Nolan Arenado sparked a record string of home runs and hit the game-winning drive for the St. Louis Cardinals, in their 7-6 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday.

With two outs in the first inning, Arenado, Nolan Gorman, Juan Yepez and Dylan Carson sent Phillies starting pitcher Kyle Gibson deep, making it the first time in MLB history a team connected for four straight home runs in the opening frame.

The game was tied at 6-6 in the ninth inning when Arenado hit another home run, this time sending Seranthony Dominguez over left field.

Arenado's game-winning performance from four at-bats was impressive enough in isolation, before considering it was backing up from hitting for cycle in Friday's 5-3 defeat to the Phillies.

The Cardinals moved to within a game of the National League Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers, moving their record for the season to 44-36.

Yankees sweep Guardians in double-header 

The New York Yankees are running away with the American League East, taking both games in a double-header against the Cleveland Guardians.

Matt Carpenter homered twice in the opening 13-4 win, before Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton hit consecutive home runs and Nestor Cortes shut the Guardians down for six innings, for the 6-1 win in the later game.

The Yankees are 25-6 since May 31, holding a seven-game lead over the Houston Astros in the AL and at 58-21, hold the franchise's second-best record over 79 games.

Freeman leads Dodgers to victory

Freddie Freeman continued his strong form for the Los Angeles Dodgers, hitting the first of three home runs in the opening inning of their 7-2 victory over the San Diego Padres.

Freeman, who leads the Dodgers for OBP at .391 for the season, hit his sixth home run since the start of June after sending Yu Darvish deep. Will Smith and Justin Turner then followed up with solo shots off Darvish to set up the victory.

The Dodgers are now one off 50 wins for the season, moving to 49-28 and extending their lead in the NL over the New York Mets to 1.5 games.

Nolan Arenado sparked a record string of home runs and hit the game-winning drive for the St. Louis Cardinals, in their 7-6 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday.

With two outs in the first inning, Arenado, Nolan Gorman, Juan Yepez and Dylan Carson sent Phillies starting pitcher Kyle Gibson deep, making it the first time in MLB history a team connected for four straight home runs in the opening frame.

The game was tied at 6-6 in the ninth inning when Arenado then hit another home run, this time sending Seranthony Dominguez over left field.

Arenado's game-winning performance from four at-bats was impressive enough in isolation, before considering it was backing up from hitting for cycle in Friday's 5-3 defeat to the Phillies.

The Cardinals moved to within a game of the National League Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers, moving their record for the season to 44-36.

Yankees sweep Guardians in double-header 

The New York Yankees are running away with the American League East, taking both games in a double-header against the Cleveland Guardians.

Matt Carpenter homered twice in the opening 13-4 win, before Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton hit consecutive home runs and Nestor Cortes shut the Guardians down for six innings, for the 6-1 win in the later game.

The Yankees are 25-6 since May 31, holding a seven-game lead over the Houston Astros in the AL and at 58-21, hold the franchise's second-best record over 79 games.

Freeman leads Dodgers to victory

Freddie Freeman continued his strong form for the Los Angeles Dodgers, hitting the first of three home runs in the opening inning of their 7-2 victory over the San Diego Padres.

Freeman, who leads the Dodgers for OBP at .391 for the season, hit his sixth home run since the start of June after sending Yu Darvish deep. Will Smith and Justin Turner then followed up with solo shots off Darvish to set up the victory.

The Dodgers are now one off 50 wins for the season, moving to 49-28 and extending their lead in the NL over the New York Mets to 1.5 games.

This is shaping up to be a season to remember for the New York Yankees, but they made history for all the wrong reasons on Sunday.

The Yankees, who boast the best record in the major leagues in 2022, had been held to a combined no-hitter by the Houston Astros in Saturday's 3-0 defeat at Yankee Stadium.

But rather than come out firing in the teams' next meeting the following day, the Yankees threatened to suffer the ignominy of a stunning second consecutive no-no.

