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It’s all tied atop the AL East standings

Sep 4, 2012, 10:41 PM EDT

New York Yankees' Derek Jeter reacts during the ninth inning of their MLB American League baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg Reuters

As it turned out, the Orioles didn’t need to wait until the weekend series against the Yankees for their chance to top the AL East standings.

Baltimore smoked Toronto 12-0 and the Yankees lost to the Rays 5-2 on Tuesday, setting up a tie for first place in the AL East. The Rays closed to within 1 1/2 games by beating the Bombers for the second straight day.

The Orioles’ win came first. Zach Britton, recalled from the minors earlier in the day, pitched seven scoreless innings, and Baltimore pitching shut out Toronto for the second straight day.  Mark Reynolds, who had a pair of two-homer games in the Bronx over the weekend, went 3-for-4 with a three-run homer and four RBI in this one. Nick Markakis, Chris Davis and Manny Machado also collected three hits apiece.

Tampa Bay’s win was closer, but the Yankees never did score again after Robinson Cano‘s two-run homer off Alex Cobb in the first. As for the Rays, they had just five hits, but three of them were homers from Evan Longoria, Desmond Jennings and B.J. Upton, the latter two coming consecutively in the fifth inning. Upton also had an RBI double in the contest.

The Yankees had been alone in first place for 84 straight days, a streak that is now over. They led the Rays by 10 1/2 games as recently as July 18, but Tampa Bay has made up nine games in a month and a half. If it’s not yet panic time in the Bronx, it’s getting pretty close. They’re not going to want their postseason to come down to a one-game, winner-take-all series with Hiroki Kuroda matching up against David Price.

  1. goskinsvt - Sep 4, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    Orioles Magic baby.

  2. psuravens19 - Sep 4, 2012 at 10:48 PM

    That will put a dent in the run differential that everyone wants to focus on…

  3. moagecu - Sep 4, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    So the Rays made up 9 games on the Yanks. Just didn’t want to mention that the Orioles made up 10.5. Great reporting.

    • paperlions - Sep 4, 2012 at 11:14 PM

      They actually only made up 10, because on July 18th, the Yankees were only up 10 games on Baltimore, who was in 2nd place,….Tampa was tied for 3rd with Boston.

      • Eddie - Sep 5, 2012 at 8:04 AM

        Actually they made up 10.5 because on July 18th, the Yankees were 10 up, and then beat Toronto at home in an afternoon start. The O’s did not play that day until an evening start @ Minnesota.

  4. qcubed3 - Sep 4, 2012 at 10:56 PM

    This has to be the first time something like this has happened in the AL East, since, jeez, I don’t even know, like about 330 whole days ago, or something.

    • natstowngreg - Sep 5, 2012 at 9:05 AM

      Yes, but three important things have changed:

      1. Three teams are playing for a division championship and two wild card slots. Last year, it was about one wild card slot.
      2. The Red Sox are nowhere to be seen. They have been relegated to a spoiler role.
      3. The Baltimore Orioles are relevant again.

  5. 2fleas - Sep 4, 2012 at 11:07 PM

    Rays will win the east.

    • antlerclaws - Sep 4, 2012 at 11:13 PM

      And the Rangers will knock the Rays out for the third year in a row.

  6. johnnyb1976 - Sep 4, 2012 at 11:12 PM

    Wow! The yanks have just fell apart.

    • paperlions - Sep 5, 2012 at 7:39 AM

      Old things tend to do that after heavy use….the baseball season is long.

  7. Old Gator - Sep 4, 2012 at 11:18 PM

    I really thought that the last week of the regular season, and the first round of playoffs last year was as good as it could get. I grant you that this is only the beginning of September and the Soviet Union collapsed within a shorter period of time; there is still a whole lotta baseball to be played before October 3 and if we don’t yet know that anything can happen in this game, we are always on the cusp of being liable to find it out.

    Still, there is that special frisson of watching the Borg implode like this. If it feels good, it’s schadenfreude; if it hurts, it’s jouissance. There’s no escaping it. Dear Buddha, how I love this game.

