Exciting Seattle Mariners youngster Julio Rodriguez has been rewarded for his spectacular rookie season as one of the three American League (AL) outfielders named as Silver Sluggers on Thursday.

Rodriguez, 21, had arguably the best rookie season since Aaron Judge finished MVP runner-up with his debut campaign for the New York Yankees back in 2017.

In 132 games, Rodriguez led all rookies with 28 home runs, and became the third rookie to ever tally at least 25 homers and 25 stolen bases in their first year. He is the fourth rookie outfielder to ever win a Silver Slugger, joining fellow Mariner Ichiro Suzuki (2001), three-time MVP Mike Trout (2012) and Judge (2017).

Likely this season's AL MVP, New York's Judge joined Rodriguez in the outfield to collect his third Silver Slugger, with Trout filling the third outfield spot. 

Texas Rangers first-baseman Nathaniel Lowe, Houston Astros second-baseman Jose Altuve, Cleveland Guardians third-baseman Jose Ramirez and Toronto Blue Jays catcher Alejandro Kirk complete the AL infield. Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez is in the designated hitter spot, and Atlanta Braves batting champion Luis Arraez was named as the utility.

The San Diego Padres landed three players in the NL team, with Juan Soto named in the outfield, while Josh Bell took the DH slot and Brandon Drury is the utility.

Los Angeles Dodgers teammates Trea Turner (shortstop) and Mookie Betts (OF) made the cut, as did St Louis Cardinals duo Paul Goldschmidt (first base) and Nolan Arenado (third base).

The Philadelphia Phillies had both J.T. Realmuto (catcher) and Kyle Schwarber (OF), and New York Mets second-baseman Jeff McNeil completed the line-up.

Exciting Seattle Mariners youngster Julio Rodriguez has been rewarded for his spectacular rookie season as one of the three American League outfielders named as Silver Sluggers on Thursday.

Rodriguez, 21, had arguably the best rookie season since Aaron Judge finished MVP runner-up with his debut campaign for the New York Yankees back in 2017.

In 132 games, Rodriguez led all rookies with 28 home runs, and became the third rookie to ever tally at least 25 homers and 25 stolen bases in their first year. He is the fourth rookie outfielder to ever win a Silver Slugger, joining fellow Mariner Ichiro Suzuki (2001), three-time MVP Mike Trout (2012) and Judge (2017).

Likely this season's AL MVP, New York's Judge joined Rodriguez in the outfield to collect his third Silver Slugger, with Trout filling the third outfield spot. 

Texas Rangers first-baseman Nathaniel Lowe, Houston Astros second-baseman Jose Altuve, Cleveland Guardians third-baseman Jose Ramirez and Toronto Blue Jays catcher Alejandro Kirk complete the AL infield. Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez is in the designated hitter spot, and Atlanta Braves batting champion Luis Arraez was named as the utility.

The San Diego Padres landed three players in the NL team, with Juan Soto named in the outfield, while Josh Bell took the DH slot and Brandon Drury is the utility.

Los Angeles Dodgers teammates Trea Turner (shortstop) and Mookie Betts (OF) made the cut, as did St Louis Cardinals duo Paul Goldschmidt (first base) and Nolan Arenado (third base).

The Philadelphia Phillies had both J.T. Realmuto (catcher) and Kyle Schwarber (OF), and New York Mets second-baseman Jeff McNeil completed the line-up.

St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado joined an exclusive club Tuesday, when he was named a Gold Glove winner for the 10th consecutive season. 

Arenado has been the recipient of the Rawlings Gold Glove award in each of his 10 seasons in the major leagues. That streak ties Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki for the longest for any player at any position to start his career. 

Only Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson (third baseman, 16 straight) and Ozzie Smith (shortstop, 13 straight) and former Cardinals and New York Mets first baseman Keith Hernandez (11 straight) have longer streaks. 

