Justin Verlander joined an exclusive club after being crowned the AL Cy Young Award winner for the third time, while Sandy Alcantara was voted NL winner unanimously as well.

The 39-year-old, who became a two-time World Series champion last month with the Houston Astros, received a unanimous vote after posting an MLB-best 1.75 ERA and striking out 185 batters in 175 innings over 28 starts in the 2022 regular season.

Verlander (2010) beat out Dylan Cease (97) of the Chicago White Sox and Alek Manoah (87) of the Toronto Blue Jays for the award, having also been crowned in 2011 and 2019.

The award comes after Verlander spent most of the past two seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Verlander became the fourth-oldest Cy Young winner and is the 11th player to win the award three or more times.

The unanimous vote for both Verlander and Miami Marlins right-hander Alcantara marks the second time that has occurred in the same year, previously only in 1968 for Bob Gibson and Denny McLain.

Alcantara had the majors-best 228-and-two-third innings pitched, throwing six complete games, with a regular-season 2.28 ERA, with 207 strikeouts.

The 27-year-old was the first NL unanimous vote winner since Clayton Kershaw in 2014. Alcantara (210) beat Max Fried (72) of the Atlanta Braves and Julio Urias (66) of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the award.

The San Diego Padres tied up the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers with a nail-biting 5-3 victory in a game that included five solo home runs on Wednesday.

Manny Machado played a key role going two-for-five, including a first-inning solo homer along with a third-inning RBI, while Jurickson Profar got his fifth RBI this postseason to put the Padres up 4-3 in the sixth inning.

Jake Cronenworth added another with a solo blast over right-field in the eighth inning before Josh Hader closed it out.

Yu Darvish pitched five innings with seven strikeouts but allowed seven hits and three runs.

The Dodgers had their chances, with nine batters left on base, while they did not have a hit with a runner in scoring position all night.

Freddie Freeman, Max Muncy and Trea Turner all scored solo home runs for the Dodgers. Freeman, who went two-for-four, got on base with a ninth-inning double but Will Smith was caught short of the wall in right-field by Juan Soto to end it.

Clayton Kershaw had six K's across five innings for the Dodgers, restoring his position as the MLB's all-time leading postseason strikeout leader with 213.

Pitcher Brusdar Graterol made a key play down 4-3 in the sixth inning, throwing out Wil Myers at home from a Trent Grisham bunt, but the Dodgers could not capitalise with the Padres' bullpen again exceptional, led by Robert Suarez.

The next two games of the NLDS are at Petco Park where the Padres will be playing in front of their fans in a postseason game for the first time since 2006.

Wright leads Braves to level up with Phillies

Kyle Wright threw six stellar innings as the Atlanta Braves squared the NLDS as they blanked the Philadelphia Phillies 3-0.

After a lengthy rain delay, Wright allowed only two hits with one walk, whilst striking out six Phillies, before reliever A.J. Minter pitched a perfect seventh inning.

The Braves piled on all three runs in the sixth inning with three consecutive two-out singles, as Ronald Acuna Jr overcame a 96mph fastball from Zack Wheeler to his elbow to break the tie, driven in by Matt Olson whose line hit got by first baseman Rhys Hoskins on an in-between hop.

Austin Riley's gentle dribble got Dansby Swanson to home plate, before Travis d'Arnaud grounded to center-field to drive in Olson.

The New York Mets clinched their place in the MLB postseason for the first time since 2016 with Max Scherzer securing his 100th career win in a 7-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday.

The 38-year-old Mets right-hander, reinstated from the injured list, struck out nine across six innings where he threw 68 pitches. Scherzer was pulled after six innings with a perfect game intact, with the Mets opting not to risk injury to the three-time Cy Young Award winner on his return from an oblique issue.

The win means the Mets have booked a postseason berth, guaranteed at least a spot in the National League (NL) Wild Card Game, holding a 94-55 record.

Pete Alonso's three-run homer in the fourth inning headlined five runs against NL Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes.

The Mets will be making only their 10th postseason appearance in the franchise's 61-season history.

