Clayton Kershaw brought up his 200th career win with a shutout as the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the New York Mets 5-0 on Tuesday.

The Dodgers left-hander moved to 22nd on the all-time major league strikeout list with nine K's across seven scoreless innings, allowing only three hits and no walks.

Kershaw joined Don Sutton and Don Drysdale as the only pitchers with 200 wins in a Dodgers uniform, while he becomes one of four active players to reach the mark, alongside Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Zack Greinke.

J.D. Martinez blasted home runs in the first and third innings, before adding an eighth-inning RBI single to finish with four RBIs.

Freddie Freeman went one-for-four, with one run and one RBI from a sacrifice fly.

The win was the Dodgers' first shutout of the season, led by Kershaw who produced a vintage performance to bring up his milestone.

The three-time Cy Young ward winner's career record improved to 200-88 in 405 games.

Ohtani laser sets up Angels win over Yankees

Shohei Ohtani blasted a two-run laser beam homer in the first inning as the Los Angeles Angels downed the New York Yankees 5-2 on the 100th anniversary of Yankee Stadium.

Ohtani's early blast sparked the Angels' triumph in a star-studded encounter featuring three AL MVPs where Aaron Judge went none-for-three, struck out twice while he drove in one with a fourth-inning sacrifice fly.

Mike Trout went two-for-four scoring in the fourth inning from Anthony Rendon's single. Rendon also drove in Ohtani in the fifth with a sacrifice fly, opening up the decisive 5-2 lead.

Verdugo delivers bizarre walk-off hit

Alex Verdugo produced a bizarre walk-off hit as the Boston Red Sox edged the Minnesota Twins 5-4 in a dramatic 10th inning thriller.

Verdugo's fly ball to right field barely stayed fair, catching outfielder Max Kepler unaware as it bounced off the wall just short of Pesky's Pole and back into play. The umpires reviewed the drive for several minutes, deeming it fair to clinch the walk-off win.

Red Sox starter Chris Sale had 11 strikeouts across six innings, while Verdugo went three-for-five with one run and the decisive RBI for Reese McGuire to score after the Twins had gone 4-2 up at the top of the 10th.

Shohei Ohtani helped his Los Angeles Angels snap a three-game losing streak on Sunday, igniting a 5-4 road win against the Boston Red Sox.

Ohtani started on the mound at Fenway Park, giving up one run while striking out three batters across the opening two innings. 

He also collected a base hit in the first frame, and followed it with another single in the second, before rain arrived and forced a weather delay.

With his arm cooling down during the lengthy break, Ohtani was replaced by Tucker Davidson upon resumption, but the five runs the Angels put up in the first two innings proved to be enough.

The catalyst for their bright offensive start was Hunter Renfroe, connecting on a three-run homer with the game's fourth at-bat. Renfroe then added his fourth RBI of the contest an inning later with a ground-out.

Red Sox star Rafael Devers tried to ignite a late comeback in the bottom of the ninth, with his RBI single bridging the gap to 5-4 while runners remained on first and second base with one out, but Rob Refsnyder and Masataka Yoshida could not muster a hit from either of the final two at-bats.

After the win, Angels manager Phil Nevin said the team would discuss moving up Ohtani's next start due to his limited workload this time out.

Rangers pitch combined one-hitter 

There was an injury scare for Texas Rangers ace Jacob deGrom, but it could not sour their terrific 4-0 shutout of the Kansas City Royals.

DeGrom was withdrawn after four innings of work with what the team called a precaution due to wrist soreness, but he held the Royals hit-less during those four innings, and the bullpen only allowed one hit the rest of the way.

Dane Dunning came in and tossed four innings in relief, allowing one hit and one walk in a great showing, while the bulk of the offensive damage was done by a three-run homer from Josh Jung in the first inning.

It was Jung's third home run of the season, and team-mate Marcus Semien joined him with three for the campaign after a solo homer of his own.

Rays keep home run streak alive in loss

The Tampa Bay Rays suffered a disappointing 8-1 road defeat at the hands of the Cincinnati Reds, but not before keeping their historic home run streak alive.

The Rays were down 8-0 in the last inning when Josh Lowe hit a consolation home run, but with it, he marked the 17th consecutive game Tampa have hit a home run in to start the season.

Tampa Bay slipped to a still league-leading 14-3 record with the loss, but they are now just three games with a home run away from tying the 2019 Seattle Mariners for the longest streak to start a season in MLB history.

Mike Trout joined some elite company with his 300th career double but it was an unhappy return for the Los Angeles Angels who lost 9-7 to the Boston Red Sox on Saturday.

Trout, who went three-for-four, became just the fourth player in MLB history to reach 300 doubles, 300 homers and 200 stolen bases by his age-31 season, alongside  Willie Mays, Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez.