    Now we come to a major question, which, though premature, is complex enough that we ought to be asking it now: what do we call a Gnats/Gloryholes World Series? We can’t really call it the I-95 Series because the other I-95 teams wouldn’t be involved – not even the Feesh. The Baltimore-Washington Parkway series sounds like shit. Forget that. The Chesapeake and Patomac Series? Ummmm…maybe, but it sounds like the name of an extinct railroad. Personally, I kinda like the Pfiesteria piscicidia Series.

    Let’s keep working on it.

    And let’s not forget what a genius Peter Angelos is.

    • natstowngreg - Sep 5, 2012 at 9:35 AM

      Officially, Nats-O’s is The Battle of the Beltways (TM). Created by MASN to sell the teams’ annual interleague home-and-home series. Until this season, it was meaningless hype. Agreed, it’s boring.

      When I moved to Northern Virginia in the early ’80s, Chesapeake and Potomac was the phone company. Then it was renamed Bell Atlantic, later Verizon.

      I want to wish the Orioles ill because of Peter Angelos. First, because he tried to keep us in the National Capital Region from getting a team. He demanded that we trek up to Bal’mer and root for his joke of a team. Second, because of what he did to a proud franchise and a great fan base. He took an organization that was a model for doing things right, ran it into the ground, and drove the fans away. But I can’t wish the O’s ill. Their fans have deserved better, and they’re starting to get it.

  8. sajeddk - Sep 4, 2012 at 11:18 PM

    Everyone talks about the red sox melt down this year. At least they sucked all year. Just last week it was as if the Yankees were already being crowned the champions….what entertainment would it be to see both the orioles and the rays in the playoffs and the mighty yanks sitting out

    • bozosforall - Sep 5, 2012 at 1:16 AM

      Red Sox were also in first earlier last year, moron.

      • paperlions - Sep 5, 2012 at 7:40 AM

        This year. Not last year, THIS year. Read.

      • bozosforall - Sep 6, 2012 at 2:11 AM

        I did read. I was comparing last year to this year. Red Sox still sucked worse.

      • bozosforall - Sep 6, 2012 at 2:12 AM

        I did read. I was comparing last year to this year. Red Sox still sucked worse.

      • bozosforall - Sep 6, 2012 at 2:12 AM

        I did read. I was comparing last year to this year. Red Sox still sucked worse.

      • bbil2012 - Sep 5, 2012 at 10:00 AM

        This season (repeat-this season) isn’t over and you are concerned about comparing collapses? Pathetic.

      • bozosforall - Sep 6, 2012 at 8:47 PM

        Not “comparing collapses”, moron. Merely telling Red Sox fans to lose the hypocrisy.

    • purnellmeagrejr - Sep 5, 2012 at 4:07 AM

      bozos – why engage in callling someone a moron for not knowing the REd Sox briefly inhabited FIrst place? seems a bit extreme.

      • aceshigh11 - Sep 5, 2012 at 8:35 AM

        You must be new here. Bozo is a complete piece of shit.

  9. tbbucsrays - Sep 4, 2012 at 11:23 PM

    The rays and orioles combined payroll doesn’t equal yankees so with that said…looks like the tanks might have to do what Boston did. Next yr they will start to unload!!

    • teaspoon1731 - Sep 5, 2012 at 12:00 AM

      The yanks will never unload. Big money has been their style for quite some time. (I’m not saying that as a knock. I know they have home grown guys and don’t just buy championships. But they’ve been shelling out a substantial payroll for a good long while and will continue to do so)

  10. willclarkgameface - Sep 4, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    I love this, but I’m still having a hard time buying all-in on the Orioles. They looked damn good tonight against a AAAA Toronto pitching staff and the Yankees look real pathetic against really great Rays pitching.

    I don’t know what else I need to see from this team other than what we’ve all been privy to for 135 games. They’re good. I’m shocked.

    Let’s see how the last 2 weeks unfold. I’d love to see the Orioles win it and the Rays take the Wild Card, sending the Yankees home in 3rd place. What a day that would be!

  11. rockthered1286 - Sep 4, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    Gator-
    Same as we do with football. Battle of the Beltways. That would be pure insanity in this area!!! Imagine how much money Natty Boh would make…

    • natslady - Sep 4, 2012 at 11:52 PM

      That would be incredible. Got my postseason order in for the Nats, how about the O’s, let me get in line!