"This is what you play the game for," Scherzer said. "You play to get into the postseason. There's a lot of ways for it not to work out. For us to be able to find a way to get into the postseason, that's awesome. That's what we celebrate. That's what you play the game for.

"We have a lot of things in front of us. We understand that. But you got to celebrate the good times, too."

Astros clinch fifth AL West title in six years

The Houston Astros secured the American League West title for the first time in the past six seasons with a 4-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Jose Altuve's leadoff home run set the tone for the Astros, while Luis Garcia gave up two hits and four walks in five innings with four strikeouts as Houston claimed their 16th shutout.

The Astros also won for the eighth time in nine games ahead of their sixth straight postseason. Houston are assured of a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Kershaw dominates Diamondbacks

Clayton Kershaw tossed down 10 strikeouts as the Los Angeles Dodgers toppled the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-2.

The Dodgers, who have already clinched the NL West, saw Joey Gallo blast a second-inning homer, before Chris Taylor's three-run blast opened up a 5-0 lead.

But Kershaw grabbed the headlines, managing to strike out at least 10 batters with no walks in a game for the 27th time in his career.

Rookie right-hander Spencer Strider made history with a franchise-record 16 strikeouts in the Atlanta Braves' 3-0 win over the Colorado Rockies on Thursday.

The 23-year-old's 16 K's was the most ever by a Braves pitcher in a nine-inning game, bettering John Smoltz's previous record of 15, coming in only his 17th career Major League start.

Strider, who had 79 strikes from 106 pitches, allowed two hits and did not walk a batter, with a mix of fastballs and sliders across eight innings.

The 16 strikeouts were the most in the majors since Walker Buehler had 16 against the Rockies in June 2019.

"I lost track after five [innings]," Strider said about his strikeouts count. "I came out of the game and Kyle [Wright] was telling me something about John Smoltz or whatever. It didn't make any sense.

"It's pretty wild, the guys who've thrown in this organization, it's a long, incredible list. I'm just grateful to be here and having success."

Austin Riley and Michael Harris II hit solo home runs for the Braves, who improve to 81-51 to be three games behind the New York Mets (84-48) in the National League East.

Kershaw shakes off the rust in Dodgers defeat

Clayton Kershaw returned from the injured list with an efficient display but he could not inspire the Los Angeles Dodgers to victory, losing 5-3 to the New York Mets.

After a rusty start, Kershaw had six strikeouts across five innings, allowing one hit, one earned run while walking three batters.

Francisco Lindor was the hero with a tying RBI double in the sixth inning before scoring the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the seventh, while Edwin Diaz struck out Gavin Lux to escape a jam in the eighth.

Red Sox rally wth Refsnyder career-first walk-off

Rob Refsnyder's single clinched a walk-off win for the Boston Red Sox who rallied with a four-run ninth inning to win 9-8 over the Texas Rangers.

The Red Sox, who had been behind 8-3 in the eighth, trailed 8-5 entering the ninth with Rafael Devers hitting a two-run double to narrow the deficit before Kike Hernandez's RBI single tied it up.

Refsnyder walked it off for the first time in his career with a line shot that drove home Devers.

Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw will make his first start in nearly a month on Thursday, when he takes the mound against the New York Mets at Citi Field.

Kershaw has been sidelined since he exited a start against the San Francisco Giants on August 4 due to lower-back pain. The decision comes after the three-time Cy Young Award winner felt strong following a bullpen session on Monday.

Because he did not go on a rehab assignment, Kershaw’s workload likely will be limited at the start as he rebuilds arm strength and gears up for the postseason.

The 34-year-old is 7-3 with a 2.64 ERA in 15 starts this season. Kershaw pitched seven perfect innings before being pulled against the Minnesota Twins in his season debut April 13, and carried a perfect game into the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Angels on July 15.

Kershaw’s return comes at a good time for the Dodgers, who entered Tuesday with a major league-best 89-38 record.