The Angels had skipped ahead to a 4-0 lead after Urshela's first-inning grand slam, with Trout having doubled to left to reach his milestone with a rocket off the Green Monster.

But Rafael Devers halved the deficit with his seventh blast of the season, a two-run shot, taking him up to the top of the majors' charts for home runs.

Yu Chang ended his none-for-29 drought with a go-ahead two-run homer in the fourth inning,

The Angels regained the lead in the sixth inning from Shohei Ohtani's RBI single. Ohtani also extended his on-base streak to 36 games, which is the best active streak in the majors.

But Chang delivered again with a two-run single in the eighth inning to finish with four RBIs. That came amid an eighth where Angels' Matt Thaiss was called twice for catcher interference, prolonging the inning.

Ryan Brasier got the win, with Kenley Jensen taking the final three outs for his fourth save.

Alonso blasts league-leading homer in Mets win

Pete Alonso crushed his league-leading seventh home run of the season as the New York Mets rallied past the Oakland Athletics 3-2.

Alonso's fourth-inning blast got the wheels in motion for the Mets, after the A's opened up a 2-0 lead at the bottom of the second inning.

The Mets rallied into the lead with two runs in the seventh inning, with Mark Canha's 414-foot homer followed by Brandon Nimmo's RBI double.

Alonso leads the majors for homers with seven alongside Red Sox's Rafael Devers, with Baltimore Orioles' Ryan Mountcastle and Los Angeles Dodgers' Max Muncy having six each.

Miggy records 16th career walk-off with single

Miguel Cabrera produced an 11th-inning walk-off single for the Detroit Tigers to edge the San Francisco Giants 7-6.

The Tigers had to rally from a five-run deficit, trailing 6-1 after J.D. Davis' two-run blast at the top of the third inning, pulling back two runs in the fifth, before Javier Baez's two-run double in the eighth followed by Spencer Torkelson's single.

Detroit's 39-year-old pinch-hitter, who recorded his 3,000th career hit last season, brought up his 16th career walk-off with his 3,095th career hit up the middle to score Torkelson.

The Minnesota Twins came back from the worst possible start to earn a 4-3 road win against the New York Yankees on Friday.

In a stunning first inning in front of their home fans, the Yankees led 2-0 after two at-bats. Rookie Anthony Volpe connected on a 394-foot shot to left-center field for his first career home run, and he was followed by reigning AL MVP Aaron Judge, who sent his solo home run 404 feet for his fifth dinger of the season.

Judge's five home runs this season trails only Baltimore Orioles slugger Ryan Mountcastle and New York Mets star Pete Alonso for the league's most, both with six.

But those two runs would be the only scores until the sixth inning, when Carlos Correa put the Twins on the board with a solo home run of his own, barely scraping over the short-porch at right-field with a distance of 331 feet.

Giancarlo Stanton answered for the Yankees in the bottom of the sixth, cancelling out Correa's blast with another solo home run, before Kyle Garlick smacked the game's fifth solo homer to cut the New York lead to 3-2.

But after Michael Taylor and Byron Buxton both got on base to lead off the eighth frame, Correa came through again with a two-run double to give the Twins their first lead, setting up Jhoan Duran to come in and pick up the save – his fourth of the season.

The win was the Twins' fourth in a row, improving their AL Central-leading record to 10-4, while the Yankees slipped to 8-6.

Jays end the Rays' historic start

The Tampa Bay Rays have had their perfect start to the season snapped at 13 wins after the Toronto Blue Jays defeated them 6-3 at home.

George Springer gave the Blue Jays an early lead when he sent the second pitch from Rays starter Drew Rasmussen 440 feet for a lead-off home run, before team-mate Bo Bichette doubled their lead with a ground-rule double in the second inning.

Bichette went on to collect five hits from his five at-bats – three singles and two doubles – but it was loose pitching from Tampa Bay that doomed them to defeat.

Trailing just 2-1 in the sixth inning, the Rays issued two bases-loaded walks, and then allowed two more runs to score on an error.

Tampa Bay tied the 1982 Atlanta Braves and the 1987 Milwaukee Brewers for the best start to a season (13-0) since the 1884 St Louis Maroons (20-0).

Ohtani and Trout both hit, walk in Angels loss

The Los Angeles Angels went down 5-3 on the road against the Boston Red Sox, despite their two former AL MVPs both finishing with a hit and a walk.

Shohei Ohtani went one-for-four with a walk, while Mike Trout also went one-for-four with a walk, although his hit went for a double down the left-field line.

