The Houston Astros are one win from a World Series championship after fine pitching displays from Justin Verlander and Ryan Pressly held off the Philadelphia Phillies 3-2 in Game 5 on Thursday.

Verlander claimed his first-ever World Series victory in his ninth start with six strikeouts across five innings before Pressly's five-out save at Bank Citizens Park.

The Astros' defense came up big when it mattered too, with first baseman Trey Mancini making a huge play from Kyle Schwarber's low line drive to close the eighth inning, along with outfielder Chas McCormick leaping and holding a J.T. Realmuto shot on the wall for the second out in the ninth.

Houston go 3-2 up ahead of Game 6 at Minute Maid Park on Saturday, with the Game 5 winner when the World Series has been tied going on to win 30 of the previous 45 editions.

Jeremy Pena, who had three hits for the game, drove in Jose Altuve in the first inning, before Schwarber's leadoff homer over right field squared it up.

In the fourth, Pena blasted Phillies' starter Noah Syndergaard over Schwarber's head at left field for his fourth homer this postseason, becoming the first rookie shortstop to hit a blast in World Series history.

Altuve, who got on base three times, plated in the eighth inning from Yordan Alvarez's ground ball which first baseman Rhys Hoskins tried to charge.

Jean Segura's RBI single drove in Nick Castellanos in the bottom of the eighth, but Pressly held his nerve after replacing Rafael Montero, with Mancini's clutch play on first base closing the inning.

Alec Bohm's brilliant double play ended the Astros' ninth, but the Phillies were denied despite Bryce Harper getting on base for the fourth time in the game, with McCormick plucking a great catch before Castellanos hit to Pena who threw to Mancini to close it out.

The Philadelphia Phillies blasted five home runs to open up a 2-1 lead in the World Series after winning Game 3 over the Houston Astros 7-0 on Tuesday.

The victory maintains the Phillies' perfect home postseason record, claiming six wins from six games at Citizens Bank Park ahead of Game 4 at the same venue. Philadelphia have also blasted 17 home runs in those six home games.

Bryce Harper, Alec Bohm, Brandon Marsh, Kyle Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins all slugged homers. Harper and Hoskins' blasts took them to six each this postseason, which is tied for the second-most in franchise history, behind only Jayson Werth with seven from 2009.

All seven runs came off Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr, who pitched four-and-one-third innings, allowing six hits and one walk with six strikeouts.

The Phillies were dominant throughout, with a brilliant Nick Castellanos' play from a sinking Jose Altuve line drive in the first inning, followed by Harper's two-run blast after Schwarber's leadoff walk.

In the second inning, Bohm blasted just above the left-field wall, followed by Marsh's solo shot to open up a 4-0 lead.

McCullers had retired seven straight batters Schwarber added a two-run center-field blast into the trees, which travelled 443 feet, in the fifth inning, with Hoskins homering shortly after too.

Phillies starter Ranger Suarez went five innings for four strikeouts, allowing three hits, no earned runs and one walk. Nick Nelson got out of a jam in the eighth after two walks, before Andrew Bellatti closed out the win.

The Game 3 winner when the series was tied has gone on to win 41 of the last 59 World Series.

The Houston Astros responded to blowing a 5-0 lead in Game 1 with a fast start to set up their 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies to square the World Series on Saturday.

The Astros raced to a 3-0 first-inning lead, scoring two runs from the first four pitches from Phillies starter Zach Wheeler, before Alex Bregman's fifth-inning two-run blast shored up a 5-0 lead at Minute Maid Park.

The Phillies had rallied from that deficit on Friday but could not replicate that, despite plating runs in the seventh and ninth innings. Kyle Schwarber thought he had pulled it back to 5-3 with an eighth-inning two-run blast but that was called a foul after a replay review.

Framber Valdez was heroic, sending down 104 pitches before being retired in the seventh inning with nine strikeouts having allowed only four hits, three walks and one earned run.

Jose Altuve's lead-off double from the first pitch was followed by Jeremy Pena's left-field line drive from the second pitch to score the second baseman. Altuve put aside his postseason struggles with three hits for the game.

Two pitches later Pena scored when Yordan Alvarez's left-field shot sailed over Schwarber's head. Alvarez added the third in the inning from an error by shortstop Edmundo Sosa.

Wheeler corrected his early issues, allowing only two singles from 14 batters until Bregman's fifth-inning blast, his third of the postseason.