      • Old Gator - Sep 4, 2012 at 11:59 PM

        “Battle of the Beltways.” Meh. Aside from being boring, why the hell let the pigball writers name your championship series? You can – and, one hopes, you will – do better.

      • stex52 - Sep 5, 2012 at 8:31 AM

        How about Civil War, Part 2. Or are we going to have that after the election anyway?

      • Old Gator - Sep 5, 2012 at 9:39 AM

        Heh – that idiot sheriff in Lubbock. What a dumb schmuck. Texas clearly leads the nation in morons, and will continue to do so unless Arizona or Kansas swell to fifteen times their present population.

      • stex52 - Sep 5, 2012 at 10:23 AM

        A painful assertion, if not without some merit. I like to think that our moron % is not that far off the mean, it’s just that there are a lot more of us than there used to be. But that whole plains/desert/mountain area of Texas is a different world. I’ve sent a fair amount of time in “No Country for Old Men” areas. The people are unfailingly cordial and generous to strangers, but a certain mindset seems to develop with the harsh climate and isolation. Crazy talk about things far away can be fairly standard.

        And Lubbock is a different animal. That’s “High Plains Drifter” trying to be “Dallas.” Ask Paperlions some time.

      • anybodyinhere - Sep 5, 2012 at 12:48 PM

        How about “The 45 Minutes as a Crow Flies and 6 1/2 Hours in Traffic Series”?

    • pipkin42 - Sep 5, 2012 at 5:40 AM

      The National Bohemian brand is currently owned by Pabst, located in Los Angeles, California…

      • rockthered1286 - Sep 5, 2012 at 7:40 AM

        Pipkin- don’t be foolish. It doesn’t matter where it’s HQ’d NOW, it matters where it came from. Let’s take a factual walk down memory lane shall we?
        -The heritage of Natty Boh comes back to Baltimore, MD, where it originated in the late 1800’s.
        -the VAST majority of Boh sales are in the Baltimore,MD area.
        -Back in the 60’s it was named the official beer of Baltimore
        -Natty Boh’s former president at one time owner BOTH the O’s and Nats.
        -the slogan “from the land of plesant living” is in reference to the Chesapeake Bay.
        -Natty Boh has a signature O’s can for sale during baseball season, and to my knowledge, do not produce one for any other team (maybe Nats).

        You see my friend, everything about the Boh shouts Baltimore. Not LA (which is just an office building, it’s actually brewed in NY, GA, and CO). As a matter of fact, I can say for a fact that it’s impossible to walk through the harbor, fells point, fed hill, or canton (major areas in Baltimore for the non-locals)without see something Natty Boh for sale somewhere. Hell, we even have a giant Natty Boh tower with a giant Natty Boh neon light that winks at you every 2 minutes!!

        So my friend, in closing I have only one thing to say:

        CHEERS TO MY O’S, BRO’S, AND NATTY BOHS!!

  12. rockthered1286 - Sep 4, 2012 at 11:31 PM

    Willclarkgameface-
    Just found this out and thought it help you feel better about the yard birds: Jays bullpen ERA in the past 3 weeks is under 2. They’ve been dominant. And tonight the birds dismantled them easily. That’s a great sign there.

    • Ben - Sep 5, 2012 at 2:28 AM

      Meaningless sample size doesn’t tell you anything about another meaningless sample size.

  13. mazblast - Sep 5, 2012 at 12:14 AM

    Good article, talked about and even named the teams involved in the race with the Almighty Yankees.

    gator–don’t worry, the hack writers will come up with something truly horrid if the O’s and Nats meet in the WS. I favor “Series Improbable” myself.

  14. thatyankeedude - Sep 5, 2012 at 12:30 AM

    I’m a Yankee fan and I am glad this little collapse is happening. Haha u guys actually think Derek jeter and his crew are gonna lie down and let the rays and orioles take what is rightfully the Yankees? It’s Yankee time now where they play it close to the chest but prevail. Forget what they say about not looking at the standings believe me they are and that may just be the kick in the ass that gets this team rolling again. This humbles the Yankees but humility can only last so long with a team like the Yankees, they will find a groove and if they don’t guess what? $$$$$ offseason$$$$$$$$$$

    • psuravens19 - Sep 5, 2012 at 8:05 AM

      Yankee teams in the past I would agree with you, but his is a different team that isn’t that good.