Jose Urquidy frustrated the home team for 6.1 innings before Giancarlo Stanton finally made good contact and homered 436 feet to center field.

That was the Yankees' first hit since the eighth inning of Friday's 3-1 home loss to the Astros, a streak of 52 consecutive at-bats – the longest run by a batting team without a hit since at least 1974.

It also tied the record for the most at-bats without a pitching team allowing a hit over the same period.

The Astros matched the feats of the 2012 Los Angeles Angels against the Minnesota Twins and Toronto Blue Jays and the 2014 Los Angeles Dodgers against the Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds.

Houston own the only two no-hitters against the Yankees this century, with Saturday's hitless game following a 2003 no-no at Yankee Stadium.

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.

The New York Yankees' power-hitters flexed their muscles in Tuesday's 10-4 away win against the Minnesota Twins, with three towering home runs.

Nervous Yankees fans only needed to wait until the second batter of the game to jump out to a lead, with a lead-off single to D.J. LeMahieu setting up a 431-foot, two-run bomb from Aaron Judge.

A 431-foot blast would normally be the biggest hit of the game, but it was not even the biggest hit from the top of the first inning, as Giancarlo Stanton stepped up and launched his solo home run 445 feet to make it 3-0.

Max Kepler's sacrifice-fly in the bottom of the first frame and an RBI double from Jorge Polanco in the third pegged the score back to 3-2, before each side grabbed a run each in the fourth and fifth innings the have the Yankees leading 5-4 after Polanco drove in his second run of the day with a solo home run.

From that point on it was all Yankees, scoring the last five runs of the game, including a 410-foot, three-run homer to Anthony Rizzo to give his side some breathing room in the seventh inning.

It was a rare rough start on the mound for Yankees pitcher Jameson Taillon, giving up four earned runs from nine hits in four innings, but their bullpen was excellent down the stretch, giving up just three hits and no walks the rest of the way.

With the bat, it was Stanton's 12th home run, tying him for 15th in the league, while Rizzo sits in a tie for fifth after hitting his 14th of the season. 

Judge, however, is in a class of his own, hitting his league-leading 22nd homer, five ahead of second-placed Yordan Alvarez of the Houston Astros with 17.

The win moves the Yankees' league-best record to 40-15, three games clear of cross-town rivals the New York Mets (38-19).

The Rays walk-off in extra innings

Taylor Walls was the hero in the Tampa Bay Rays' 4-2 home win against the St Louis Cardinals, ending the game with a three-run, walk-off home run.

In an excellent display of starting pitching, neither team was able to score in the first six innings as Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson pitched seven frames for one run and six strikeouts, while Rays starter Jeffrey Springs pitched six scoreless innings, giving up six hits and two walks.

The Rays manufactured a run in the seventh, before the Cardinals tied it at 1-1 in the eighth to force extra innings.

St Louis was able to score one run in the top of the 10th, but Walls made sure the game would not see an 11th as he drove in the runners on first and second base by hooking a home run straight into the foul-pole at right-field to end the game.

Phillies take Hader deep

Milwaukee Brewers closer Josh Hader was not able to finish the job against the Philadelphia Phillies, blowing his save opportunity to gift the visitors a 3-2 win.

In his first 19 appearances of the season, Hader had not allowed opposing teams to score a single run, but he blew his first save on Tuesday after entering the final inning with a 2-1 lead.

Hader gave up a lead-off home run to Alec Bohm, tying the game, before pinch-hitter Matt Vierling repeated the feat to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead. It is also the first game this season that Hader has conceded multiple hits.

Phillies closer Corey Knebel made tough work of the save – issuing three walks – but he was able to get out of the jam with bases loaded.

Nestor Cortes carried a three-hit shutout into the ninth inning as the New York Yankees defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 7-2 on Thursday.

Cortes was in impressive form, finishing with five struck out and four hits over 109 pitches before Wandy Peralta came in to close the game out.