Nick Castellanos scored from Jean Segura's seventh-inning sacrifice fly, before Schwarber came close to halving the deficit twice, with his two-run blast overturned, followed by a right-field shot that was caught inches short by Kyle Tucker.

Astros first baseman's Yuli Gurriel error allowed Alec Bohm to score in the ninth but Ryan Pressly closed it out to square the World Series at 1-1.

The Philadelphia Phillies are one win away from the World Series after tying a franchise record for their largest comeback in postseason history with a 10-6 Game 4 win over the San Diego Padres in the NLCS on Saturday.

The Padres raced ahead 4-0 in the first inning, but the Phillies responded to square the game by the fourth inning, before pulling away thanks to four home runs at Citizens Bank Park to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Rhys Hoskins played a key role in the comeback, blasting two two-run homers, the second tying the game up at 6-6 in the fifth inning, before a go-ahead single from Bryce Harper, who went two-for-four with two RBIs.

Kyle Schwarber and J.T. Realmuto both launched solo home runs in the sixth and seventh innings to add insurance.

The Padres were two out in the first inning before Manny Machado led their early charge with a solo blast followed by Brandon Drury's two-run double and Kim Ha-seong's RBI.

Hoskins commenced an immediate response with his third home run of the postseason, before Harper's RBI cut the margin to one after the first inning.

Phillies shortstop Bryson Stott's base hit to left squared it up at 4-4 in the fourth inning before Juan Soto launched his first postseason homer, a two-run shot, to open up a 6-4 Padres' lead.

Hoskins blasted Sean Manaea over left-center field to tie it up, before Harper drove Realmuto home to take the lead.

The Phillies host the Padres again on Sunday, knowing only 14 of 91 teams have overcome a 3-1 deficit in a League Championship Series or a World Series to win.

Astros open up 3-0 lead with Yankees domination

The Houston Astros are also on the brink of clinching their fourth World Series berth in six seasons after a dominant 5-0 victory over the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

The Astros' pitching staff did the damage, with starter Cristian Javier allowing only one hit with five strikeouts across five-and-one-third innings. Javier had led the Astros' combined no-hitter at Yankee Stadium earlier this season in June.

The victory improved the Astros' postseason record to 6-0, having swept the Seattle Mariners in the ALDS, while it was their second shutout of the postseason too.

Chas McCormick blasted a two-run homer in the second inning after Harrison Bader and Aaron Judge's outfield mix-up allowed Christian Vazquez on base from a sky-high pop-out with two out.

The Astros loaded the bases in the fifth inning, leading to Gerrit Cole's removal despite seven K's, before Trey Mancini's sacrifice fly and Vazquez's two-run single from reliever Lou Trivino to capitalise.

Astros catcher Vazquez's brilliant game included a spectacular throw to second base to out Bader when trying to steal with the game poised at 2-0 at the top of the fifth inning.

The Philadelphia Phillies rode an explosive start from slugger Kyle Schwarber to a 4-2 home victory in Game 3 of the NLCS on Friday, taking a 2-1 lead.

Only Aaron Judge (62) hit more home runs in the regular season than Schwarber (46), and he continued his spectacular season with his second of the postseason to snatch a 1-0 lead for the Phillies with a 405-foot bomb as their very first batter.

That lead would hold until the fourth inning, when Jake Cronenworth was able to bring Juan Soto home from third with a groundout to shortstop, but the Phillies wasted no time retaking the advantage.

In the bottom of the fourth, Jean Segura came through with a big two-run single to jump ahead 3-1, with Alec Bohm and Bryson Stott coming around to score.

Schwarber, Stott and Bohm were the three Phillies to collect multiple hits on the day, and Bohm's second was crucial, ripping a double to right-field in the sixth inning to again restore their buffer to 4-2, which their bullpen protected beautifully.

Zach Eflin and Jose Alvarado pitched the sixth and seventh inning, before Seranthony Dominguez saw out the final two frames, giving up just one baserunner while striking out three batters for a six-out save.

Phillies starter Ranger Suarez did enough to earn the win on the mound, getting through five innings for two earned runs in 68 pitches while only giving up two hits and no walks.

Game 4 and Game 5 will remain in Philadelphia, before the best-of-seven series heads back to San Diego for Game 6 and Game 7 if necessary.

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Zack Wheeler was at his dominant best as he held the San Diego Padres scoreless through the first seven innings to set up a 2-0 road win in Game 1 of the NLCS.