Los Angeles recently announced that Walker Buehler will miss the rest of the season and potentially all next season after Tommy John Surgery. Fellow starter Tony Gonsolin, who is tied for the major league lead with 16 wins, was placed on the injured list earlier this week with a strained forearm.

Manager Dave Roberts said the Dodgers hoped to go to a six-man rotation before Gonsolin was injured, but will now go forward with a five-man rotation of Kershaw, Julio Urias, Andrew Heaney, Tyler Anderson and Dustin May.

"But it wouldn't surprise me if we reinstated someone at some point to give guys an extra day," Roberts said.

Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw has landed on the injured list, one day after he left his start at San Francisco with lower-back pain. 

Kershaw, who missed a month earlier this season with inflammation in a pelvic joint, has spent time on the injured list for back-related issues in 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2020.  

He walked off the mound after throwing a few warmup pitches before the bottom of the fifth inning in Thursday’s 5-3 win over the Giants.  

"I just felt something kind of lock up there in the fifth and couldn’t really throw after that. Something in my back again," Kershaw said. "Just more back stuff." 

The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner and nine-time All-Star is 7-3 with a 2.64 ERA in 15 starts with 88 strikeouts in 85 1/3 innings this season.  

Trayce Thompson drove in two runs and helped break the game open for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who claimed a four-game series sweep with a 7-4 win against the rival San Francisco Giants on Sunday.

Scores were tied at 4-4 following Darin Ruf's two-run homer off Clayton Kershaw in the fifth inning, as the Giants looked to deny their first sweep at Dodger Stadium since 1995.

Kershaw was ultimately pulled in the fifth, giving up five hits and striking out six over 94 pitches, before Craig Kimbrel eventually came in for his 17th save and the Dodgers' eighth consecutive win.

Jake Lamb's double drove in the go-ahead run the game up for grabs in the seventh inning, before Thompson's drive deep to right-centre scored Max Muncy with his brother and Golden State Warriors star Klay in attendance.

The Dodgers maintained their six-game lead over the New York Mets atop the National League standings, extending their record to 64-30 with the victory.

Judge goes deep again in Yankees win

Aaron Judge hit his fourth home run from his past four games as he continues his outlier season, extending his league-leading home run tally to 37 in the New York Yankees' 6-0 away win against the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.

After starting the series against the Orioles with two home runs, and following it with four hits and two RBIs yesterday, Judge stayed hot as he connected on a 456-foot blast in the third inning. He now leads the MLB for home runs with 37, seven more than the next best in Kyle Schwarber.

On the mound, Nestor Cortes was at his best for the Yankees, giving up six hits and no walks in six scoreless innings, striking out seven. Clarke Schmidt then came in for the unconventional three-inning save.

Alcantara strikes out 10 for Marlins

Arguably the best pitcher in all of baseball this year, Sandy Alcantara struck out 10 batters as his Miami Marlins defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-5 in extra innings.

In his six innings of work, Alcantara gave up two earned runs from just two hits and three walks, earning his 15th quality start of the season, one off the MLB lead held by Houston's Framber Valdez and Toronto's Alek Manoah.

According to Baseball Reference's Wins Above Replacement (WAR), Alcantara has been the most valuable player in all of baseball this season, and he is the only pitcher in the top-five.

Despite the American League's (AL) 3-2 win in the MLB All-Star Game on Tuesday, Clayton Kershaw relished pitching the opening inning, conceding it "meant a lot" to him.

After nine All-Star selections and six appearances, the three-time National League (NL) Cy Young Award winner visibly savoured the moment as he approached the mound.

After the Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series in 2020, Kershaw had effectively achieved everything could as a pitcher in baseball today, but had never started in an All-Star Game.

Achieving it in front of his home fans at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, the usually measured 34-year-old could not hide his excitement. 

"It was actually a lot of fun today to be out there, and the crowd was awesome," Kershaw said after his opening inning. "I can’t say enough good things about Dodger fans, people in LA in general, just how much these last few days, how much they wanted me to do this. It meant a lot to me.

"I tried to take a minute at the beginning to take it all in and look around, which I usually never do. Being here at Dodger Stadium, a place where I’ve been now for 15 years, and to get to do something like this with the best in the world, is really fun.