The production from the Angels' stars was not enough to overcome three fielding errors as a team, including two costly errors from third-baseman Anthony Rendon to allow three runs, and a fourth run scored on a passed ball from catcher Logan O'Hoppe.

Boston's top bat Rafael Devers was the highlight for the home side, connecting on his equal league-leading sixth homer.

Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash reflected on a "pretty amazing" achievement on Thursday after his side improved their perfect start to 13-0.

The Rays defeated the Boston Red Sox 9-3 to bring up their 13th consecutive win, tying the 1982 Atlanta Braves and the 1987 Milwaukee Brewers for the best start to a season in modern history.

Tampa Bay are seven games away from tying the overall record of 20-0, set 139 years ago by the St Louis Maroons back in 1884.

They did it with a fifth-inning surge, where they turned a 3-1 deficit into an 8-3 lead. A double and three singles brought in three Rays runs to jump ahead by one, and after Wander Franco was hit by a pitch, Manuel Margot surprised even his manager with his decision.

With bases loaded and two outs, Margot opted to drop a first-pitch bunt down the third-base line, safely reaching first, bringing another run in and keeping the inning alive.

Designated hitter Harold Ramirez took full advantage, following with a bases-clearing double to take the contest by the scruff of the neck.

Speaking after the win, Cash was asked what the most impressive aspect of their current run has been.

"Just the overall quality of our at-bats," he said. "I can't say that we foresaw that coming, but we've got a bunch of guys who are seeing the ball well right now.

"We've come up with some timely hitting – [tonight] might have been the mostly timely to-date. But we got momentum, and it just seemed like it was going to continue to roll.

"Manny's at-bat, the bases-loaded bunt – it certainly shocked me – and then Harold comes up and hits a double down the line to open up the game.

"I think we were all pretty shocked [by the bunt]... but it worked."

Touching on their 13-0 record after series sweeps against the Detroit Tigers, Washington Nationals, Oakland Athletics and now the Red Sox, Cash said it is rare to have everything clicking like this.

"Pretty amazing," he said. "Congrats to all of our guys, and I'm glad that we did it at home, because we had tremendous fan support throughout this entire home stand. They really got loud when we needed them to, and it seemed like our guys were energised by that.

"When you do something like that you're playing really well. There's not one part of our game right now that we don't feel good about.

"We want to be really good with our roster from 14-15 throughout 40, and we feel like we are. We've got many guys who are going to contribute during the season, and many guys that have already contributed.

"To go on a run like this everything's got to be clicking, and you've got to get contributions from all parts of your roster."

Tampa Bay's 13-game winning streak also sets a new franchise record for longest winning streak at any point of a season, eclipsing their 12 wins in a row during the 2004 campaign.

The Tampa Bay Rays tied the record for the best start to an MLB season since 1884 after defeating the Boston Red Sox 9-3 on Thursday to improve to 13-0.

To reach 13-0, the Rays completed their fourth consecutive series sweep to begin the campaign. They began their season at home with a three-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers, before a three-game sweep at the Washington Nationals, followed by a three-game sweep of the visiting Oakland Athletics.

Thursday's victory polished off a four-game series against the Red Sox, and while the whole team is in great touch, nobody is swinging a hotter bat than second-baseman Brandon Lowe.

Lowe, 28, hit a solo home run in the seventh inning, marking his fifth game with a home run from his past six starts. He has made the most of his extra-base hits, with only one double and no triples, as five of his 11 total hits this season have cleared the wall.

Tampa Bay ended up scoring the last eight runs of the contest, as the Red Sox opened up a 3-1 lead in the fifth inning thanks to a home run from Rob Refsnyder and RBIs to Enrique Hernandez and Justin Turner.

But a seven-run explosion from the Rays at the bottom of the fifth turned the tide, highlighted by a bases-clearing double from designated hitter Harold Ramirez as one of his three hits on the day.

Tampa Bay starting pitcher Jeffrey Springs was forced to leave earlier than planned in the fourth innings due to inflammation in his elbow, but that only put a slight damper on the evening as they joined the 1982 Atlanta Braves and 1987 Milwaukee Brewers as the only teams since 1884 to reach 13-0.

One more win on the road against the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday would give the Rays the best post-1900 start to a season, with 20-0 the overall record set by the 1884 St Louis Maroons.

Rutschman nails walk-off homer for Baltimore

Elite young catcher Adley Rutschman was the hero as he connected on a walk-off home run to give the Baltimore Orioles an 8-7 victory over the Oakland Athletics.

In a back-and-forth contest where the teams combined for 21 hits, Rutschman himself was hit-less from four at-bats when he stepped up for a fifth time to lead off the bottom of the ninth.

He saw two fastballs, and connected on the second, sending it 405 feet to right-center field and ending the game.