With a trip to the World Series on the line, the Phillies got off to the perfect start thanks to starring performances from their marquee players.

Wheeler allowed only one hit and one walk in his seven innings, striking out eight batters, after a season where he posted the sixth-best ERA (2.82) in the National League.

His opposing number starting on the mound for the Padres, Yu Darvish, was not much worse, also pitching seven full innings, and while he only allowed three hits, two of them traveled over the fence to decide the game.

Two-time MVP Bryce Harper broke the scoreless tie in the fourth inning, connecting on a 368-foot home run to left-field, and teammate Kyle Schwarber dwarfed that distance with his home run in the sixth.

Schwarber – who finished the season second in the majors with 46 home runs – blasted his longest of the year with a 488-foot nuke into the upper deck at right-field.

In a pitching masterclass, there were only four combined hits in the game, and with his performance, Wheeler became only the second player to ever have a playoff game with seven shutout innings, at least seven strikeouts and no more than one hit in less than 100 pitches. The only other instance was Don Larsen's perfect game for the New York Yankees back in 1956.

The Los Angeles Dodgers became the first National League (NL) side in 113 years to reach 110 wins in a single season after rallying for a 6-4 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday.

The last NL side to achieve that fear were the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1909. The Dodgers better their record still, with four regular-season games remaining.

The Dodgers also became just the seventh side in MLB history to record 110 wins in a single season, joining the 2001 Mariners (116), 1906 Cubs (116), 1998 Yankees (114), 1954 Cleveland (111), 1927 Yankees (110) and 1909 Pirates (110).

It was not easy this time, trailing 4-1 entering the seventh inning before a patient batting performance where they drew five straight walks, before Cody Bellinger's sacrifice fly tied the game.

Joey Gallo's sac fly put the Dodgers ahead in the eighth inning before Bellinger's RBI single padded the win.

The victory was the Dodgers' 47th comeback of the season, improving their overall record to 110-48.

Swanson steps up as Braves edge Mets

Dansby Swanson underlined his quality in the big moments with a game-changing two-run blast from Max Scherzer in the Atlanta Braves' crunch 4-2 win over the New York Mets in the NL East battle.

Trailing 2-1 at the bottom of the fifth inning with one out on a 3-2 pitch, Swansby blasted Scherzer over center field to homer for the second consecutive day.

The result means the Braves (99-59) lead the NL East by one game with four remaining, sitting ahead of the Mets (98-60).

Padres slug three home runs

Jake Cronenworth, Manny Machado and Juan Soto all crushed homers as the San Diego Padres sliced their magic number to one with a 5-2 win over the Chicago White Sox.

At 1-1 at the bottom of the sixth inning, Cronenworth deposited a slider from Cy Young hopeful Dylan Cease for a two-run blast over right field.

The Padres' win, combined with the Milwaukee Brewers' 4-3 loss to the Miami Marlins was significant in the NL Wild Card race.

San Diego are in the second slot with a 87-71 record, while the Brewers are fourth at 84-74, either side of the Philadelphia Phillies (85-73) who beat the Washington Nationals 8-2 after Kyle Schwarber's leadoff blast.

Albert Pujols blasted his 696th career home run to move into equal fourth on the all-time homers list as the St Louis Cardinals defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-5 on Saturday.

Pujols levelled the game at the top of the sixth inning with his two-run blast, which moved him closer to the 700-homer mark, but also tied him up with Alex Rodriguez in fourth all-time behind only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).

The 42-year-old is in his final season in the majors, but was less concerned about records and more focused on the win.

"I don't care who I tied," Pujols said. "At the end of the day, it's about tying [the game] for the team and giving them an opportunity to pick up a win... It's pretty special. I think I'm aware of where I am in the history of the game. But at the end of the day, 21 years ago when I make the ballclub, that wasn't something that I was chasing."

Pujols also had a double and a single to round out a strong game, with Nolan Arenado breaking the tie with a three-run double with two outs in the ninth inning.

The National League (NL) Central-leading Cardinals improve their record to 82-58, to remain eight games clear of the Milwaukee Brewers who won 5-1 over the Cincinnati Reds.

Trout makes Angels franchise history

Mike Trout set a franchise record after homering in a sixth consecutive game as the Los Angeles Angels won 6-1 over the Houston Astros.

Trout passed Bonds' mark with a three-run homer at the top of the second inning, bringing up his 34th blast of the season.

