Welcome to Blue Jays Scoreboard Watching, a regular look at how Toronto is faring in relation to its playoff rivals. Here we'll provide an update on the standings, recap what each team did the night before and look ahead to their next matchup. Only the Yankees and teams within five games of the Blue Jays in the wild-card race will be included.
The Toronto Blue Jays entered Tuesday's doubleheader with the Tampa Bay Rays with questions about ace Alek Manoah's health and ended it by reclaiming the top wild-card spot in the American League.
Toronto tapped Mitch White to soak up the majority of the innings in Game 1, and the right-hander kept his club in the game by allowing three runs over his six frames. The Blue Jays failed to score against Rays southpaw Jeffrey Springs then made things interesting with two runs in the eighth inning before ultimately falling 4-2.
Manoah overcame a stomach bug that held him out of Game 1 and turned in a gutsy 6.2-inning, two-run gem in the second game to lead the Blue Jays past the Rays 7-2 at Rogers Centre. The home side broke through with a four-run seventh inning then tacked on two more in the eighth to pull back ahead of Tampa Bay in the standings.
The Blue Jays and Rays have two games remaining in this series then play four more in Florida later this month.
Both teams still have hopes of catching the New York Yankees for the AL East crown, though the Rays will be hard-pressed to make up their 6.5-game deficit since they don't have any head-to-head matchups left. The Blue Jays sit six games back of New York and host the Bronx Bombers for a three-game set at the end of September.
Here's a quick look at how the Yankees and the Blue Jays' other playoff rivals are doing.
New York Yankees
Last night's result: Aaron Judge clubbed two home runs to give him 57 on the season and Gleyber Torres hit a three-run double in the 10th inning to lift the Yankees past the rival Boston Red Sox 7-6 at Fenway Park. New York erased a deficit three separate times in the contest.
What's next: Nestor Cortes (9-4, 2.73 ERA) takes the mound for the Yankees as they conclude their brief two-game set with the Red Sox. Boston counters with rookie right-hander Bryan Bello (1-5-5.79).
Tampa Bay Rays
Last night's result: After emerging victorious in the first game of the doubleheader, the Rays struggled to muster much off Manoah. Ji-Man Choi and Jonathan Aranda each slugged solo home runs to provide all the Tampa Bay offence in the nightcap.
What's next: The Rays look to draw even in this crucial five-game series when they send Drew Rasmussen (10-4, 2.57 ERA) to the mound against Toronto's Ross Stripling (7-4, 3.03 ERA).
Last night's result: Yu Darvish limited Seattle to two hits over eight innings as the Padres beat the Mariners 2-0. Mariners starter Logan Gilbert was effective over his five innings and the bullpen did its job, but the bats couldn't get anything going off Darvish.
What's next: Prized trade deadline acquisition Luis Castillo (6-5, 2.81 ERA) looks to get the Mariners back on track against Padres starter Mike Clevinger (5-6, 4.13 ERA). Wednesday's game is the last time Seattle plays a team above .500 for the rest of the season.
Last night's result: Ryan Mountcastle hit his 22nd home run of the season as the Orioles rallied to beat the lowly Washington Nationals 4-3. The victory moved Baltimore back within five games of a playoff spot as the young team refuses to roll over down the stretch.
What's next: Tyler Wells (7-6, 3.91 ERA) toes the rubber for the Orioles as they wrap up their series with the Nationals. Patrick Corbin (6-18, 6.30 ERA), who leads MLB in losses, goes for Washington.
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