Orioles shortstop Jorge Mateo collected his league-leading seventh stolen base, while team-mate Cedric Mullins stole his sixth to sit in a tie for second.

Twins hammer Yankees rookie

It was a day to forget for New York Yankees rookie starting pitcher Jhony Brito as he was only able to secure two outs before being pulled in his side's 11-2 home loss to the Minnesota Twins.

Brito gave up six hits and a walk, punctuated by a two-run Michael Taylor homer to put the Twins up 7-0 in the first inning. Brito was pulled, but his replacement Colten Brewer gave up two more solo homers before the end of the first.

Taylor ended up hitting his second two-run homer of the game in the third inning, before Anthony Rizzo added a pair of consolation solo home runs to put the Yankees on the board.

The Tampa Bay Rays claimed a franchise record and moved a step closer to an MLB record with Wednesday's 9-7 win over the Boston Red Sox that extended their season-opening streak to 12 wins.

The Rays improved to 12-0 with the win that included only one home run this time, coming from Randy Arozarena's first-inning opposite field three-run blast.

Taj Bradley fanned eight batters across five innings on his majors debut, allowing five hits, one walk and three runs, before Rafael Devers tightened up the scoreline with a three-run homer in the seventh inning.

But Arozarena's eighth-inning sacrifice fly meant Tampa Bay had done enough to extend their winning streak, meaning they are one short of matching the 13-0 starts by the Milwaukee Brewers (1987) and the Atlanta Braves (1982) which are the longest ever in MLB history.

The Rays matched a franchise record for a winning streak, previously 12 in a row from June 2004.

Tampa Bay have outscored their opponents 92-27 through the first dozen games, blasting 30 homers, which is only bettered by the 2019 Seattle Mariners (32) and the 2000 St Louis Cardinals (31).

Arozarena was struck out twice had four RBIs while Wander Franco went three-for-five with two RBIs and two runs.

Franco's fourth-inning two-run double opened up a 6-1 lead but the Red Sox did well to rally after reliever Zack Kelly left in the fifth with right elbow pain, while Devers snapped a run of 10 hitless at-bats.

The Rays can match the MLB record 13-0 season-opening start when they face the Red Sox again on Thursday.

Yankees win after Boone tossed & ump hospitalised

Aaron Boone was ejected early and Franchy Cordero homered for the fourth time this season as the New York Yankees rallied from a three-run deficit to beat the Cleveland Guardians 4-3.

Yankees manager Boone was tossed in the first inning following a confusing play, while second base umpire Larry Vanover was taken to hospital during the fifth after being struck in the face by a relay throw.

Vanover was struck in a bizarre sequence from Kyle Higashiakoa's RBI single, with the incident allowing Isiah Kiner-Falefa to score after Oswaldo Cabrera had plated.

Cordero tied the game with a 439-feet seventh-inning blast, before Cabrera's ninth-inning go-ahead single. Closer Clay Holmes was nervy, loading the bases on a hit batter, but finished the job.

Bregman finds form as Astros triumph

Alex Bregman homered for the second straight game as the inconsistent Houston Astros thrashed the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-0.

Bregman's three-run blast in the seventh inning opened up a 5-0 lead, after rookie outfielder Corey Julks crushed his maiden homer into left field in the fourth inning.

The Astros rode the pitching of Jose Urquidy who allowed only two hits – both singles - and three walks across six scoreless innings, striking out two.

The Tampa Bay Rays extended their season-opening winning streak to 11 games with Brandon Lowe homering for the fourth straight game in a 7-2 triumph over the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday.

The relentless Rays moved closer to history with the win where starter Shane McClanahan put in a strong display fanning nine batters across five innings allowing two hits and one run.

Tampa Bay are within reach of matching the best-ever MLB start since 1900, which is 13 wins held by the 1987 Milwaukee Brewers and the 1982 Atlanta Braves.

The Rays continued their dominant ways, after Monday's 1-0 win over the Red Sox, with an 83-20 run differential across those 11 games.

Brandon Lowe, Yandy Diaz, Isaac Paredes and Josh Lowe all homered for the Rays, who were 5-0 up after five innings.

Diaz and Brandon Lowe hit back-to-back solo homers with two out in the fifth inning to open up the 5-0 lead.

Tampa Bay have 29 homers across 11 games, which is a joint majors record through 11 games alongside the 2000 St Louis Cardinals.

Mountcastle rips franchise record in O's rally

Ryan Mountcastle hit a grand slam and a three-run homer to tie a franchise record nine RBIs to fire the Baltimore Orioles to a 12-8 win over the Oakland Athletics.

The A's led 7-3 in the fifth inning before Mountcastle led the rally with a three-run blast at the bottom of the same inning to bring it back to a one-run game.