The Yankees came into this game with Giancarlo Stanton and Josh Donaldson both unavailable while DJ LeMahieu also deals with wrist soreness.

Requesting a release after 21 games in Triple-A ball for the Round Rock Express, the Texas Rangers' affiliate, Matt Carpenter scored twice from two at-bats as the designated hitter in his debut game for the Pinstripes.

Now on a three-game winning streak, the Yankees moved to 32-13 to extend their lead over the Rays atop the American League East.

Nola propels Phillies to win over Braves

The Philadelphia Phillies bounced back to defeat the Atlanta Braves, splitting their four-game series with a 4-1 win.

Aaron Nola struck out 10 and gave up only four hits while pitching a shutout coming into the ninth inning, giving up one more hit over an eventual 109 pitches before Corey Knebel closed.

The Phillies and Braves are now even on a 21-24 record in the National League East, both seven-and-a-half games behind the New York Mets.

Brewers beat Cardinals, extend NL Central lead

Josh Hader made the eventual save for the Milwaukee Brewers, earning a 37th consecutive scoreless appearance as they defeated the St Louis Cardinals 4-3.

Eric Lauer started slowly for the Brewers, giving up two runs and four hits in the opening two innings, before closing with four hits and a strikeout over 96 pitches in five innings.

Tyrone Taylor drove in for the seventh game in a row while Luis Urias scored a home run, as the Brewers extended their lead over the Cards in the NL Central.

Atlanta Braves superstar Ronald Acuna Jr and New York Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton were both absent from their teams' line-ups on Wednesday as they battle minor injuries.

Acuna, 24, returned at the beginning of May from a knee reconstruction that ended his 2021 season, and has looked largely like the two-time All-Star and Rookie of the Year that he is, even though his power numbers are down.

He had every intention of playing when he went to bed on Tuesday, but he reportedly woke up on Wednesday with tightness in his quad, before an MRI revealed a grade-one strain. He is considered day-to-day.

Stanton, on the other hand, has been placed on the 10-day injured list with what the team originally called a "right calf strain", before changing it to "right ankle inflammation". 

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said while any injury is frustrating, he feels the prognosis for Stanton is positive.

"I feel like we got good news," he said. "The Achilles is fine, and no strain. 

"So [we] just feel like this is something that's going to be short, and like we should knock it out and not mess with it and maybe it becomes something else. 

"Hopefully he got out in front of it a little bit, and hopefully it's just 10 days."

It was a rare joyous day at the ballpark for Detroit Tigers fans on Friday as future Hall-of-Famer Miguel Cabrera put on a show in their 4-2 home win against the Baltimore Orioles.

There was also a glimpse into the future of the franchise as their brightest young talents came through in big spots.

Cabrera, 39, brought home the game's first run with an RBI double in the third inning, before he doubled his side's advantage when he connected with his second home run of the season from his next plate appearance in the sixth inning.

Later in the sixth inning, exciting 25-year-old Puerto Rican Willi Castro made it 3-0 with his own RBI double, before one of the top prospects in all of baseball, Spencer Torkelson, drove Castro in to make it 4-0.

The Orioles threatened a comeback in the eighth frame as Trey Mancini and Anthony Santander hit a pair of solo home runs, but that would be all as Will Vest came in to collect the save.

It was a great starting pitching performance from Eduardo Rodriguez, who was the Tigers' big off-season signing from the Boston Red Sox, going six complete innings while giving up five hits and four walks for no runs.

Rodriguez has not allowed any more than four runs in any start this season, but this was the first time he was credited with a win, despite it being officially his third 'quality start'.

 

Big-swinging Yankees stay hot

Having their best start to a season since 2003, the New York Yankees banked another win with a 10-4 road victory against the Chicago White Sox.

On the back of a strong start by ace pitcher Gerrit Cole, striking out nine while giving up three runs in six-and-a-third innings, sluggers Joey Gallo, Aaron Judge, Josh Donaldson and Giancarlo Stanton all hit home runs in a devastating demonstration of power.

