It’s all tied atop the AL East standings

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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.

Kenley Jansen gives up two homers, loses game in his return

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Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen was activated yesterday after missing ten days due to an irregular heartbeat. He says he feels great. That’s good!

Jansen also allowed back-to-back homers after entering a tie game in the ninth inning of last night’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals, picking up the loss. Jedd Gyorko and Matt Carpenter did the honors. That’s . . . not so good! At least not for Jansen and the Dodgers.

Jansen said after the game that he was healthy, but that his pitchers were simply flat. One has to assume it’s a matter of rust. And a matter of Matt Carpenter hitting a boatload of homers this year, and at some point there is only so much you can do to stop him. Bad result, of course.