A. L. East Update: Rays Take Over Second Place
The Tampa Bay Rays remained red hot with a 7-4 win over the Minnesota Twins on Monday night at Tropicana Field. The win was the Rays fifth in a row and 12th in the last 15 games. The win puts them alone in second place in the A. L East after the Texas Rangers beat the Baltimore Orioles 8-5 and the Kansas City Royals shut down the New York Yankees 5-1.
The Rays busted open a 3-3 game with two homers in the bottom of the seventh, a solo shot by Yunel Escobar to give the Rays a 4-3 lead and then a two-run blast by Ben Zobrist to make it 6-3. Luke Scott started the scoring with a solo shot in the bottom of the first as well. Ramon Hernandez pitched well again but again did not get the win as he left the game after the sixth with the score tied 3-3.
The Rays are now 4-0 on their current homestand. This is a much needed streak because after the All Star Break, the Rays have a brutal 10-game road trip with three at the Toronto Blue Jays, four at the Boston Red Sox and three at the Yankees. If the Rays can go 5-5 on that trip, they should be in great shape, especially if they can continue to win on this homestand. They still have two with the Twins and three with the Houston Astros before the break.
The Rays are now only 3.5 games out of first place as the Red Sox lost to the Seattle Mariners 11-4 on Monday night. Justin Smoak was three for four and Michael Saunders had two hits and three runs batted in for the Mariners. The Sox dipped to 54-37 as four teams in the division are within four games in the loss column.
The Rangers battered the Orioles 8-5. A six run uprising in the sixth did the Orioles in. A.J. Pierzynski and Ian Kinsler each drove in a pair in the inning. Matt Weiters hit a two-run homer for the Orioles.
The Yankees battled the weather and the Royals on Monday, coming up short in a 5-1 loss. Billy Butler hit a two-run shot for the Royals in the second inning and Aaron Gordon and Alcides Escobar each drove in runs in the ninth with extra base hits.