Mountcastle produced his grand slam in the seventh with a 456-foot homer to left field, after Austin Hays, who had four hits, singled to drive in Gunnar Henderson.

The O's first baseman went three-for-four with two runs and nine RBIs, while Grayson Rodriguez sent down six strikeouts but allowed six hits, four walks and five runs in his home debut.

Cordero and Cole star in Yankees triumph

Franchy Cordero blasted a three-run homer and Gerrit Cole rallied after the Cleveland Guardians' fast start as the New York Yankees prevailed 11-2 to improve their record to 7-4.

Cole gave up two runs and three hits in the first inning but responded with six scoreless innings, finishing with three strikeouts, allowing only five hits.

Cordero's 368-feet blast opened up a 6-2 lead as the Yankees piled on five runs in the third inning, with Anthony Rizzo going two-for-three for two RBIs while Aaron Judge went two-for-five with one run.

The Atlanta Braves won a 5-4 extra-innings thriller against the Cincinnati Reds on Monday thanks to a walk-off home run from catcher Sean Murphy.

Despite the teams eventually combining for nine runs, the contest was scoreless through five innings.

The tie was eventually broken in the sixth as Murphy connected on an RBI double to put the Braves up 1-0, and Orlando Arcia made it 2-0 in the seventh frame when he came home on a wild pitch.

Jake Fraley brought the Reds back into it with an RBI single to cut the lead to one run in the eighth inning, but Arcia's RBI single later in the frame put Atlanta up 3-1 and meant Cincinnati would need to produce something special in the last.

After Wil Myers started the top of the ninth with a lead-off single, pinch-hitter Stuart Fairchild flipped the game on its head with an RBI triple, leaving the tying run on third base with no outs.

When Spencer Steer followed that at-bat with an RBI single, the Reds would have felt they were in position to run over the top and steal the win, but Braves closer A.J. Minter was able to get a crucial double-play to send things to extra innings despite registering his first blown save of the season.

A Jonathan India RBI single in the top of the 10th meant the Braves would have to come from behind to get the victory, but home fans would not have to wait long, as Murphy connected with the walk-off home run on relief pitcher Derek Law's very first pitch.

The win snaps the Braves' (7-4) three-game losing streak at the hands of the San Diego Padres, while the Reds will be content with their 4-5 start.

Rays become first team since 1987 to start 10-0

The Tampa Bay Rays are the first team since the 1987 Milwaukee Brewers to start a season with 10 consecutive wins after a hard-fought 1-0 home triumph against the Boston Red Sox.

In a game with only two total extra-base hits, the Rays finally made the breakthrough in the eighth inning as Brandon Lowe sent a Chris Martin fastball 404 feet over the left-field wall.

It was the third game in a row that Lowe has hit a home run, and with it he kept the Rays' chances alive of tying or beating the all-time best start of 13-0, held by the 1987 Brewers and the 1982 Braves.

Tampa Bay fell one game short of becoming the first team since the 1939 New York Yankees to win 10 games in a row by at least four runs each.

Phillies beat up Alcantara

Reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara had a miserable day on the mound as his Miami Marlins were hammered 15-3 by the Philadelphia Phillies.

Alcantara, who gave up just 58 earned runs in 32 starts in 2022, allowed the Phillies to rack up 10 hits and a walk, resulting in nine earned runs through four innings.

Alec Bohm led the way for Philadelphia with six RBIs as he went three-for-five with a home run, while Brandon Marsh and Jake Cave also went deep.

The Boston Red Sox came from behind on the back of power hitting from Adam Duvall and Rafael Devers to defeat the Detroit Tigers 6-3 away from home on Thursday.

It was the Tigers taking the early lead through a big two-run homer from Jake Rogers in the second inning, and after Enrique Hernandez pulled one run back for the Sox in the third frame with a fielder's choice groundout, legendary Detroit designated hitter Miguel Cabrera came through with an RBI single later in the third to restore a 3-1 advantage.

But the Boston bullpen would shut things down the rest of the way, holding Detroit scoreless for the final six innings.

Red Sox franchise centrepiece Rafael Devers trimmed the margin to one run when he blasted a solo home run in the fourth inning, and he delivered again in the sixth inning with an RBI double to tie the contest at 3-3.

While Devers is the future of the team, there is no Red Sox player hotter than Adam Duvall to start this season.

Through his first five games, the 34-year-old Duvall combined for 10 hits, including three doubles, two home runs and a triple.

He added another home run on Thursday – a three-run bomb later in the sixth inning – to give the Red Sox a winning break, and with it he climbed up to second on the early OPS leaderboard with an on-base plus slugging figure of 1.577. For reference, that is nearly double the best season-long OPS of his career, which was .882 through 41 games in 2019.