Arenado ranked first among third basemen in double plays (42) and second in assists (283). He also ranked second in Defensive Runs Saved (19) and Outs Above Average (15), according to Fielding Bible. 

The Cleveland Guardians had four players win Gold Gloves, with pitcher Shane Bieber, second baseman Andres Gimenez, left fielder Steven Kwan and center fielder Myles Straw all receiving the honour for the first time.  

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts won his sixth Gold Glove, Braves pitcher Max Fried won his fourth in a row and New York Yankees utility player DJ LeMahieu took home his fourth. 

Jeremy Pena of the Houston Astros became the first rookie shortstop to win a Gold Glove.  

''I heard that today and I was in shock because I didn't know that was a thing,'' Pena said. ''But it's pretty cool.'' 

The Gold Glove Awards are voted on by 30 MLB managers and up to six coaches from each teams. They are not allowed to vote for players from their own team. 

Joe Musgrove was born in San Diego and has watched the Padres lose, lose and lose again against the Los Angeles Dodgers for his entire life.

When Musgrove was born in December 1992, the Dodgers had a 227-198 all-time lead in a regular season series in which they have never trailed. That gap has since increased to 509-418.

After returning to San Diego with the Padres in 2021, the pitcher has three losses and no wins in this matchup.

"Since I was a little kid, we've been getting beat up by the Dodgers," Musgrove said.

But on Saturday, that all changed, with Musgrove the starter as the Padres eliminated the best regular season Dodgers team of all from the NLDS.

San Diego had recovered from losing the first game of the series to the record-breaking 111-win Dodgers, leading 2-1 ahead of Game 4 at Petco Park.

However, through six and a half innings, it appeared LA would be recovering their hold over the Padres, ahead 3-0 in the middle of the seventh.

Then five hits and five runs in the bottom of that inning turned the tide, with Jake Cronenworth's go-ahead two-run single ultimately enough for a remarkable 5-3 win.

The Padres are going back to the NLCS for the first time since 1998 and are doing so having beaten a team who had swept their only previous postseason series in 2020 and dominated them 14-5 this year.

"These guys dominated us all year long, but we got hot at the right time," Musgrove added.

"And you see the unity in this group, this fan base.... we wanted to give it to these people so bad. It's a good feeling."

The Dodgers had been bidding to fulfil manager Dave Roberts' prediction of a World Series all year long, but they fell at the first hurdle in the playoffs.

"Shock factor, very high. Disappointment, very high. It's crushing," Roberts said afterwards.

"Each guy gave everything they had all year long, and [it was] a tremendous season. The great thing about baseball is the unpredictability, and the tough thing about it is the same thing.

"Nothing I can say is going to make it feel any better. Obviously we didn't expect to be in this position."

The San Diego Padres delivered an unbelievable five-run seventh-inning rally to progress to the NLCS for the first time in 24 years and end the Los Angeles Dodgers' record-breaking season prematurely.

The Padres had lost Game 1 of the NLDS and trailed 3-0 halfway through the seventh inning in Game 4 against the Dodgers, who have dominated them for the past decade and had notched a franchise-best 111-51 regular season.

But San Diego found a way in front of the largest crowd in Petco Park history, booking their maiden NLCS appearance since 1998, where they will take on the Philadelphia Phillies, after they beat the Atlanta Braves 8-3 on Saturday.

Jake Cronenworth delivered a go-ahead two-run single as the Padres rallied with five hits and five runs in the seventh inning after managing only four hits in six innings prior to that.

Freddie Freeman lined a two-run double in the third inning before Will Smith's seventh-inning sacrifice fly for Mookie Betts had put the Dodgers 3-0 up, the latter marking the first run the Padres bullpen had conceded all series.

San Diego responded in a crazy inning, with Austin Nola bouncing to the right side to plate Jurickson Profar, before Kim Ha-seong's left-field line drive drove in Trent Grisham to make it 3-2.