    • pauleee - Sep 5, 2012 at 10:46 AM

      Oh, you’re THAT dude. Got it.

  15. Tim's Neighbor - Sep 5, 2012 at 12:51 AM

    Of course, and I’m sure no one’s surprised, not a single clutch hit from A-Rod during this drought.

    • mazblast - Sep 5, 2012 at 1:15 AM

      Didn’t A-Roid just come off the DL this weekend? It’s not as if he’s been “unclutch” throughout this run of blah.

      God, I hate defending that guy.

      • Alex K - Sep 5, 2012 at 9:02 AM

        I think you missed the joke…..

  16. tashkalucy - Sep 5, 2012 at 1:14 AM

    Ahhhhh,

    The names I was called last year when I said the days of the Yankees and Red Sox being the talk of baseball were over. The Red Sox were total dead meat (how could anyone NOT see that after their September collapse….Bobby Valentine?…Seriously…..a guy the GM wanted no part of but the suits told him who the manager would be….that’s a swell way to run a team….), and the Yankees are a bunch of overpaid old guys along with some like Texeria that have been proven to be quite ordinary but because they’re bing paid outrageous salaries they’re talked about like they’re stars.

    The Red Sox have not been the same since Manny was traded. I said that Theo Epstein was the most overrated GM in years, and finally last week a guy in Forbes wrote THE SAME THING listing all the money he threw at players while building on the foundation that Dan Duquette was responsible for – primarily signing Manny who was the one guy on the team that knew how to win. The SAME Dan Duquette that took over the Orioles a year ago…..the Orioles that just tied the Yankees with a payroll 2-and-a-half times bigger then the O’s.

    The Yankees still have Derek Jeter, and like Magic Johnson with the Lakers, he will be associated with the team for the next 30 years. But Derek is getting older. Cano doesn’t even go 80% out a good portion of the time and there is no one on the Yankees to take over their leadership role anymore then there was on the Red Sox when Manny left…..unless you think being a leader is listening to Ortiz complaining about everything, saying he’s under-appreciated and that can change if he’s given more money. And boy, do the Yankees ever miss George! Do you think he would be flying around the world to his many mansions and counting the dough like his kids, or do you think he would be pounding a fist on the table and going straight after the front office, the manager, the coaches and the players. Without George, there is no sense of urgency. Forget no longer the two most visible teams in baseball – they aren’t even the two most interesting teams in the AL East.

    They got Manny and George from Cleveland. Those were the guys that made it happen. They’ve been cruising since, and now the know-it-all baseball fans could either learn how major league baseball is played, or – and what they will do – go watch the other sports saying baseball is no longer interesting to them.

    Yankees are going to get much, much worse. The Red Sox are already in the bottom 25% of teams in MLB, and they’re not going to get substantially better anytime soon.

    • mazblast - Sep 5, 2012 at 1:26 AM

      I’m not sure where you were going with “They got Manny and George from Cleveland”, considering those two events were nearly 30 years apart and one was a free agent who signed with the Sox and the other the guy who bought the Yankees.

      Other than that, great posting. The Yankees will stay at or near the top due to the money they will spend, but the Red Sox, with all their money, are beyond patching and need to tear it down and start over–and that won’t happen with their top brass.

      The media, particularly ESPN, will focus on the Yankees and Red Sox ad infinitum, ad nauseum, because they’re lazy and because the viewers, trained mice that they are, keep watching. Heaven forbid the MSM should show some respect for their viewers/readers and cover all 30 teams as in-depth as they cover the every utterance, breath, fart, and bowel movement of Jeter, Ortiz, Girardi, Valentine, et al.

      • tashkalucy - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:40 AM

        Thanks, but I don’t agree that the “Yankees will stay at or near the top due to the money they will spend…..”.

        Don’t look now, but the economics of baseball have been changing the past few years. The Yankees didn’t sell out their combination shopping mall / entertainment center which has what is supposed to be a baseball park in it. Their cable TV market is pretty much saturated, as are all forms of revenue streams. Not only isn’t there room for ever more spending because the never-ending revenue growth has ended, but the Steinbrenner family are living the high life off the Yankees, and the team has monies on the books to be paid to past players that took long payouts (is Oscar Gamble done being paid?). Add to that the fact that the revenue sharing tax is beginning to be felt by teams like the Yankees and Red Sox. Furthermore, other markets like Dallas, Anaheim and Los Angeles and now getting those billion-dollar cable TV contracts to bid on players. The yankees and Red Sox don’t have a monopoly anymore.

