The Boston Red Sox are barely hanging on to the top spot in the AL East as they hit the road for a matchup with one of the hottest teams in all of baseball this weekend. They passed the first test on Thursday night, as Xander Bogaerts hit the game-winning home run in the sixth inning for a 2-1 win over the Seattle Mariners. The win is the AL East leaders' fourth in a row, as David Price continued to improve since his injury-plagued start in Boston, moving his record to 8-4 after going seven innings and giving up just four hits. Price has now won six of his past seven appearances since returning from the disabled list. His toughest challenge was the American League's second-leading hitter, Jean Segura, who battled Price for an 11-pitch at-bat in the sixth inning, but could not reach base. Craig Kimbrel shut things down in the ninth for his 22nd save, snapping the Mariners' four-game win streak, while also giving the Red Sox their major league-leading 48th victory. Bogaerts' home run came off of Felix Hernandez on a 2-2 pitch, as the shorstop has already matched his total from last season with 10 home runs. Hernandez was pulled after the sixth inning and struck out six in his sixth loss. Jackie Bradley Jr. drove in the other run for the Red Sox with a double in the second inning, as Boston began a seven-game road trip. These two teams will continue this intriguing series on Friday night.
Torres Stays Hot With Long Ball in Yankees' Win
The New York Yankees are the only team putting pressure on the Boston Red Sox in the AL East, and they kept pace with them on Thursday with a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. Gleyber Torres stepped up yet again, as the 21-year-old hit the game-winning three-run home run, giving Domingo German his first-career win. The hurler struck out a career-high 10 over six innings, finally getting his first win, despite dealing since getting called up. Aaron Hick also went deep for the Yankees off of Blake Snell, who dropped to 8-4 in the opening of a four-game weekend series. Snell's loss in his second of the year against the Yankees, and snapped a four-game personal winning streak. German gave up a solo shot to Matt Duffy, and finished with three runs and five hits against him, and improved to 1-4 in his seventh start in place of injured starter Jordan Montgomery. It was also German's 19th career appearance in the big leagues, as he was replaced by Chad Green and Dellin Betances, before Aroldis Chapman recorded his 19th save in 20 tries. The Rays were coming off a home sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays, but could not stay hot on the road,. Wilson Ramos and Joey Wendle each drove in a run for Tampa Bay, who got off to a 2-0 lead on Thursday. Hicks' home run got the comeback started in the fifth inning, as it was his 13th long ball since being called up from the minors on April 22nd. Torres's home run was his fifth of the three-run variety, and second in as many days, as he also went deep in a loss to the Washington Nationals on Wednesday. This series continues at Yankee Stadium on Friday night, followed by consecutive matinee matchups to end the weekend.
Verlander, Astros Win Again on the Road
Despite the Seattle Mariners being so hot as of late, the Houston Astros are not going anywhere, as their been there-done that experience is helping them stay on top in the AL West. The Astros sent their ace, Justin Verlander, to the hill on Thursday, as he gave up just five hits over seven innings in a 7-3 win over the Oakland Athletics. Verlander struck out seven and did not walk a batter in what was the Astros' eighth straight victory, as well as his ninth win of the season. He got plenty of support, including Brian McCann going deep for the first time in over a month, as the Astros completed the road sweep of their division rivals. Five players finished with two hits apiece for the Astros, including Josh Reddick, Carlos Correa, and Jose Altuve to lead the way. Evan Gattis was just about all of the offensive support with five RBIs apiece in the first two games, but went 1-for-5 in the series finale. The win streak for Houston is their longest since winning 11 in a row from May 25-June 5th of last season, which ended with a World Series championship. They are now 8-1 against the Athletics this season. Oakland got long balls from Matt Olson and Khris Davis, both of which came against Verlander, whose ERA sits at 1.45. Davis's blast was his third in as many at-bats, after going deep the final two times on Wednesday. The A's stay home to host the Los Angeles Angels this weekend, while the Astros go to Kansas City to battle the lowly Royals.