Juan Soto tied the game up with a shot into right field, before Jake Cronenworth's go-ahead two-run double turned the crowd raucous.

Closer Josh Hader struck out Freeman to clinch the win and slay the dragon from down the road at long last.

The defeat ended the campaign for the Dodgers, whose 111 regular-season wins were the fourth-most wins in MLB history and the most by a National League (NL) team since 1906.

Yankees facing elimination after Gonzalez walkoff

Oscar Gonzalez stole the show and the win for the Cleveland Guardians with a two-run single with two outs in the ninth inning to earn a 6-5 win over the New York Yankees and a 2-1 ALDS lead.

Gonzalez hit the walk-off shot when he lined a 1-2 pitch from Clarke Schmidt through the middle to bring home Stevan Kwan and Amed Rosario.

That came after the Yankees had rallied from an early 2-0 deficit as Aaron Judge snapped his postseason skid with a two-run home run. New York had carried a 5-3 lead into the ninth inning.

The Yankees bullpen flopped, meaning they are facing an early exit when the ALDS resumes on Sunday at Yankee Stadium.

Astros advance after Pena ends epic

Jeremy Pena blasted an 18th-inning solo shot to advance the Houston Astros to the ALCS for the sixth straight season, ending an epic 1-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners and completing the sweep.

Luis Garcia closed out six hours and 22 minutes of prolonged postseason action, after Pena sent Penn Murfee into the seats over left-center field with a 415-foot blast.

Mariners starting pitcher George Kirby had been brilliant with five strikeouts across seven innings, but Astros right-hander Lance McCullers Jr overcame illness to send down seven K's across six innings, while Houston's bullpen only allowed five hits and struck out 15.

The game was only the fourth to last 18 innings in MLB postseason history, and the first in postseason history to go scoreless through 17 innings. 

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts knows their remarkable regular season counts for nothing as they face elimination in the National League Division Series with the San Diego Padres.

The Padres took a 2-1 lead in the five-game series on Friday with a 2-1 win at Petco Park.

San Diego can clinch a place in the National League Championship Series with victory at the same venue on Saturday.

While the Padres had to come through a Wild Card series with the New York Mets, the Dodgers won the NL West and led the majors with 111 wins.

Asked about the contrast from dominating in the regular season to facing elimination, Roberts said: "It's where we're at. It was a very good regular season, but as we said before, none of that matters.

"We're in a five-game series against a very good ballclub that we're familiar with, and the team that plays the best baseball is going to win the series. And up to this point, they've played better than we have.

"I don't think the mentality changes [on Saturday]. It's certainly a game we have to win, win or go home. We're going to do everything we can to try to win a baseball game.

"So all hands on deck. And the core of this group has been in this position before, and we're going to approach it like it's the way it is.

"It's win or go home. We've got to play better baseball. When we do have opportunities to cash in, we've got to take advantage of them."

Padres manager Bob Melvin, meanwhile, is understandably desperate for his team to finish the job on Saturday and avoid having to play a series decider in Los Angeles.

"Pretty badly," Melvin said when asked how much he wanted to end the series in four games.

"I mean, you saw it out there. It was a pretty good atmosphere to play in. They had a big say in what went on today, too. It felt like the last couple innings there was so much momentum in the place that it was hard not to get it done.

"Obviously pitching was unbelievable tonight, but pretty much inspired the whole game. A lot of fun tonight. Be pretty similar probably tomorrow night, as well."

Trent Grisham's home run at the bottom of the fourth inning proved the decisive blow, the outfielder hitting his third homer of the postseason.

"I feel like hitting him in fourth, but he's doing well where he is, bottom of our order, is having a lot of production. We want to try to keep some consistency throughout. But he has the ability to do these things," Melvin said of Grisham.

"I think the thing that really is incredible is where he's gone to at the end of the season to where he is right now in the postseason.

"This is kind of who he is as a player, but it was a tough road getting there."