"And it was also really personal for me and my family, everybody. I’m excited it’s over."

Leading off for the AL, Shohei Ohtani was able to claim a single off Kershaw's first pitch, but the Dodgers' starter caught him trying to steal second, before striking out Aaron Judge.

Paul Goldschmidt gave the NL a 2-0 lead in the opening frame after Mookie Betts drove Ronald Acuna Jr. in, crushing a solo home run up the middle off Shane McClanahan.

The AL team were able to claim the lead with a three-run fourth via Giancarlo Stanton's two-run shot, before Byron Buxton followed up with a solo homer of his own.

Coming in to pinch hit in what could be his final at-bat in an All-Star game, Albert Pujols sent a ball deep into left-field off Paul Blackburn in the bottom of the fourth, but Andrew Benintendi eventually made the catch with the crowd at Dodgers Stadium seemingly willing his hit over the wall.

The AL bullpen started to take over proceedings after Alek Manoah came onto the mound, keeping the NL without a hit between the second and fifth innings.

Emmanuel Clase spectacularly closed for the AL's ninth consecutive win in what was a dominant pitching display.

Aaron Judge hit a game-winning single to cap a four-run ninth inning for the New York Yankees in their 7-6 win over the Houston Astros on Thursday.

Aaron Hicks started the late rally for the Pinstripes, tying the game with a three-run home run off Astros closer Ryan Pressly.

Alex Bregman and Giancarlo Stanton traded three-run homers in the first inning, while Yordan Alvarez also added a three-run shot in the third off Jameson Taillon to put the Astros ahead.

The Yankees took the opener of a highly anticipated four-game series between the American League's two best records with the win, as the Astros kick off a six-game stand in New York, taking both games from the Mets earlier this week in Houston.

The American League leaders moved to 52-18 for the season and claimed their 19th win in the past 22 games, heading into Judge's in-season salary arbitration on Friday.

Swanson seals win for Braves

Dansby Swanson hit two home runs for the Atlanta Braves, who were able to hold out against the San Francisco Giants in a 7-6 victory.

Swanson had three hits and three RBIs as the Braves built a 7-1 lead coming into the fifth inning. Six Giants players scored multiple hits, with Austin Slater's home run starting the rally in the fifth.

They were not able to capitalise on the higher hit count however, as the Braves moved 11 games over .500 with their 18th win in the past month.

Freeman fires Dodgers to victory

Freddie Freeman's form continued in the absence of Mookie Betts, leading the way for the Los Angeles Dodgers in their 10-5 win over the Cincinnati Reds.

Freeman claimed a home run and three RBIs, moving his OBP for the season to a team-leading .386, while Max Muncy and Trea Turner each tallied three hits.

Clayton Kershaw allowed just one run and seven hits in six innings for the National League West leaders, striking out seven in 80 pitches and lowering his ERA for the season to 2.00.

Clayton Kershaw gave up a go-ahead home run to Thairo Estrada upon his return from injury, as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 on Saturday.

Kershaw has been sidelined since May due to an inflamed joint in his back, but his return has also coincided with Walker Buehler being placed on the Dodgers' injured list.

The three-time National League Cy Young Award winner pitched four innings, giving up three hits over 71 pitches, including the two runs that set up the Giants' win in the second inning.

The Dodgers claimed 13 hits in comparison to the five from their NL West rivals, but simply were not able to capitalise at the plate with runners in scoring position.

The Dodgers have now lost eight of their past 12 games, with the San Diego Padres now drawing level atop the NL West.

Judge rules for Yankees

Aaron Judge led the way for the New York Yankees, scoring two home runs in their 8-0 win over the Chicago Cubs.

It was a day to forget for rookie Cubs pitcher Matt Swarmer, who gave up six solo home runs out of a total seven hits over 90 pitches in five innings.

Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, Jose Trevino and former Cub Anthony Rizzo went deep along with Judge as the Pinstripes claimed their 10th win in 11 games, moving to 43-16 for the year.