It was also the third multi-hit game of the season for 29-year-old AL Rookie of the Year hopeful Masataka Yoshida, with an infield single and a double for the man who signed a five-year, $90million free agent deal out of the Japanese league in the offseason.

Arcia walks it off for Atlanta

Atlanta Braves shortstop Orlando Arcia came up big with a walk-off base hit to defeat the San Diego Padres 7-6 at home.

Arcia, batting last in the Braves' line-up, made some noise early when he got hold of a 400-foot solo home run in the third inning, and he ignited his side's comeback with a double in the eighth inning, later coming around to score as Atlanta turned a 6-4 deficit into a 6-6 tie heading into the last.

The contest looked destined for extra innings until Amed Rosario's two-out double in the bottom of the ninth, with Arcia stepping up next for the game-winning base hit.

It was a great showing for last season's NL Rookie of the Year runner-up Spencer Strider, who followed his nine-strikeout opening performance with another nine strikeouts against the Padres in five innings. 

His 18 strikeouts through two starts is tied for the second-most, trailing only New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole (19).

Giants pile on 16 runs in Chicago

The San Francisco Giants put up the equal-biggest score of the season so far in a 16-6 drubbing of the Chicago White Sox away from home.

Blake Sabol, Wilmer Flores, Michael Conforto, J.D. Davis and Mike Yastrzemski all hit home runs for the Giants, and while Davis and Conforto both finished with three hits each, Davis led the way with a game-high five RBIs.

All nine Giants starters ended up with at least one hit as they racked up 20 knocks as a team, and the victory clinched their high-scoring three-game series against the White Sox after also taking the opener 12-3.

Adam Duvall starred before blasting a walk-off two-run homer over the Green Monster as the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 9-8 on Saturday.

Duvall, who joined the Red Sox from the Atlanta Braves in the offseason, had four hits, three runs and five RBIs for the game in a glittering display at Fenway Park.

But his crowning moment came with the Red Sox two out with a runner on first at the bottom of the ninth, hammering a Felix Bautista fastball just above the Green Monster for the walk-off blast.

The Red Sox capitalised on Ryan McKenna's fielding error at deep left field that allowed Masataka Yoshida to get on first base after hitting a routine fly ball.

Duvall's subsequent blast just cleared the Monster, caroming into a tabletop and back on to the field, but the lights flickered, signalling the walk-off homer.

The 34-year-old outfielder homered in the third inning as part of a four-run salvo after the Red Sox trailed 7-1.

Baltimore had raced ahead with Ryan Mountcastle's two-run first-inning homer along with Cedric Mullins three-run blast in the third. The Orioles tagged Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale for seven runs across three innings.

The Red Sox cut it to 8-7 in the seventh after Enrique Hernandez's homer and Duvall's ground rule double for Rafael Devers to score. Austin Hays went five-for-five with two runs for the O's.

Flaherty's mixed day as Cardinals register first win

St Louis Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty threw five no-hit innings along with giving up a career-high seven walks as his side claimed their first win of the season, 4-1 over the Toronto Blue Jays.

Flaherty fanned four, tossing down 49 of 95 pitches for strikes, but only had one clean inning, albeit his final one, on a mixed day on the mound.

The Cardinals opened up a 3-0 lead in the third inning, capitalising on a two-out throwing error by Jays third baseman Matt Chapman, before Nolan Gorman's two-run single.

Angels pile on the runs in Fujinami's A's debut

The Los Angeles Angels scored 11 runs in the third inning as they spoiled Shintaro Fujinami's debut for the Oakland Athletics, winning 13-1.

Fujinami, who joined the A's on a one-year free-agent deal, fell apart in the third after a positive start, with his game ending after 55 pitches with the Angels leading 6-0. The Japanese pitcher allowed eight earned runs with three walks and four Ks.

Taylor Ward blasted a three-run homer off reliever Adam Oller, while Shohei Ohtani had two hits and two RBIs.

Trayce Thompson produced a three-homer, eight-RBI game as the Los Angeles Dodgers won 10-1 over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Coming off arguably the most entertaining World Baseball Classic ever, the 2023 Major League Baseball season promises to deliver yet again as 30 teams battle it out for two World Series spots.

Reigning champions the Houston Astros wrote themselves into the record books last season by reaching the American League Championship Series for the sixth consecutive year, and while they may have lost their Cy Young Award winner, they have re-tooled and will expect strong development from their cast of young stars.

While they are the deserved favourites, the San Diego Padres and New York Mets have pushed all their chips into the middle and are in World Series-or-bust mode, joining the New York Yankees as the league's three most expensive payrolls.

