Earlier in the year, we knew that the Tampa Bay Rays still had a chance to compete in the AL East, mainly because no team had distinguished themselves in the division. But much to the chagrin of the Rays, and the rest of the East, the Orioles have been hot lately. The club has won 22 of their last 32 games and 5 of 7 in July, and they are slowly distancing themselves in the standings.
Baltimore Orioles 2, Toronto Blue Jays 1
The Blue Jays entered the start of a series in which they could gain some serious ground on the first place Orioles, but they failed to do so despite J.A. Happ‘s great start. Happ went 8.0 innings, giving up 2 runs and striking out 12 while walking 1. In fact he really made just one mistake that resulted in a 2-run homer off the red-hot bat of Caleb Joseph. Casey Janssen threw a scoreless inning in relief to keep the Jays within striking distance, but their offense could never mount an attack. The team managed just 4 hits, and only Jose Reyes was on base twice.
Miguel Gonzalez didn’t provide as much longevity as Happ, but he still had a nice outing, throwing 6.0 innings and giving up 1 run while striking out 2. Then the Orioles’ always solid bullpen took over from there, with Andrew Miller, Darren O’Day, and Zach Britton each throwing a scoreless inning. The offense wasn’t much better than Toronto’s, smacking just 5 hits, but Joseph’s clutch hit was enough to get the job done.
New York Yankees 1, Detroit Tigers 0
This was a pitcher’s duel the entire way, and in the end Shane Greene of the Yankees was just a little better than Rick Porcello of the Tigers. Green would end up going 8.0 shutout innings while Porcello gave up 1 run over 7.0 innings of work. After posting a 4.61 ERA at Triple-A this season, Greene has surprised in his first big league action, pitching to a 2.89 ERA and a 29 to 13 strikeout to walk ratio in 7 outings. Behind Greene, David Robertson earned the save with a scoreless 9th inning. Offensively it wasn’t pretty for the Yanks, but they still got the job done. Ichiro Suzuki went 2 for 3, and Chase Headley drove in the only Yanks run with his lone hit.
St. Louis Cardinals 5, Boston Red Sox 2
Brandon Workman didn’t have a great start in this one for the Red Sox, lasting 5.1 innings and letting up 4 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks while striking out 5. Craig Breslow threw 1.1 innings of relief, allowing a solo homer to Kolten Wong, who would finish 3 for 4 with a pair of homers. Former Ray Burke Badenhop came in to get an out, and then Tommy Layne finished off with a shutout inning. Dustin Pedroia had a nice day at the plate, going 1 for 2 with 2 walks and a run scored. But the Sox offense as a whole could do nothing to put the team back in the game, and thus they fell to 15.0 games back in the division.
After the day’s action, the AL East standings look like this.
1. Baltimore (65-49) —
2. New York (60-54) 5.0 GB
3. Toronto (61-55) 5.0 GB
4. Tampa Bay (55-59) 10.0 GB
5. Boston (50-64) 15.0 GB
Here’s a look at today’s pitching matchups in the East
4:05 PM- Tampa Bay Rays (Chris Archer) at Chicago Cubs (Tsuyoshi Wada)
7:05 PM- St. Louis Cardinals (Justin Masterson) at Baltimore Orioles (Chris Tillman)
7:05 PM- Cleveland Indians (Trevor Bauer) at New York Yankees (Esmil Rogers)
7:07 PM- Detroit Tigers (Anibal Sanchez) at Toronto Blue Jays (R.A. Dickey)
10:05 PM- Boston Red Sox (Allen Webster) at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Jered Weaver)