Shohei Ohtani was hot on the mound for the Angels, with seven strikeouts, yielding one run on six hits across five innings before exiting early due to a "blister on his right index finger".

Ohtani's 101.4 mph fastball to strike out Kyle Tucker was the fastest strikeout pitch by an Angels pitcher since 2008.

Harper breaks home run drought

Bryce Harper snapped a career-worst run of 102 plate appearances without a home run in the Philadelphia Phillies 8-5 victory over the Washington Nationals.

Harper, who had not homered since June 5, slugged an opposite-field game-tying two-run home run in the third inning.

Kyle Schwarber blasted his 37th homer of the year, topping the NL charts, and bringing up his first since August 29.

Albert Pujols blasted his 696th career home run to move into equal fourth on the all-time homers list as the St Louis Cardinals defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-5 on Saturday.

Pujols levelled the game at the top of the sixth inning with his two-run blast, which moved him closer to the 700-homer mark, but also tied him up with Alex Rodriguez in fourth all-time behind only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).

The 42-year-old is in his final season in the majors, but was less concerned about records and more focused on the win.

"I don't care who I tied," Pujols said. "At the end of the day, it's about tying [the game] for the team and giving them an opportunity to pick up a win... It's pretty special. I think I'm aware of where I am in the history of the game. But at the end of the day, 21 years ago when I make the ballclub, that wasn't something that I was chasing."

Pujols also had a double and a single to round out a strong game, with Nolan Arenado breaking the tie with a three-run double with two outs in the ninth inning.

The National League (NL) Central-leading Cardinals improve their record to 82-58, to remain eight games clear of the Milwaukee Brewers who won 5-1 over the Cincinnati Reds.

Trout makes Angels franchise history

Mike Trout set a franchise record after homering in a sixth consecutive game as the Los Angeles Angels won 6-1 over the Houston Astros.

Trout passed Bonds' mark with a three-run homer at the top of the second inning, bringing up his 34th blast of the season.

Shohei Ohtani was hot on the mound for the Angels, with seven strikeouts, yielding one run on six hits across five innings before exiting early due to a "blister on his right index finger".

Ohtani's 101.4 mph fastball to strike out Kyle Tucker was the fastest strikeout pitch by an Angels pitcher since 2008.

Harper breaks home run drought

Bryce Harper snapped a career-worst run of 102 plate appearances without a home run in the Philadelphia Phillies 8-5 victory over the Washington Nationals.

Harper, who had not homered since June 5, slugged an opposite-field game-tying two-run home run in the third inning.

Kyle Schwarber blasted his 37th homer of the year, topping the NL charts, and bringing up his first since August 29.

The Philadelphia Phillies will be sweating on the availability of All-Star slugger Kyle Schwarber after he was forced out of Thursday's 3-0 loss to the Miami Marlins due to a mild right calf strain.

The 2021 and 2022 All-Star, who leads the National League (NL) with 34 home runs this season, was pulled out after earning a walk in the fifth inning having experienced tightness throughout the game.

The injury concern comes ahead of the Phillies' series against the NL East-leading New York Mets which begins on Friday.

"I probably won't play [on Friday]," Schwarber told reporters. "I will do as much work as possible and try to get back as quickly as possible.

"I want to be quick as I can but also don't want to do anything that's outrageous to hurt the team and be down an extended amount of time, too.

"It’s something I've been managing. It wasn't anything serious. Today it just got tighter and tighter and tighter, and I just felt like if there was a ball that fell on the field, I wouldn’t be able to serve."

The Phillies currently occupy the second NL Wild Card spot, having won 12 of their past 14 games.

Philadelphia holds a 62-49 record, behind the Atlanta Braves (66-46) in the NL Wild Card race, with the San Diego Padres (63-51) and the Milwaukee Brewers (60-50) next behind them.

Kyle Schwarber said "these are the moments that you are never going to forget" after hitting a record-making homer in the Boston Red Sox's 12-3 rout of the Houston Astros in Game 3 of their American League Championship Series.

Schwarber hit another grand slam for the Red Sox, who now lead the Astros 2-1, making them the first MLB team to hit three slams in a single series having hit two in Game 2.

The Red Sox are the first team to have three slams in the postseason since the 1998 Atlanta Braves.

J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers achieved slams in the second game, while Schwarber cleared the bases in the second inning on Monday in Boston and he revelled in a moment of glory.

