Red-hot Yankees take over AL East with winning streak

The New York Yankees reeled off nine wins in a row to take the lead in American League East and move ahead of their crosstown rivals to take the No. 1 spot. 2 spot in USA TODAY Sports’ MLB power rankings this week.

Anthony Rizzo (nine) and Aaron Judge (eight) were baseball’s home run leaders through Sunday, helping power the Yankees to consecutive sweeps of the Guardians, Orioles and Royals over the past two weeks.

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Leading the Blue Jays by 1½ games in the division, the Yankees head north for a pivotal three-game set in Toronto starting Monday. The two teams split a four-game series in the Bronx the first week of the season.

Here’s how our eight-person panel voted this week:

Aaron Judge celebrates a home run against the Royals with Anthony Rizzo.

Aaron Judge celebrates a home run against the Royals with Anthony Rizzo.

Rank (movement from last week)

1. Los Angeles Dodgers (-)

  • Clayton Kershaw’s 11.74 K / 9 is his best mark since 2015.

2, New York Yankees (+3)

  • Anthony Rizzo led the team with nine home runs and 21 RBI in April.

3. New York Mets (-1)

  • Five pitchers combine for Mets’ second-ever no-hitter: Tylor Megill, Drew Smith, Joely Rodriguez, Seth Lugo and Edwin Diaz.

4. Toronto Blue Jays (-1)

  • Catcher Zack Collins has been a pleasant surprise with 3 HR, 7 RBI through 12 games.

5. The San Francisco Giants (-1)

  • Pederson game had a huge April: .353 BA, 6 HR, 1,127 OPS in 16 games.

6. San Diego Padres (+2)

  • Manny Machado may be the NL MVP frontrunner: 386 BA, 1,067 OPS, 20 runs in 22 games.

7. Milwaukee Brewers (+2)

  • Milwaukee pitchers led baseball with 228 strikeouts (198 IP) in April.

8. Tampa Bay Rays (-2)

  • First baseman Ji-Man Choi (.357 / .491 / .595) heads to the IL with elbow injury.

9. St. Louis Cardinals (-2)

  • Miles Mikolas has been dominant with a 1.52 ERA, 25 strikeouts and four walks in 27 innings.

10. Los Angeles Angels (+5)

  • The Angels’ .760 OPS in April was the best in baseball.

11. Minnesota Twins (+7)

  • Twins starters had a 2.78 ERA through 21 games, second in the American League.

12. Seattle Mariners (-)

  • Shortstop JP Crawford (.360 / .449 / .573) had a huge opening month.

13. Atlanta Braves (-3)

  • Ronald Acuña Jr. stole two bases in his first game since tearing his ACL last July.

14 Houston Astros (-)

  • Reliever Hector Neris (0.87 ERA in 11 games) has been a huge addition.

15. Miami Marlins (+5)

  • Lefty Jesus Luzardo had 28 strikeouts in his first four starts.

16. Philadelphia Phillies (+3)

  • Philadelphia won Ranger Suárez’s first four starts.

17. Chicago White Sox (-6)

  • Lance Lynn (knee surgery) is on track to make his 2022 debut by the end of May.

18. Boston Red Sox (-5)

  • Xander Bogaerts’ .375 batting average led the American League in April.

19. Colorado Rockies (-3)

  • Rockies led the majors with a .261 batting average in April.

20. Cleveland Guardians (-3)

  • Shane Bieber back in Cy Young form with a 2.45 ERA through five starts.

21. Oakland Athletics (+2)

  • Claimed off waivers, Sheldon Neuse hit .328 with 13 RBI in 19 April games.

22. Chicago Cubs (-)

  • Closer David Robertson didn’t allow a run in his first eight appearances.

23. Detroit Tigers (-2)

  • Bullpen posted an MLB-best 2.02 ERA in April.

24. Arizona Diamondbacks (+2)

  • The team’s .181 batting average in April was the worst in baseball.

25. Kansas City Royals (-1)

  • Shortstop Adalberto Mondesi’s suffers season-ending ACL injury.

26. Pittsburgh Pirates (+1)

  • Back of the bullpen has been solid with David Bednar, Wil Crowe and Dillon Peters.

27. Texas Rangers (-2)

  • Rangers pitchers gave up 32 home runs in April, the most in the majors.

28. Washington Nationals (-)

  • Josh Bell begins his contract year with a .365 average, 15 RBI in April.

29. Baltimore Orioles (-)

  • Homestand continues this week with four vs. Twins, three vs. Royals.

30. Cincinnati Reds (-)

  • Despite a 3-18 start, Reds ’.361 BA with runners in scoring position and two outs was baseball’s best.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: MLB power rankings: Yankees on top of AL East with winning streak

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