The record-setting Los Angeles Dodgers are on the brink of elimination from the MLB postseason after going down 2-1 to the San Diego Padres in Game 3 of the NLDS on Friday.

Jake Cronenworth's first-inning RBI and Trent Grisham's fourth-inning blast, his third of the playoffs, guided the Padres to a 2-1 series lead.

Josh Hader closed it out in the first postseason game with fans at Petco Park since 2006, striking out Chris Taylor and Trayce Thompson in the ninth inning to get the win.

The Dodgers finished the regular season with a franchise-best 111 wins, which was also the fourth-most wins in MLB history and the most by a National League (NL) team since 1906.

But Dave Roberts' side will need to stave off elimination in two games to progress to the NLCS, starting on Saturday at a likely rocking Petco Park.

The Padres went ahead early with Cronenworth's center-field base hit driving in Juan Soto, before some Manny Machado brilliance at third base closed out the third inning.

Grisham, who is hitting at .389 in the playoffs, blasted a solo shot over right field at the bottom of the fourth inning from Andrew Heaney to double the lead.

Thompson halved the deficit from Mookie Betts' sacrifice fly in the fifth inning, but the Padres bullpen got the job done again, with 39 outs for the series.

Hoskins and Harper blasts lead Phillies rout

The Philadelphia Phillies moved within one win of the NLCS after crushing world champions, the Atlanta Braves 9-1, fueled by third-inning blasts from Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper in their first home playoff game in 11 years.

The Phillies piled on six runs in the third inning, headlined by Hoskins ending his rut with a shot over left field, before Harper added two more with a homer over right-center field.

Harper, who is six-for-11 in this series, added an RBI double in the seventh inning before Nick Castellanos stayed hot at the next at-bat, driving in two more.

In-form Aaron Nola was exceptional on the mound for the Phillies, striking out six while giving up five hits and two walks in six-plus innings.

Bloops help Guardians down Yankees

The Cleveland Guardians squared up the ALDS with a 4-2 win in the 10th inning against the New York Yankees after back-to-back bloop hits.

Giancarlo Stanton had blasted a first-inning two-run homer but the Guardians rallied back with Amed Rosario's fifth-inning solo shot tying the game.

In the 10th inning, Jose Ramirez showed hustle to get to third base on a bloop into left-field, before getting home from Oscar Gonzalez's go-ahead single bloop to right-field. Josh Naylor's RBI double padded the lead.

The Guardians blunted Aaron Judge, who went none-for-five and was booed by the ruthless Yankees crowd, with starting pitcher Shane Bieber having seven K's across five-and-two-third innings.

Manny Machado hailed a "huge" win for the San Diego Padres after playing a starring role in levelling up the NLDS against the top-seeded Los Angeles Dodgers.

Home advantage at Petco Park beckons for the Padres in the third and fourth games, with the series tied at 1-1 after the early proceedings in LA.

The Dodgers had taken a 5-3 win in Game 1, but Bob Melvin's Padres came back a day later and flipped that scoreline in their favour to level the series.

Machado enjoyed silencing the Dodgers fans. He had a stint with Los Angeles in 2018 before joining up with the Padres, making him a target for some in the crowd.

"Any time you come to Dodger Stadium, you know the fans are going to be on you. Any time you go to any stadium, the fans are going to be on you," Machado said.

"That's the beauty of postseason baseball. That's why you want home field advantage. Coming here, taking one from them at their place and going back home now 1-1, being able to maybe even win it at home will be fun in front of our fans that deserve it."

Machado played a key role by 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.

Machado added: "[We're] going 1-1, going back home, so that's huge.

"We're going to compete. Ultimately at the end of the day we know that they're the division champs. They own the best record in baseball. They've played very well against us all year, but at the end of the day we're going to go out there and compete, and we're going to go out there and leave it on the field. We're going to try to do everything possible to help our team win every single day.