The win moves the Yankees' league-best record to 24-8. The eight previous times they have had at least 22 wins from their first 30 games, which was the case this season, they have gone on to make the World Series.

Angels debutant pitches a gem

Chase Silseth became the second pitcher in Los Angeles Angels history to go six full innings and allow one or fewer hits in his major league debut as his side shut-out the Oakland Athletics 2-0.

The 21-year-old rookie also gave up just two walks for three total baserunners, while striking out four.

He joins Rudy May, who accomplished the feat in April 1965.

The New York Yankees came through in the ninth inning to win a hard-fought pitching duel 3-2 against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Yankees pitcher Jordan Montgomery was strong through five innings, conceding two runs from six hits and no walks, striking out five. For the Blue Jays, Ross Stripling gave up two runs from five hits and no walks in four innings.

It was a scoreless first three frames, before the Yankees finally found the breakthrough when Gleyber Torres stepped up to the plate with Josh Donaldson on first base and two outs, sending a blast over the right-field wall to make it 2-0.

The lead was short-lived, as George Springer led off the bottom of the fourth with a base hit, before coming home with Bo Bichette's double to left-field. Bichette was then brought home by Matt Chapman's two-out base hit, tying the game at 2-2.

It would be another four scoreless innings as both bullpens, particularly the Blue Jays', were lights out, not allowing the Yankees another baserunner until the ninth inning.

Giancarlo Stanton led off the last frame with a single to center-field, before he was withdrawn from the game, replaced by speedy pinch-runner Tim Locastro in a game-winning decision.

Locastro instantly stole second base, breaking up what would have been a double-play when the next batter up grounded out, and made his way into scoring position in the process. 

Aaron Hicks' strikeout brought Torres back to the plate with two outs, and he delivered once again, sending a base hit to right-field to bring Locastro to home plate for a 3-2 lead.

Yankees closer Chad Green closed the door in style, striking out two of the three batters he faced to collect the save.

Angels batters issued Cease and desist 

Chicago White Sox ace Dylan Cease pitched a gem in his side's 3-0 shutout win against the Los Angeles Angels.

Cease got through seven complete innings in 93 pitches, striking out 11 while conceding just one hit and no walks.

He did not have to wait long for run-support either, as the White Sox jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning after A.J. Pollock and Jake Burger drove in one each.

Pitchers put on a show in St Louis

Kansas City Royals starter Zach Greinke only allowed three hits, no walks and one run in his six innings, but was still credited with the loss as his side went down 1-0 against the St Louis Cardinals.

Steven Matz was even better for the Cardinals, pitching six scoreless frames, conceding four hits and no walks.

Paul Goldschmidt put the Cardinals ahead with a solo home run in the opening inning, for the first and last run of the night. 

Tensions between the St Louis Cardinals and New York Mets boiled over on Wednesday as the benches cleared for a brawl, before the Cardinals won 10-5.

J.D. Davis had to leave at the top of the eighth inning after he was hit in the foot by a Genesis Cabrera pitch, making for the 19th time a Mets hitter has struck by a pitch this season, the most in MLB so far.

Mets reliever Yoan Lopez retaliated against Nolan Arenado later in the eighth inning, launching a fastball near the Cardinals DH's head. Arenado demanded he do it again, before the benches cleared, and he was ejected from the game.

The 31-year-old nine-time Gold Glove winner had an otherwise great day out for the Cardinals, claiming three hits and three RBIs in as many at-bats.

Mets starter Carlos Carrasco had one to forget, though, giving up eight hits and as many runs in 78 pitches, not making it past the fourth inning.

Stanton propels Pinstripes to victory

Giancarlo Stanton hit his 350th career home run, as well as the go-ahead sacrifice fly, with the New York Yankees defeating the Baltimore Orioles 5-2.