"These are the moments that you are never going to forget as a player," Schwarber said. 

"This is what we live for. We live to be in the postseason. When you get that first taste, that first experience, you want to keep coming. You want more. 

"It's an addictive feeling, and especially where it's just rocking the whole time and it's rowdy.

"That gave me a headache, and I loved it. I loved every second of it."

 

Asked if a slam was on his mind as he stepped up to the plate, Schwarber replied: "You are trying to get at least one, and not going up there thinking home run. 

"That could turn into a pop-up or something like that, so just trying to not be late. You know a heater is coming there, and just go from there."

The Boston Red Sox made more history as they crushed the Houston Astros 12-3 for a 2-1 lead in the American League Championship Series (ALCS).

Kyle Schwarber hit another grand slam for the red-hot Red Sox, who are the first MLB team to smash three slams in a playoff series on their way to a Game 3 win on Monday.

The Red Sox hit two grand slams in their Game 2 demolition of the Astros. According to Stats Perform, Boston are the first team in major league history to have three slams within the first two innings over a two-game span.

After J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers celebrated slams against the Astros in the second game, Schwarber cleared the bases in the second inning in Boston.

Martinez and Devers each homered again, while Christian Arroyo also went deep at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox raced out to another 9-0 lead through three innings before Kyle Tucker's three-run homer got the battered Astros on the board on the road.

Eduardo Rodriguez, who gave up five hits and struck out seven, had retired the first six batters prior to Tucker's bomb.

Martinez and Devers extended the Red Sox's lead in the sixth and eighth inning as the latter became the first ever MLB player to hit for the home run cycle (solo, two-run, three-run and grand slam) over his fist four home runs of a single postseason, per Stats Perform.

The Red Sox got to Jose Urquidy, who allowed six runs and a homer on five hits – walking two – over 1.2 rough innings.

Game 4 is back at Fenway Park on Tuesday

 

Braves at Dodgers

World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers are back on home turf as they host the Atlanta Braves in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series (NLCS), trailing 2-0.

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.

The Los Angeles Dodgers fortified their chances to repeat as World Series champions by acquiring starter Max Scherzer and shortstop Trea Turner as MLB teams completed a historic trade deadline scramble that saw 10 different 2021 All-Stars change teams.

The Dodgers, who trail the Giants by three games in the highly competitive National League West, were able to orchestrate a blockbuster deal to plug the hole in their rotation left by Trevor Bauer, who remains on leave as he is investigated for sexual abuse.

Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young Award winner and eight-time All-Star, steps into a formidable rotation that still features Walker Buhler, Clayton Kershaw and Julio Urias – plus left-hander Danny Duffy, who was acquired from the Kansas City Royals on Thursday.

Turner is batting .322 this year with 18 home runs and has 21 stolen bases, earning him his first All-Star selection earlier this month. He will add his combination of speed and power to a Los Angeles lineup that already leads the National League in runs scored.

In return for the two All-Stars, the Dodgers sent four minor league players to the Washington Nationals, including a pair of top-50 prospects in catcher Keibert Ruiz and pitcher Josiah Gray.

The Nationals were among the biggest sellers at the deadline, sitting in fourth place in the NL East and having just announced that 2019 World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg will undergo season-ending neck surgery.

On Thursday, Washington sent relief pitcher Brad Hand to the Toronto Blue Jays and dealt slugger Kyle Schwarber to the Boston Red Sox. The fire sale continued on Friday, with the Nationals sending catcher Yan Gomes and infielder Josh Harrison to the Athletics and trading veteran lefty Jon Lester to the St. Louis Cardinals.

The other notable sellers at the deadline were the Chicago Cubs, who gutted nearly the entire core that helped them win the World Series in 2016.

Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo each played a vital role in that championship five years ago but were sent packing this week with all three playing in the final seasons of their contracts.

The New York Mets added Baez, who will likely start at shortstop until Francisco Lindor is healthy then play second base, as well as pitcher Trevor Williams in exchange for 2020 top draft pick Pete Crow-Armstrong.

Bryant, who had previously said he would consider re-signing with the Cubs this offseason, yielded a modest return in a trade with the NL West-leading Giants.

The Cubs also had the leading closer on the market, sending Craig Kimbrel to the crosstown White Sox for second baseman Nick Madrigal and pitcher Codi Heuer.

Rizzo was the first to go, traded Thursday to the New York Yankees, whose first basemen have slugged an MLB-worst .323 this season.

