negative and the Yankees don’t expect to lose their first baseman for long.
Tampa Bay Rays 7, Oakland Athletics 3
Boston Red Sox 2, St. Louis Cardinals 1
Wednesday’s game saw Joe Kelly match up against his former teammates, and the results were exactly what the Red Sox were hoping for. Kelly went 7 innings allowing just 1 run on 3 hits, striking out 2 while walking 4. Kelly dueled to a draw with Shelby Miller, who also allowed only 1 run in 7 innings of work. In the ninth inning, however, the Red Sox loaded the bases against Trevor Rosenthal on a single by Yoenis Cespedes, a double by Mike Napoli, and an intentional walk to David Ortiz before Xander Bogaerts a sac fly that turned out to be the game-winner. Bogaerts had both RBI for the Red Sox after going 0 for 11 in his previous 3 games. The Red Sox’ highly-touted rookie has struggled through a rough season overall, managing a .238/.304/.359 line (85 OPS+), but Boston continues to see the flashes, and they expect big things from the 21 year old in the season’s final two months.
For once, the Orioles were the odd team out in the AL East as everyone else in the division gained ground. Here are the updated standings and the schedule for today.
1. Baltimore (64-49) —
2. Toronto (61-54) 4.0 GB
3. New York (59-54) 5.0 GB
4. Tampa Bay (55-59) 9.5 GB
5. Boston (50-63) 14.0 GB