Trout leads Angels upon return from injury

Mike Trout returned for the Los Angeles Angels as they claimed a morale-boosting 11-6 win over the NL East-leading New York Mets.

The three-time American League MVP returned from a minor groin injury and led the way for the Halos in the win, scoring two home runs and claiming three hits from four at-bats.

Shohei Ohtani also went deep while going three-of-four, claiming their second win in three after snapping a 14-game losing streak on Thursday.

Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to come off the injured list on Sunday to start the Los Angeles Dodgers’ series finale against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced the news on Wednesday before their game against the Chicago White Sox.

This will be Kershaw’s first start for Los Angeles since May 7, after he landed on the IL due to right SI joint inflammation.

The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner was off to a sensational start to the season before getting hurt, going 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA over his first five outings. The 34-year-old veteran left-hander had 32 strikeouts to just three walks over 30 innings of work.

He was just as impressive in his lone minor league rehab start this past Sunday, yielding one run while striking out seven and walking one in four innings for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga. He threw 44 of 59 pitches for strikes.

The Dodgers enter play Wednesday atop the NL West with a 35-20 record, one-and-a-half games ahead of the San Diego Padres and five-and-a-half games in front of the third-place Giants.

Clayton Kershaw and Mookie Betts starred for the Los Angeles Dodgers swept a double-header on Saturday against the Chicago Cubs.

Kershaw dominated the opener, giving up only five hits and striking out two over 81 pitches in seven innings, as the Dodgers won 7-0.

Betts shone in the night game, smashing a three-run double in the second inning and a two-run homer in the ninth to secure a 6-2 win.

Tyler Anderson struck out seven and gave up four hits over 80 pitches in five innings as the Dodgers claimed a fifth straight win.

They moved to 18-7 for the season and lead a strong National League West division, with every team holding a record at .500 or over.

Flores leads Giants to win over Cards

Wilmer Flores hit a grand slam in the first inning and finished with a career-high six RBIs as the San Francisco Giants beat the St. Louis Cardinals 13-7.

Logan Webb struck out seven but gave up eight hits and four runs over 84 pitches in five innings, while Mauricio Dubon and Darin Ruf also hit home runs for the Giants.

Yadier Molina reached 1000 career RBIs and Dylan Carlson added a three-run homer, but it was not enough as the Cards had their three-game winning streak ended.

Polanco propels Twins to victory

Jorge Polanco led the Minnesota Twins as they sent the Oakland Athletics to their eighth consecutive defeat, claiming a 1-0 win.

Polanco had three of the Twins' five hits on the night from four at-bats, including a monster home run in the sixth inning, his third for the year.

Minnesota pitchers combined to strike out 15 while allowing three hits, as they maintained their lead atop the American League Central.

Clayton Kershaw was moved and a little surprised by the reception he was granted after breaking the Los Angeles Dodgers' long-standing strikeout record.

Kershaw, who has spent his entire MLB career with the Dodgers, recorded his 2,697th regular season strikeout in the fourth inning of Saturday's 5-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers, later adding three more to finish the game with 2,700.

Hall of Famer Don Sutton had held the record with 2,696 strikeouts, which no other Dodgers pitcher had come close to matching since his 1988 retirement until now.

Kershaw and Sutton are two of only four pitchers with over 2,000 strikeouts for the Dodgers, along with Don Drysdale (2,486) and Sandy Koufax (2,396), who were team-mates in the 1950s and 1960s.

Kershaw's achievement was greeted with a standing ovation and the game was paused as he raised his cap to the LA crowd.

"It's special," Kershaw said afterwards. "I didn't expect it.

"I understand that the Dodgers are a historic franchise and have been around a long time, so the guys that are on that list that I was fortunate enough to pass was a big deal.

"But I didn't know that fans would know or honestly care that much. It was special for me. It really was. It was cool to see.

"I tried to brush it off and keep going, but they wouldn't let me. It definitely meant a lot."