The Yankees are in third place, thanks mostly to an anemic offense that has scored the second-fewest runs in the American League, but took huge strides at the deadline. Earlier on Thursday, the Yankees secured towering slugger Joey Gallo in a trade with the woeful Texas Rangers, giving the Bronx Bombers two new power threats from the left side of the plate.

Despite entering Friday fourth in the AL East, the Toronto Blue Jays dealt two prospects to the Minnesota Twins for right-handed starter Jose Berrios. Even if Toronto misses the playoffs this season, Berrios is still just 27 and remains under team control through 2022.

The Atlanta Braves drew attention around the league for being buyers, despite star center fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. being out for the rest of the season. The Braves made multiple deals on Friday and since the All-Star break have added catcher Stephen Vogt, pitcher Richard Rodriguez and four outfielders: Adam Duvall, Joc Pederson, Jorge Soler and Eddie Rosario.

Elsewhere in the NL East, the Philadelphia Phillies also strengthened their position by acquiring All-Star pitcher Kyle Gibson from the Rangers and by re-uniting with infielder Freddy Galvis.

Add in earlier trades that sent Nelson Cruz to the Tampa Bay Rays, Adam Frazier to the San Diego Padres and Eduardo Escobar to the Milwaukee Brewers to reach 10 of this year’s All-Stars moved at the deadline, the most ever.

Zach Davies, Ryan Tepera, Andrew Chafin and Craig Kimbrel combined for a no-hitter as the Chicago Cubs blanked World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-0.

The Cubs threw the seventh no-hitter of the 2021 season – tying a modern era record for most in a campaign – while making history of their own against the Dodgers on Thursday.

It was the Cubs' first combined no-hitter in franchise history after Kimbrel completed the job away to the Dodgers in Los Angeles.

Cubs starter Davies went six innings without allowing a hit, striking out four batters.

The Cubs also became the first team in MLB history to throw a no-hitter (solo or combined) against a franchise with three former MVP winners in the starting line-up – Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger and Albert Pujols, according to Stats Perform.

 

Vladdy hits the front in homer race, Astros win again

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. reclaimed the lead for the most home runs this season after helping the Toronto Blue Jays crush the Baltimore Orioles 9-0. Guerrero homered for the 24th time in 2021 – a 438-foot moonshot guiding the Blue Jays to a fifth consecutive win after Lourdes Gurriel Jr's first career grand slam.

The Houston Astros extended their winning streak to 11 games after easing past the Detroit Tigers 12-3. During their winning streak, Houston have scored 93 runs and allowed just 24. According to Stats Perform, they are the first MLB team to score 90-plus runs while allowing less than 25 over an 11-game span since the Pirates in 1911.

Kyle Schwarber fuelled the Washington Nationals' 7-3 victory against the Miami Marlins. Schwarber homered twice for the Nationals. It is the fourth time in his last 11 games that Schwarber had at least two home runs and four RBI. According to Stats Perform, he is the first MLB player to achieve the feat four times in an 11-game span since RBI became an official stat in 1920.

 

Kremer crushed in Buffalo

Dean Kremer had a game to forget against the Blue Jays. The Orioles pitcher gave up six runs, two hits and a career-high five walks in the opening inning as Baltimore suffered their 20th straight road loss.

 

Rays in wild walk-off win

The Tampa Bay Rays reclaimed the lead in the American League (AL) East thanks to a dramatic finish in their 1-0 walk-off victory against the Boston Red Sox. With two outs in the ninth inning, the Rays prevailed after Manuel Margot scored from third base on a wild pitch by Red Sox closer Matt Barnes.

 

Thursday's results

New York Yankees 8-1 Kansas City Royals
Oakland Athletics 5-1 Texas Rangers
Toronto Blue Jays 9-0 Baltimore Orioles
Cincinnati Reds 5-3 Atlanta Braves
Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 Boston Red Sox
Houston Astros 12-3 Detroit Tigers
Washington Nationals 7-3 Miami Marlins
Cleveland Indians 4-1 Minnesota Twins
Pittsburgh Pirates 8-2 St Louis Cardinals
Chicago Cubs 4-0 Los Angeles Dodgers

 

Yankees at Red Sox

The blockbuster rivalry resumes as the New York Yankees (40-34) visit the Red Sox (44-31) for the series opener on Friday. Martin Perez starts for the Red Sox as the Yankees counter with Domingo German.

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