Stanton ended a 14-game drought with a two-run drive off Tyler Wells in the first inning, while Joey Gallo notched his third straight game with an RBI, and homered for the second consecutive game.

Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery gave up four hits and two runs over 71 pitches, before making way for Michael King in the sixth inning.

Gallen gives Diamondbacks a shock win

Zac Gallen pitched six scoreless innings as the Arizona Diamondbacks claimed an upset 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The 26-year-old starter allowed only two hits and managed five strikeouts with 90 pitches in those six innings.

D-Backs short stop Nick Ahmed homered in the fifth inning, while Mark Melancon claimed his fourth save, not giving up a hit in the final frame.

After seven consecutive road games to start their season, the New York Mets put on a show for their home crowd at Citi Field in a 10-3 win against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Making his second start of the season, Chris Bassitt was lights out again for the Mets, pitching six full innings for six strikeouts while only giving up one run and four total baserunners.

After Pete Alonso drove in the first two runs through two sacrifice-fly balls, Robinson Cano delivered the first big shot of the day with a solo home run in the third inning, before Francisco Lindor bombed a two-run jack in the fifth frame.

Starling Marte would get in on the action in the eighth inning, connecting on a 391-foot three-run homer, before Lindor added his second long ball of the day in the very next at-bat.

 

 

 

Orioles walk-off with a walk

The New York Yankees went down 2-1 in extra innings against the Baltimore Orioles as the winning run was gifted home plate with a walk.

Giancarlo Stanton was the lone bright spot for the Yankees on the offensive side of the ball, getting three hits from five at-bats and driving in New York's only run.

The two starting pitchers – Jordan Montgomery for the Yankees and Jordan Lyles for the Orioles – combined for 10 innings of work for only one earned run.

Giancarlo Stanton continued his remarkable home-run hitting form against the Boston Red Sox as the New York Yankees won 4-2 on Saturday.

Yankees slugger Stanton homered for the sixth consecutive game against the Red Sox, hitting the go-ahead two-run homer to left center field in the sixth inning.

Boston had gone ahead in the second inning from Alex Verdugo's two-run homer, before Anthony Rizzo equalled the feat in the fourth inning to level the game up.

The victory means the Yankees have begun the new season with a 2-0 start, ahead of the third and final game of their series against the Red Sox on Sunday.

"I can’t say it’s the rivalry or anything," Stanton said about his record against the Red Sox. "I’m doing my homework and getting the ball over the plate."

 

Dodgers offense shut down

The Los Angeles Dodgers struggled on offense as they slumped to a 3-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies, who were sparked by an eighth-inning Connor Joe homer.

Rockies closer Daniel Bard shut down the Dodgers in the ninth inning to round out the win, striking out Justin Turner, Edwin Rios and Cody Bellinger.

Austin Barnes had two hits and an RBI for the Dodgers, while Mookie Betts had an eighth-inning RBI single to tie the game up, before Joe's go-ahead blast.

 

Alonso hits career-first grand slam

Pete Alonso clubbed a fifth-inning grand slam to lead the New York Mets past the Washington Nationals 5-0. That marked 27-year-old's first career grand slam and comes after Alonso had been left with a bloodied lip after being struck by a Mason Thompson fastball earlier in the series.

The benches cleared in the Chicago Cubs' 9-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers after tempers flared between the division rivals when right-hander Keegan Thompson hit Andrew McCutchen in the hip with a fastball.

Dylan Cease stepped in for the Chicago White Sox with eight strikeouts across five innings in their 5-2 win over the Detroit Tigers. Cease remarkably boasts a 9-0 record against the Tigers in 10 starts.