Only 25 pitchers have now recorded more strikeouts than Kershaw in the major leagues, including Sutton (3,574), who ranks seventh all-time having also turned out for the Houston Astros, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Oakland Athletics and the then California Angels.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are the only team remaining in the MLB without five losses, with Sunday's 10-2 win against the San Diego Padres moving their record to 11-4.

It was another near-spotless start for Dodgers ace and future Hall-of-Famer Clayton Kershaw, conceding just one run and four base runners in five complete innings.

Padres starter Sean Manaea is a Cy Young award contender in his own right, but he did not have his best outing against a formidable Dodgers line-up, conceding six earned runs in just over four innings.

The runs were started with a Justin Turner sacrifice-fly to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead in the opening inning, before Freddie Freeman smashed a 425-foot home run to score two more runs in the third frame.

Los Angeles' Cody Bellinger hit a solo home run of his own the next inning, and then went again with a three-run bomb in the fifth to increase the margin to 8-1.

Buxton blasts in extra innings

Minnesota Twins center-fielder Byron Buxton hit the longest walk-off home run in the MLB Statcast era to defeat the Chicago White Sox 6-4 in extra innings.

Buxton was the hero on two occasions on Sunday, tying the game at 3-3 in the seventh inning with a 366-foot home run that barely made it over the wall, before leaving no doubt in the last at-bat of the game.

After the White Sox went up 4-3 in the top of the 10th inning, Buxton stepped to the plate trailing by one, with two runners on base. His 469-foot, three-run blast is the longest game-winner since at least 2015 when Statcast began tracking.

Cole and Rizzo lead Yankees to Guardians sweep

Gerrit Cole bounced back from his poor start against the Detroit Tigers as the New York Yankees beat the Cleveland Guardians 10-2, claiming a sweep of their three-game series.

Not even lasting two innings against the Tigers - the shortest start of his career - Cole pitched into the seventh against the Guardians, striking out nine and allowing only four hits over 92 pitches.

Anthony Rizzo's two-run home run in the first inning tied him for the American League lead with five. It was the Yankees' fifth win in the past six, heading into a three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles, who sit bottom in the AL East.

Early National League Rookie of the Year favourite Seiya Suzuki continued the remarkable start to his MLB career on Monday with another two hits in the Chicago Cubs' 4-2 win against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Suzuki, 27, was named National League Player of the Week in his first full week in the majors, and with his first of two hits on Monday, he tied Akinori Iwamura for the longest hitting streak by a Japanese player to start their career at nine games.

He is also the first Cub to hit safely in the first nine games of their career (with an official at-bat) since 1943. He sits fifth in the majors in batting average (.429) and is tied for fourth in home runs (four).

Of the Cubs' four runs, Suzuki scored two, as he was driven in by a Patrick Wisdom two-run homer in the second inning, before getting hit by a pitch in the seventh inning, eventually coming around to score again off an Ian Happ hit.

With the Cubs up 3-2 in the eighth inning, Frank Schwindel gave Chicago a little breathing room with a solo home run for the last score of the game.

Despite the loss, it was a terrific performance on the mound for Rays Cy Young candidate Shane McClanahan, striking out nine batters in six innings, allowing only four hits and no walks for one earned run.

Yelich grand slams for Brewers

Leading 2-1 in the fourth inning, Christian Yelich stepped up to the plate with bases loaded and slogged a massive 429-foot grand slam to give the Milwaukee Brewers their 6-1 final score against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Brewers starting pitcher Eric Lauer was excellent, striking out five batters in six innings, conceding only one run and six baserunners in the process.

Freeman goes deep against old friends

After spending the first 12 years of his MLB career with the Atlanta Braves, Freddie Freeman hit a home run against them in the first inning of the Los Angeles Dodgers' 7-4 home win against his visiting former team.

From just the second pitch he faced against his old side, Freeman hammered it for a 386-foot home run to center field for the early lead.

The Braves rallied in the sixth frame to get Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw out of the game with seven strikeouts and four earned runs through five complete innings, but it was not enough to deny the Dodgers their seventh consecutive win to move to the best record in the majors at 8-2.

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