"We want to get to the World Series, we want to bring a championship to San Diego. Ultimately, the group is just getting together and just grinding this out."

With this National League Divisional Series tantalisingly poised following Wednesday's 5-3 win, manager Bob Melvin spoke of his anticipation of the next two games back in San Diego on Friday and Saturday, and what they would mean to fans of his team.

The Padres last reached a World Series in 1998, so the prospect of edging closer to that goal should ensure a feverish atmosphere. The double-header at home will be the Padres' first postseason games in front of their own fans since 2006.

"They've been waiting for this for a while, and they've supported us all year," Melvin said.

"The drama that took place during the regular season, I think we had 10, 12 walk-offs or something like that, that they were a big part of.

"They incentivise us. We feel like they're part of us. To be able to reward them, get home, and have some playoff games for them, it feels really nice."

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.

Gerrit Cole pitched brilliantly and Anthony Rizzo cracked the game-sealing home run as the New York Yankees defeated the Cleveland Guardians 4-1 in the first game of the ALDS on Tuesday.

Starting on the mound, Cole pitching six-and-a-third innings, giving up just one run off four hits and one walk, courtesy of a Steven Kwan home run in the third frame.

Harrison Bader replied for the Yankees later in the first inning, becoming the only Yankee to ever hit their first home run for the franchise in a playoff game, after being acquired at the deadline and struggling to find his power down the stretch.

Bader's 406-foot shot was the longest hit of the game, but the one that sent the Yankees fans into raptures came in the sixth inning.

After Jose Trevino's sacrifice-fly gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead, Rizzo came through with a runner on base in the sixth, connecting on a two-run home run to give New York some breathing room.

The Yankees' bullpen was rock solid, not allowing a baserunner in the final two innings to see out the game unscathed.

Likely AL MVP Aaron Judge had a poor outing, finishing with one walk and three strikeouts from his four at-bats, and Josh Donaldson was the only Yankee to register multiple hits, going two-for-two with a walk.

Phillies hang on by the narrowest of margins

The Philadelphia Phillies would have felt great going into the final inning of their Game 1 against the Atlanta Braves leading 7-3, but barely hung on for a 7-6 win after plenty of late drama.

Three RBIs from three Nick Castellanos hits and a pair of RBIs for Alec Bohm helped build a 7-1 Philadelphia lead in the fifth inning, but a two-run double from Travis d'Arnaud later in the fifth and three-run homer for Matt Olson in the ninth cut that lead to one.

Zach Eflin was the man entrusted with closing things out on the mound for the Phillies, but despite giving up three runs with only one out, the Phillies stuck with him, and he delivered the final two outs.

Dodgers ride early runs to Game 1 win

The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Diego Padres 5-3 in Game 1 of the NLDS, but they did not score a run after the third inning.

It looked like it would be a high-scoring contest after Trea Turner hit a home run as the first Dodgers batter of the game, and RBIs to Gavin Lux, Will Smith and Max Muncy had them up 5-0 through three frames.

But once Padres starter Mike Clevinger was removed, their bullpen proved to be impressively stout, pitching six-and-a-third innings of shutout baseball.

Ultimately, the early advantage proved to be enough, as the Padres grabbed three runs back in the fifth inning, but could not make any impression late as Chris Martin and Alex Vesia shut things down out of the Dodgers bullpen.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are heading into the playoffs on the right foot after a convincing 6-1 home win against the Colorado Rockies in their regular season finale on Wednesday.

With the win, the Dodgers finished the season 111-51, setting a new franchise record as they totaled the fourth-most wins in MLB history and the most by a National League (NL) team since 1906.

The NL record is held by the Chicago Cubs from 1906 with 116 wins. The Dodgers' 111-win season is the equal fourth best in MLB history.

It was a stylish final outing for Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, who gave up one run from one hit and one walk in his five innings, striking out nine batters. 