 

Saturday's results

Tampa Bay Rays 5-3 Baltimore Orioles
Chicago White Sox 5-2 Detroit Tigers
Seattle Mariners 4-3 Minnesota Twins
St Louis Cardinals 6-2 Pittsburgh Pirates
Chicago Cubs 9-0 Milwaukee Brewers
Toronto Blue Jays 4-3 Texas Rangers
Philadelphia Phillies 4-2 Oakland Athletics
Miami Marlins 2-1 San Francisco Giants
New York Yankees 4-2 Boston Red Sox
Kansas City Royals 1-0 Cleveland Guardians
New York Mets 5-0 Washington Nationals
Atlanta Braves 2-1 Cincinnati Reds
Colorado Rockies 3-2 Los Angeles Dodgers
San Diego Padres 5-2 Arizona Diamondbacks
Los Angeles Angels 2-0 Houston Astros

 

Astros at Angels

The Los Angeles Angels take on the Houston Astros in the final game of their thrilling four-game series, with Shohei Ohtani potentially back on the mound after being rested for the past two games.

Baseball's best rivalry delivered once again on Friday as the New York Yankees defeated the Boston Red Sox 6-5 in extra innings at Yankee Stadium.

In the first game of the season for both sides, sparks flew in the opening inning as Rafael Devers hit a two-run bomb over the fence, before J.D. Martinez made it 3-0 for the Red Sox with a RBI double.

The Yankees wasted little time striking back as Anthony Rizzo launched a 414-foot two-run homer in the bottom of the first inning, and three innings later a Giancarlo Stanton solo shot tied proceedings at 3-3.

After the Red Sox manufactured a run in the sixth inning to take the lead, the Yankees tied things up once again with another solo home run, this time from D.J. LeMahieu in the eighth frame to take things to extra innings.

Boston scored first in the 10th inning through a Xander Bogaerts RBI single, only for Gleyber Torres to extend the game a further inning with a sacrifice fly, setting the table for Yankee debutant Josh Donaldson.

In his first game for New York, Donaldson delivered the game-winning walk-off base hit to bring Isiah Kiner-Falefa around to score in the bottom of the 11th inning.

AL Cy Young favorite Gerrit Cole was disappointing for the Yankees, getting pulled after four innings and 68 pitches after allowing three earned runs from four hits and a walk, while Michael King was credited with the win for pitching both extra frames.

Dodgers make winning start

The most expensive team in baseball, and World Series favorites, the Los Angeles Dodgers received strong contributions from their big names in a 5-3 away win against the Colorado Rockies.

Mookie Betts and Trae Turner collected RBI knocks, while new signing Freddie Freeman had one hit, one walk and scored a run from his four at-bats.

Dodgers ace Walker Buehler pitched a solid outing, giving up two runs from four hits and two walks, while racking up five strikeouts in five innings.

 

Blue Jays mount massive comeback

In the top of the fourth inning, the Toronto Blue Jays trailed the Texas Rangers 7-0, before the home side caught fire and stormed back to win 10-8.

Blue Jays starter and ace pitcher Jose Berrios was only able to record one out before getting pulled as the Rangers scored four runs off him, before the bullpen took over, only giving up one run in the last five innings.

Vladimir Guerrero had a pair of RBI base hits, Bo Bichette also had a multi-hit game and the duo of Teoscar Hernandez and Danny Jansen both blasted long home runs.

Angels off to slow start

Boasting arguably the best two players in the league – Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout – the Los Angeles Angels are off to a disappointing start after getting blown out by the Houston Astros 13-6.

The Astros used an eight-run seventh inning to blow the game open as Jeremy Pena and Kyle Tucker both hit home runs in the frame, while Jose Altuve, Aledmys Diaz and Alex Bregman all finished the game with multiple RBIs.

For the Angels, Ohtani registered a hit and scored a run, while Trout was withdrawn for a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning.

