1st Down: The New York Yankees, if you haven’t noticed, are really, really good, and they continued to rack up stats to prove as much on Monday night as they won their 50th game of the season by taking down the Rays in Tampa Bay by a score of 4-2. The Bronx Bombers again got sterling pitching performance, this time from Gerrit Cole, as he took a no-hit bid into the eighth only to have that snapped and an early lead erased. No problem, however, as Aaron Hicks tripled in the top of the ninth to restore the AL East leaders’ edge before an insurance run came via a sac fly. The Yankees have made their third-best start ever this campaign, and they have been so good in June that they have still yet to lose consecutive outings.
2nd Down: The youngsters were out in full force on Monday for the Pittsburgh Pirates as they took on the Chicago Cubs rather successfully at PNC Park. In their 12-1 win over their NL Central foes, the Bucs got a tremendous amount of support from two young rookies that the franchise will hope can lead them to better days ahead. Shortstop Oneil Cruz showcased a laser cannon of an arm and accrued two hits and four RBIs while debuting Bligh Madrid, an outfielder, went 3-4 with two RBIs to begin his career. Both teams are some ways away from .500, so at this point, it’s really playing for the future.
3rd Down: The College Baseball World Series rolled on Monday in Omaha, and that meant that someone else had to go home as the #14 Auburn Tigers dismissed #2 Stanford 6-2. The Cardinal led 2-0 after the second inning and held the lead until the sixth, but the SEC school couldn’t be held back and piled up those six runs over the sixth and seventh to amass an unassailable lead and send the PAC-12 school packing. Auburn will now know that Arkansas awaits them after the Razorbacks fell 13-5 to Ole Miss in the nightcap. The Rebels hit three homers in the rout, and they will now await the victor as they edged closer to lifting the trophy.
4th Down: Katie Ledecky keeps doing what Katie Ledecky does. Monday saw her take a 20th gold from the FINA World Championships, helping her maintain a firm grip on the 1500m freestyle. That win, done at 15:30.15 gives her four in that particular event, meaning she was seven seconds quicker than when she took gold in the same event in Tokyo. Only Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte currently own more medals in the world championships than Ledecky.