The Twins suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the reigning American League champion Astros on Tuesday. A Nelson Cruz double in the third inning scored Max Kepler, giving Minnesota a 1-0 lead that they would hold on to until the seventh inning. In the meantime, Zack Greinke got his fastball to work early, allowing him to hold Minnesota to just the one run. On the other side, Kenta Maeda threw an impressive game, surrendering no runs on two hits, three walks, and five strikeouts.
Framber Valdez ultimately stole the show, throwing five innings of no-run, two-hit baseball in relief of Greinke. On the other side, Trevor May threw a solid inning of relief baseball but Tyler Duffey surrendered an RBI single to George Springer in the seventh. From this point on, the Astros never looked back, only adding insurance runs by chasing Sergio Romo out of the game in the ninth after Jose Altuve drew a bases-loaded walk and Michael Brantley notched a two-run single.
Houston leads series, 1-0
Next game: Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 1:08 p.m. EST
Lucas Giolito flirted with perfection on Tuesday, ultimately allowing one run on two hits over seven-plus innings. On the other side, Jesus Luzardo struggled, surrendering three runs on six hits over 3.1 innings. His bullpen bailed him out, settling down for just one run over the rest of the game, but it was too little, too late.
Tim Anderson slugged three hits in four at-bats, scoring once. Jose Abreu and Adam Engel each notched two-hit games. Both Abreu and Engel, as well as Yasmani Grandal, homered in Chicago’s victory. Oakland, meanwhile, finished with just three hits and one run, the latter of which scored on a Ramon Laureano groundout.
Chicago leads series, 1-0
Next game: Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 3:10 p.m. EST
While all four games were intriguing, Rays-Blue Jays was arguably the least exciting. Still, the two AL East clubs battled it out for nine innings before Tampa Bay emerged with a 3-1 victory. Blake Snell went 5.2 innings, allowing one hit and two walks while not allowing a run. Relieving him for Tampa Bay was Diego Castillo, who allowed one hit in two-thirds of an inning. On the other side, Matt Shoemaker also impressed with three scoreless frames before Robby Ray entered in relief, picking up the loss while allowing one run in three innings. While Ray was tagged with the loss, the real struggles came from A.J. Cole, who allowed two earned runs despite recording just one out.
The offensive production was somewhat quiet as the two teams combined for just nine hits. Manuel Margot’s two-hit game was the most impactful in the offensive column as he hit a two-run home run along the way. Tampa Bay’s other run came on a Robbie Ray wild pitch while the Blue Jays’ lone scoring production was accounted for by Bo Bichette, who plated Rowdy Tellez on a sacrifice fly.
Tampa Bay leads series, 1-0
Next game: Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 4:07 p.m. EST
The first three games combined for 14 runs, which was less than the combined score of this one game. The Yankees clobbered four home runs en route to a nine-run victory, giving them a huge leg-up over the pitching-heavy Indians. American League Cy Young favorite Shane Bieber was chased out of the game after allowing seven runs on nine hits over 4.2 innings. Cam Hill and Adam Cimber also combined for five earned runs in 2.2 innings of relief baseball. On the other side, Gerrit Cole, who is no stranger to the playoffs, allowed just two runs over seven innings, allowing six hits along the way. Luis Cessa finished the job with two innings of one-run baseball to close out the game.
The main offensive storyline was the long ball, which heavily favored the Yankees. Four New York sluggers (Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Brett Gardner, Giancarlo Stanton) hit home runs while just one Cleveland batter (Josh Naylor) went yard. The Yankees finished with 15 hits while the Indians added eight. Cleveland’s pitching will need to see drastic improvement on Wednesday if they have any chance at forcing a Game 3.
New York leads series, 1-0
Next game: Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 7:08 p.m. EST