 

Friday's results

New York Yankees 6-5 Boston Red Sox

Detroit Tigers 5-4 Chicago White Sox

Philadelphia Phillies 9-5 Oakland Athletics

Tampa Bay Rays 2-1 Baltimore Orioles

Colorado Rockies 3-5 Los Angeles Dodgers

Minnesota Twins 1-2 Seattle Mariners 

San Francisco Giants 6-5 Miami Marlins

Washington Nationals 3-7 New York Mets

Toronto Blue Jays 10-8 Texas Rangers

Atlanta Braves 7-6 Cincinnati Reds

Los Angeles Angels 6-13 Houston Astros

Arizona Diamondbacks 0-3 San Diego Padres

 

Red Sox at Yankees

Boston versus New York remains the biggest rivalry in the sport, and the Red Sox will look to even the ledger in the second of the three-game series.

After a chaotic offseason, which included a lockout and pushing back Opening Day, baseball is almost back.

With a new collective bargaining agreement in place, two new playoff spots up for grabs and plenty of big-name player movement, it is shaping up to be an enthralling MLB season.

The defending champion Atlanta Braves may have improved, despite losing star Freddie Freeman to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Yankees' position as the best team in New York could soon be under threat. 

With so many storylines, the most logical place to begin is right at the very top.

 

Can the Braves go back-to-back?

As is often the case, the World Series race is wide open, but Atlanta is at least in the mix as far as the pre-season odds go.

Some would consider the Braves' run last season a fluke – they won 88 games in the regular season, while the 91-win Toronto Blue Jays and 90-win Seattle Mariners missed out on playoff berths entirely.

However, they were missing superstar Ronald Acuna Jr for a large chunk of the year, and made meaningful additions at the trade deadline including Eddie Rosario, Jorge Soler and Joc Pederson, and their playoff surge indicated that the record was not an accurate reflection of their talent.

While they lost franchise legend Freeman to the Dodgers, the Braves are arguably getting an upgrade at first base in the form of Matt Olson, who is four years younger and was a two-time Gold Glove winner with the Oakland Athletics before being traded for a four-player package of young Braves prospects.

Max Fried and Charlie Morton comprise a stout top of the rotation while Mike Soroka is out injured, and they have some strong bullpen arms including Tyler Matzek and Collin McHugh.

The Braves are a team without a clear weakness and will be full of confidence, so expect them to be fighting it out at the top of the NL East against the second-most expensive team in baseball, the New York Mets, as they bid to become the first team to win consecutive World Series since the Yankees in 1999 and 2000.

 

Are the Mets the best team in New York?

Since 2001, the New York Mets have only finished with a better record than the Yankees twice, in 2015 and 2016.

During that span, the Mets have never had a more expensive payroll than their local rivals – until this year.

The Mets are projected to come into Opening Day trailing only the Dodgers with the second-highest payroll in the league at $251million, while the Yankees are third at $239m.

It represents more than just deep pockets for second-year owner Steve Cohen, it shows that the Mets are no longer the 'little brother', and are willing to spend what it takes to be taken seriously against the most decorated franchise in major league history.

Buck Showalter will be the man tasked with turning the money into wins in his first year in the role, the former three-time AL Manager of the Year known for maximising talent on a limited budget with the Baltimore Orioles from 2010 to 2018, a stint that included a playoff series win over the Yankees.

Ultimately, what the Mets' season will hinge on is the health of their starting pitchers, with Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer (who turns 38 this season) comprising the best one-two punch in baseball after Marcus Stroman left as a free agent to join the Chicago Cubs. DeGrom has already been sidelined for four weeks with a shoulder injury.

The rotation also includes 2021 All-Star Taijuan Walker, who tailed off late last season, but showed impressive ability when fresh.

Francisco Lindor remains the young jewel of the franchise – now two seasons into a 10-year, $341m contract extension – and along with power-hitting Pete Alonso and rangy center-fielder Starling Marte, there is plenty of quality stepping into the batters' box.

The Yankees will have one of the highest-ceiling batting line-ups when they roll out sluggers Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Joey Gallo, but they also play in the league's toughest division in the AL East, and could be candidates for regression after losing pitcher Corey Kluber and trading away bats Gio Urshela and Luke Voit.