The World Baseball Classic showed its not only the United States where the talent lies, but Japanese fans in particular will be keeping an extra close eye on proceedings as superstar Shohei Ohtani looks to take home his second AL MVP and Masataka Yoshida and Kodai Senga enter the rookie ranks.

With plenty of interesting storylines to choose from, it only makes sense to start with the kings of the castle.

Astros remain the team to beat

On their way to the 2022 World Series title, the Astros advanced to the final four teams for the sixth consecutive season. 

It is the second-longest streak in MLB history, only bettered by the Atlanta Braves in the 1990s as they did it on eight consecutive tries, although there was a one-year gap in the middle due to the 1994 playoffs being cancelled in the strike season.

This sustained period of excellence has been led by future Hall-of-Famer Jose Altuve and a strong supporting case of Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker, as well as former star Carlos Correa and the future of the franchise Yordan Alvarez, while their starting pitching has been almost unmatched.

In 2022, Houston had two pitchers finish top-five in AL Cy Young Award voting with winner Justin Verlander and fifth-placed Framber Valdez, and while the former has left, they also unearthed high-upside rotation pieces Cristian Javier and Luis Garcia.

Add in their dominant bullpen, led by Ryne Stanek and Ryan Pressly, as well as the best rookie in the last season's playoffs – Jeremy Pena – and the free agent signing of former MVP Jose Abreu, and this Astros team does not figure to be going anywhere.

Will the Padres or Mets be able to spend their way to a title?

The Mets boast the most expensive team in the sport this season, with a combined payroll of $357million – $75m more than their cross-town rivals, the second-placed Yankees ($272m).

They have taken some significant risk by committing a combined $86.6m to their two ageing aces as 38-year-old Max Scherzer and 40-year-old Verlander take home $43.3m each, but with six Cy Young Awards between them, it is likely to be money well-spent.

The Mets will be hurt by losing star closer Edwin Diaz for the season after tearing up his knee celebrating a WBC win with Puerto Rico, but they have 28-year-old slugger Pete Alonso on a bargain deal as he enters his final years of arbitration before an inevitable monstrous extension.

Meanwhile, the Padres come in at the third-most expensive team at $249m, and while they do not have the Hall of Fame-level talent leading their pitching rotation like the Mets, they may have the best batting line-up in the game.

Their four All-Stars leading the way – Xander Bogaerts, Fernando Tatis, Juan Soto and Manny Machado – could all have MVP-calibre seasons, and they give the Padres a real chance at being this season's highest-scoring team.

Can anybody deny Ohtani his second MVP?

If he was not already the biggest star in the sport, Ohtani's brilliant performance in guiding Japan to their third World Baseball Classic cemented his status as the top dog.

An All-Star designated hitter with 80 home runs across the past two seasons – a total that has only been exceeded by Aaron Judge (101) and tied by Vladimir Guerrero Jr (80) – Ohtani also emerged as one of the sport's most dominant pitchers in 2022.

His 11.9 strikeouts per nine innings was just 0.1 behind league-leader Carlos Rodon (12.0), while also posting the sixth-best ERA (2.33) among qualifying starters.

It is the kind of two-way dominance not seen at this level since Babe Ruth, and it took a historic season from Aaron Judge to deny Ohtani his second consecutive MVP.

Judge finished with 16 more home runs than any other player, breaking the American League and New York Yankees single-season record while also posting a gaudy batting average of .311 as he flirted with a Triple Crown.

If he can replicate that kind of season, he will prove he really is one of the greatest hitters of his generation and will likely earn the recognition again, but the overwhelming likelihood is some regression from the Bronx bomber.

Even with Judge's fine campaign, voters still viewed it as a neck-and-neck race with Ohtani as his combined value as essentially two All-Stars in one roster spot makes his argument almost infallible – especially if his Los Angeles Angels finally make the playoffs.

As long as he can remain healthy, expect Ohtani to lift his second AL MVP as he heads into perhaps the most anticipated free agency in American sports since LeBron James' move to Miami.

Will new Red Sox signing and WBC star Yoshida be the top rookie?

A bevy of super-talented American prospects including Baltimore Orioles infielder Gunnar Henderson and Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll are expected to emerge as top talents this season – but no rookie should have higher expectations than Boston Red Sox signing Yoshida.

Yoshida, 29, is a four-time All-Star in Japan's top professional league, and boasts a career batting average of .327 with 133 home runs in his six seasons with the Orix Buffaloes.

The Red Sox ended up the highest bidder for his services, forking out a five-year contract worth $90million, on top of a $15.4m posting fee to the Buffaloes, and they were given a sneak peek at the World Baseball Classic.

