With the herd in NL East thinning over the last month, the same appears to be happening in the AL East. The Yankees are, of course, dominating the division. But the other teams in the division are slowly asserting their positions as well, and it appears to be a three horse race between the Yankees, Rays, and Orioles. The Red Sox, losers 6-4 to the Twins last night, are now ten out, while the Blue Jays at 10.5 out, even after a 3-1 extra inning win in Oakland. Meanwhile, the Rays and Orioles are playing each other this weekend. The Orioles won 4-0 last night, and both teams are now 6.5 games back in the division and 1.5 out in the wild card behind the Angels. Everyone keeps waiting for the other shoe to drop with the Orioles, but it really hasn't happened yet. Maybe it won't. But if either team were to make a run for the division crown, it would be the Rays, who are expected to get Evan Longoria back soon at third base.
Game of the Night: Twins 6, Red Sox 4. Boston took a 4-2 lead in the eighth against Minnesota after a Pedro Ciriaco pinch hit homer and a Cody Ross RBI single. Closer Alfredo Aceves stayed in for the ninth after pitching the eighth, and he just didn't have it. He struck out Brian Dozier to lead off the inning, then allowed a double to Alexi Casilla. A Jamey Carroll single brought Casilla home to make it 4-3, and Aceves got Denard Span to fly out for the second out. Aceves then allowed a single to Ben Revere, and a three-run homer to Joe Mauer to put the Twins ahead 6-4 and chase Aceves from the game after 34 pitches. Jared Burton set the Sox down in order to finish the game off in the ninth, and knock Red Sox Nation down another peg.
Pitching Lines of the Night: Felix Hernandez threw a complete game shutout in the Mariners' 1-0 win over the Yankees, allowing two hits, two walks, and six strikeouts while throwing just 101 pitches. Talk about a dominant performance. Doug Fister also threw a complete game in the Tigers' 4-1 win over the Indians, allowing one run on four hits and striking out six batters without a walk. One more complete game: Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals, in their 6-1 win over the Indians. Wainwright allowed one run on five hits, striking out seven and walking none. He got his complete game on just 98 pitches, and got 14 groundball outs. Wow.
Hitting Lines of the Night: Justin Maxwell did it all for the Astros in their 3-2 win over the Braves, going 4/4 with three RBI, two homers, and a stolen base. In the Giants' 11-6 win over the Rockies, Angel Pagan went 4/6 with two runs, three RBI, a homer, and a stolen base. The White Sox lost 6-5 to the Angels in ten, but you can't blame Kevin Youkilis, who went 2/3 with three RBI, a walk, and two homers. Finally, the Nationals came back to beat the Marlins 10-7, and Adam LaRoche went 2/4 with three runs and a pair of solo homers.
Other Games: Roy Halladay and the Phillies shut out the Diamondbacks 3-0. The Rangers beat the Royals 4-2. The Reds edged the Pirates 5-4. The Mets smashed Edinson Volquez early in a 6-2 win over the Padres. The Dodgers beat the Cubs 3-1.
Today's Games: The Pirates look to salvage the series in Cincinnati, with AJ Burnett taking on Homer Bailey. Ricky Nolasco and Stephen Strasburg duel in Washington. David Price starts for the Rays against the division rival Orioles. Trevor Cahill starts for Arizona in Philly against Cliff Lee. Dan Haren and Francisco Liriano duel in Chicago. Tim Lincecum starts for the Giants in Denver. Matt Harvey will go for the Mets in San Diego. Tom Milone starts at home for the A's, where he's untouchable. Joe Blanton makes his Dodgers debut against the Cubs.
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.