        The field has leveled out some. Sure, the Yankees are still miles ahead of Tampa Bay and Baltimore in revenue streams, but those organizations can find superior pitchers and coach them up before they become established guys that teams like the Yankees overpay by 4-6 times what they’re really worth. Look at the outrageous amount of money the Yankees had to pay CC. There are at least 10 AL starters I would take over him any day. The guy must be making $30M a year now. Heck, David Price is making $4.3M and I would take him over CC in a big game any day.

        Whether it be last years Mets, this years Phillies or Red Sox, or any number of teams that have taken on big payrolls only to find themselves stuck with them (as the Dodgers will in a few years), MLB is now migrating to a league where player evaluation and development makes the difference between being a contender or just being a big spender that stays a bit over .500.

        The Yankees need to change their ways. Austin Jackson is a much better player then Granderson. The big bat they gave the Mariners for a sore armed pitcher happens, but piled on top of other things, the Yankees can’t afford those sorts of mistakes as they could in the past. The Yankees have to develop players and keep them now. As a guy said on national radio when I was driving home from work – when you have to depend on 87 year-old Andy Pettite to get back in the rotation, you’re in big trouble.

    • daisycutter1 - Sep 5, 2012 at 9:50 AM

      tl;dr

  17. isaiahforreal - Sep 5, 2012 at 2:55 AM

    I’d actually put my money on Kuroda

  18. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:34 AM

    Jeter really should lay off all that Bud Light and KFC…….

    Sorry, folks. Goodnight.

  19. mf44srq - Sep 5, 2012 at 8:55 AM

    David Price is not starting, Matt Moore is. I’ll take Moore…

  20. sparky1002 - Sep 5, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    It never fails….winning eventually breeds hatred among sports fans. Interesting to notice how a baseball teams willingness to spend top dollar on some of the best players in the sport seems to negate the simple fact that all the best players can`t be placed on a single teams roster. It seems something about MLB rules prevents it by virtue of limiting the amount of players an MLB team can have. I guess that leaves plenty of other great ball players to play for the poorer teams. Steinbrenner balled out players for not performing up to the standards he figured was due him for the money he paid, yet many berated the man for expecting such performance and taking his team in hand when they didn`t give it. Too bad the man has passed…too bad for the Yankees because an ass-kicking is justified now, especially when a team can drop a 10 game lead in only a few weeks. Yes the team is old but collectively that means they have more experience in competing which should be an advantage that lessens the chance of choking under pressure, shouldn`t it?

  21. deathmonkey41 - Sep 5, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    Yep, no more articles from Craig mocking Yankees fans for saying the HR only offense would eventually falter down the stretch…nothing from all his parroting minions either…

  22. nbjays - Sep 5, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    I don’t hate the Yankees so much as I hate the sense of entitlement the fans seem to have about being in the postseason. You can overspend all you want, but more money does NOT always translate to being the best team, which is as it should be. I think that having the Red Sox, Phillies and Yankees miss the playoffs would not be the national tragedy that Yankee fans envision.

    • mazblast - Sep 5, 2012 at 1:57 PM

      Yankee fans couldn’t care less about whether the Red Sox, Phillies, Cubs, Braves, Mets, etc., make the playoffs. The only thing that matters to them is whether the Yankees make the playoffs–AND have the top seed-AND win the AL–AND win the World Series. If the Yankees don’t win it all, the season is a failure, and sometimes I think evenwinning it all is just barely satisfactory to them.

      Even that small-mindedness would be bearable if not for the sense of entitlement they have. Memo to Yankee fans–Moses did not come down from Mt. Sinai with a third tablet saying, “The Yankees shall win the World series every year”, and Jesus did not walk around ancient Israel wearing a Yankees cap..

      • deathmonkey41 - Sep 5, 2012 at 2:37 PM

        That’s so stupid- of course Jesus didn’t wear a Yankees cap…they were still the HIghlanders back then!

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