En route to Japan's third title – while no other country has more than one – Yoshida earned a spot on the All-Classic team by breaking the RBI record with 13 in seven games, while slashing .409/.531/.727 and hitting a pair of home runs.

He is not the only Japanese veteran trying to make his mark as a rookie this season, as 30-year-old New York Mets starting pitcher Senga will have every opportunity to become a star after signing a five-year, $75m deal with one of the most-watched teams in baseball.

New Boston Red Sox signing Justin Turner was taken to hospital to receive 16 stitches in his face after being nailed by a fastball during the first inning of Monday's spring training game against the Detroit Tigers.

Turner, 38, is a two-time All-Star with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he spent the previous nine seasons before signing with the Red Sox as a free agent in December.

Starting at first base on Monday, and batting third in the line-up, Turner stepped up to the plate in the first inning following a four-pitch walk to Rafael Devers.

Tigers starter Matt Manning was struggling with his control, and the first pitch he threw to Turner tailed up and in, missing his helmet and drilling him directly in the face.

Blood immediately started to flow and the medical staff raced to his aid, although he was able to walk off the field under his own strength with a blood-soaked towel over his face.

He was taken to a local medical facility in Florida where he received 16 stitches in his face, but Turner's wife, Kourtney, shared a positive update through social media.

"16 stitches and a lot of swelling but we are thanking God for no fractures and clear scans," she wrote. 

"Thank you to everyone that reached out about Justin and sent prayers. We're home now and he's resting (okay – maybe listening to the replay of the game)."

In a statement, the Red Sox said: "He's receiving treatment for soft tissue injuries, and is being monitored for a concussion. He will undergo further testing, and we'll update as we have more information. 

"Justin is stable, alert, and in good spirits given the circumstances."

The Texas Rangers continued to add to their rotation Tuesday, signing pitcher Nathan Eovaldi to a two-year, $34million deal.

The contract includes a third-year vesting player option, and performance bonuses could increase the total value of the contract.

Eovaldi, who turns 33 in February, will be joining his sixth major league team in his 11th season. He spent the past four-and-a-half seasons with the Boston Red Sox and is perhaps best known for his performance in their 2018 World Series win.

In 22-and-a-third innings in those playoffs, Eovaldi went 2-1 with a 1.61 ERA, and had wins as a starter in Game 3 of both the American League Division and Championship Series.

The right-hander finished fourth in AL Cy Young voting in 2021 after going 11-9 with 3.75 ERA and 195 strikeouts in 32 starts. He made two trips to the injured list last season and was limited to 20 starts, going 6-3 with a 3.87 ERA.

The Rangers added two-time NL Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom on a five-year contract earlier this month and gave left-hander Andrew Heaney a two-year deal a week later. They join holdovers Jon Gray, Jake Odorizzi and Martin Perez in what figures to be a crowded rotation.

Prior to last season, Texas committed a combined $500m on middle infielders Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, but finished 68-94 and fired manager Chris Woodward in August.

Boston Red Sox president Sam Kennedy has leapt to the defence of his franchise amid fan backlash in response to their offseason activity.

The Red Sox failed to retain homegrown star Xander Bogaerts, who led the side for batting average (.307) and hits (171) in 2022, as he exited for the San Diego Padres last week on an 11-year, $280million contract in free agency.

Bogaerts' exit came after Boston, who were World Series champions in 2018, finished last in the AL East with a 78-84 record in the 2022 season.

Three years ago, the Red Sox traded away AL MVP Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers with a view to financial flexibility, meaning Bogaerts' free agency departure has caused fan tumult.

"I would put our organisation and our track record up against anybody else's in Major League Baseball, period," Kennedy told reporters.

"We're going to continue to field a team, a complete roster that is going to be competitive in the American League East. That's our job.

"We have to do that and I know our fans will support us if we do that."

Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom added that he was not surprised by the fans' reaction.

"Fully expected it. Fully expected it," he said. "That has not been a surprise. Honestly, I would have been surprised if that had not been the case."

Bloom also tried to explain the decision on Bogaerts, who they reportedly offered a six-year, $160m deal at the start of the season.

"Well first of all, good for Xander. He earned every bit of that," Bloom said. "Everybody here has seen it and it's just part of what free agency is about. He will be nothing but loved here forever. So that's number one.

"The rest of it, there's a lot of emotions. You can feel that you're making a sound baseball and business decision and still feel torn up by it. It's wonderful when those business decisions line up with things that are gonna make us happy and can make everybody happy. This one didn't.

"But we still have a responsibility to make those decisions. We know that this is going to leave a mark for everybody in this organization and everybody who loves this organization. We understand that and we've got to get back to going out there and winning."

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