Rivalry Roundup: Rangers, Jays hold off Fish, BoSox

Toronto Blue Jays v Boston Red Sox
Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images

Reese McGuire’s base running blunder prevents Yankees from gaining ground in Wild Card standings.

Making his long-awaited return from injury, Nestor Cortes outdueled Justin Verlander, tossing four innings allowing a run on one hit with eight strikeouts while pitching on a strict pitch limit. The Yankees have a chance to take three of four from the Astros tomorrow, something that would have appeared unthinkable only one week ago. Before we get to that, let’s recap the rest of the action on a busy Saturday.

Detroit Tigers (49-61) 4, Tampa Bay Rays (67-46) 2

Rays deadline acquisition Aaron Civale looked shaky in his first start for his new team, giving up three runs on nine hits in 4.1 innings. Across the diamond, Tarik Skubal continues to look strong in his return from injury, giving Detroit 5.1 innings of one-run ball.

Tampa Bay opened the scoring in the second on a Manny Margot RBI single but Jake Rogers responded in the bottom-half with an RBI single of his own. Two innings later, Rogers drove in his second and third runs with a double before Akil Baddoo extended the Tigers’ lead with a home run to lead off the sixth.

The Rays grabbed one back on a Yandy Díaz RBI fielder’s choice in the sixth and had a chance in the ninth drawing three walks, but a Wander Franco GIDP and Isaac Paredes strikeout stranded the runners.

Texas Rangers (65-46) 9, Miami Marlins (58-54) 8

Both offenses showed up to the park tonight with the Rangers barely hanging on for the win. The Marlins jumped out to an early 5-0 lead thanks to a Jorge Soler two-run double and Jazz Chisholm Jr. RBI single in the third and a Joey Wendle sac fly and Luis Arraez RBI double in the fourth. Robbie Grossman responded with a three run bomb in the fourth to knock Marlins starter George Soriano from the game.

Ryan Weathers, acquired from the Padres on deadline day, came in for the fifth and had an absolute nightmare Marlins debut giving up six runs on six hits in 3.2 innings including a pair of two-run home runs by Corey Seager and Josh Jung in the fifth.

Nathaniel Lowe clubbed RBI doubles in the seventh and eighth to give his team a three run lead heading into the ninth. Pinch-hitter Jake Burger, another of the Marlins’ deadline acquisitions, cut the deficit to one with a two-run blast but that would be all as the Rangers win, 9-8.

Toronto Blue Jays (62-50) 5, Boston Red Sox (57-53) 4

It’s a shame that an intriguing divisional battle had to end in such ignominy. The Blue Jays scored three in the third on a Brandon Belt solo shot, Alejandro Kirk RBI double, and Daulton Varsho RBI single. Rafael Devers answered right back with a three-run bomb in the fourth to level the scores, after which the bullpens battled in a tense affair.

Belt broke the deadlock in the sixth with an RBI single before Kevin Kiermaier doubled his team’s lead with a pinch-hit RBI single in the ninth. The Red Sox gave themselves a shot in the bottom of the ninth, with three straight one-out singles drawing them within one. However, on a Connor Wong deep fly ball to left center, Reese McGuire inexplicably started jogging around the bases from second with his fist in the air, only for the ball to land in Kiermaier’s glove, who had the simplest of tasks doubling up McGuire at second to end the game.

The win helped the Jays hold serve at 2.5 games ahead of the Mariners in the last Wild Card spot and 3.5 up on New York. Meanwhile, the Red Sox are four back and back in last place in the AL East.

Baltimore Orioles (69-42) 7, New York Mets (50-60) 3

The Orioles just keep on rolling and it’s hard to find a weakness on the roster. Every single starter in the lineup had a hit. Kyle Gibson held the Mets to three runs in seven innings with nine strikeouts. The bullpen keeps putting up zeroes.

Jeff McNeil accounted for all of the Mets’ offense, launching a two-run home run in the fourth and an RBI single in the sixth. Gunnar Henderson opened the scoring with a two-run blast while Anthony Santander also left the yard as the Orioles cruised to a 7-3 victory. They now lead the second-place Rays by three games in their bid for their first division title since 2014 and just their second in the last 25 years.

Other Matchups

Seattle Mariners (59-52) 3, Los Angeles Angels (56-56) 2

George Kirby pitched a gem, allowing one run on three hits in seven innings to put his team on path for a four-game sweep of the Angels. Julio Rodríguez went 3-for-4 with two RBI and Ty France drove in Seattle’s third run while Randal Grichuk homered for the first time since his deadline day move to Team Ohtani, but in the course of three days the Mariners have put a massive dent in the Angels’ playoff hopes, winning this one, 3-2.

The Halos had a chance to tie it in the ninth, but Brandon Drury’s deep drive with runners on first and second bounced over the fence for an automatic double, leaving the tying run at third … where he was ultimately stranded. LA has dropped five in a row and now trails Toronto by six in the Wild Card chase.

AL Central Rock Fight

Minnesota Twins (58-54) 12, Arizona Diamondbacks (57-55) 1
Chicago White Sox (44-68) 7, Cleveland Guardians (54-57) 4

The Twins spanked the Diamondbacks, 12-1, thanks to 3-for-4 nights from Ryan Jeffers and Max Kepler, the former homering twice and driving in four and the latter also leaving the yard. The Guardians meanwhile may have lost, 7-4, but the real highlight of this game saw José Ramírez and Tim Anderson square up at second base, Rougned Odor-José Bautista style, with J-Ram dropping TA with a single well-placed right hook.

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