 

 

Did the best team in baseball not make the playoffs in 2021?

It may be hard to believe, but given the meat grinder that is the AL East, the Toronto Blue Jays are bookmakers' second-favourite to win the World Series despite not making the playoffs this past season.

The Blue Jays were top three in runs scored in 2021 and should again be one of the most explosive teams in the league this time around.

Toronto will also be able to enjoy a homecoming season, returning to Rogers Centre after the Blue Jays were forced to play their 2021 home games in Buffalo due to pandemic restrictions.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr and Bo Bichette are franchise cornerstones, last year's big signing George Springer was enormous in an injury-shortened debut campaign, and they have the luxury of adding Matt Chapman this season, who has two Platinum Gloves to his name as one of the best defensive players in the league.

Pitching remains the question mark in Toronto, with AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray departing for Seattle in a serious blow to a rotation with plenty to prove.

Nobody should be surprised if the Blue Jays jump up from fourth in their division all the way to the top, and are one of the teams with real World Series aspirations this season.

 

Which top prospect will establish themselves as a star? 

There will be some elite prospects finding their way in the majors this season, but will any of them burst onto the scene as a star?

In 2017, Judge did more than just win Rookie of the Year, he led the AL in home runs and finished second in AL MVP voting.

While there is always a chance that an unheralded rookie emerges as the premier prospect, there is a relatively clear top-tier consisting of three players entering the season.

Kansas City Royals infielder Bobby Witt Jr, Baltimore Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman and Seattle Mariners outfielder Julio Rodriguez.

Rutschman will hit for average from both sides of the plate while projecting as an elite defensive catcher, Witt is the five-tool stud who will make eye-popping plays with his glove at shortstop, and Rodriguez is the big, power-hitting corner outfielder.

At 24 years old, Rutschman is the senior of the class, while the other two are considerably younger at 21, but all three will have a chance to prove themselves early in the year as franchise-altering stars – and potentially become the biggest story of this season.

The Boston Red Sox conquered rivals the New York Yankees 6-2 in Tuesday's Wild Card Game to set up an American League (AL) Division Series showdown with the Tampa Bay Rays.

A playoff berth was on the line in MLB after the Red Sox and Yankees both claimed dramatic last-gasp wins on the final day of the regular season to finish in the AL Wild Card spots, ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners.

The Red Sox welcomed the Yankees to Fenway Park and eased to a comprehensive victory, securing an ALDS clash with AL East champions the Rays, starting Thursday in Tampa.

Boston got to Gerrit Cole as the Yankees ace endured a nightmare outing – Xander Bogaerts and Kyle Schwarber both homering off the four-time All-Star, while Red Sox counterpart Nathan Eovaldi allowed just one run on four hits after striking out eight batters in 5.1 innings.

Cole lasted just two innings after giving up three runs, two homers and two walks on four hits as the Yankees' season came to an abrupt end – the storied franchise have not reached the World Series since 2009.

Bogaerts hit a first-inning home run off Cole before Schwarber heaped further misery on the 31-year-old starting pitcher in the third to help the Red Sox move 3-0 ahead.

Anthony Rizzo homered in the sixth to finally get the Yankees on the board as he and Schwarber became the second pair in history to hit home runs in a postseason game as team-mates (2015 NLDS) then later home in another playoff contest featuring for different teams after Carlos Ruiz and Jayson Werth in the 2016 NLDS, according to Stats Perform.

But the Red Sox scored two unanswered runs in the seventh and while Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton homered in the ninth, it was too little too late in Boston.

Alex Verdugo ended the game with three RBI to become the youngest Red Sox hitter with a three-RBI performance in a winner-takes-all clash since Dustin Pedroia in the 2007 ALCS Game 7.

 

Cardinals at Dodgers

The St Louis Cardinals will visit defending World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers in Wednesday's National League (NL) Wild Card contest. It will be a battle between St Louis' Adam Wainwright and Dodgers ace Max Scherzer.

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