At the plate, Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman did all he could in his last-gasp attempt to win the National League batting title, going three-for-four with a home run to raise his batting average to .325 – finishing .001 behind the New York Mets' Jeff McNeil (.326).

Fellow All-Star Trea Turner also hit a home run for the Dodgers as he went two-for-four with three RBIs, and center-fielder Cody Bellinger collected a deep-ball of his own as five of the Dodgers' six runs scored via home runs.

The Dodgers will play the winner of the Wild Card game between the Mets and the San Diego Padres in the NLDS.

Arraez wins the AL batting title

Luis Arraez risked losing the American League (AL) batting title by suiting up in the Minnesota Twins' 10-1 win against the Chicago White Sox.

Arraez came into the day with the lead at .315, with his only threat, Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees at .311 and not playing on the final day.

But fittingly, Arraez did not record an out, collecting two walks and a double before being pulled. 

Incredibly, it is the third-best batting average from Arraez's four years in the league, posting a .334 in 2019 before going .321 on a small sample size in 2020. His 'down' year in 2021 was still a very strong .294.

Ohtani, Trout end the season in fitting fashion

As has been the story of their time with the Los Angeles Angels, both Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout were excellent, but could not stop their team from losing 3-2 against the Oakland Athletics.

Ohtani only gave up one run from one hit and one walk in his five innings on the mound, lowering his ERA for the season to a magnificent 2.33. It is the sixth-lowest ERA in the league, while he is also 11th in home runs hit with 34.

He went one-for-four with a single at the plate, while Trout hit his 40th home run of the season to finish tied for third in the majors. No other player in the top 15 has played fewer than 130 games, while Trout played 119.

In a feel-good story, after announcing his retirement, Oakland's Stephen Vogt hit a home run with his last ever swing on a day where his children were allowed to do his introduction over the PA system at the start of the game.

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.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have set a new franchise record for wins in a single season after notching their 107th victory of the MLB campaign against the San Diego Padres.

The California outfit posted a 1-0 victory over their neighbours at Petco Park on Wednesday to shatter their previous best of 106, set last year as they came home fifth in the National League (NL) West division.

This time around, the Dodgers sit top of the pile, with only last year's World Series runners-up, the Houston Astros, cracking the triple-digit mark for wins this term. The Dodgers can still better their new record, with seven regular season games to come.

Ex-NL MVP Freddie Freeman made the clutch play in the 10th inning for a career-high 192 hits this season to secure the win, delighting manager Dave Roberts.

"To know that we’ve made our mark on Dodgers history is pretty remarkable," he said. "A lot of people have their hands on this, not just this year but, kind of building where we’re at right now. It’s something to be proud of."

With the postseason looming, the Dodgers will be looking to ensure momentum ahead of a tilt for a second World Series title in three years.

Albert Pujols said reaching 700 home runs will be something he looks back on with pride at the end of his career after becoming the fourth man to reach the landmark against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday.

The St. Louis Cardinals great announced in March the 2022 season would be his last in baseball, but he appears set to go out with a bang after enjoying an incredible second half of the season.

Pujols entered Friday's game against the Dodgers, his former team, with 698 career homers to his name and brought up number 699 with a crashing 434-foot blast in the third inning. 

The 42-year-old soon had his milestone, picking out a similar spot in left-field to put the Cardinals 5-0 up.

Speaking after a big 11-0 win, Pujols said: "It's pretty special. When it's really going to hit me is when I'm done, at the end of the season, when I'm retired, and probably a moment or two after that I can look at the numbers.

"Look, don't get me wrong, I know what my place is in this game. But since day one, when I made my debut, it was never about numbers, it was never about chasing numbers.

"It was always about winning championships and trying to get better in this game. And I had so many people that taught me the right way early in my career, and that's how I've carried myself for 22 years that I've been in the big leagues. 

"That's why I really don't focus on the numbers. I will, one day, but not right now."

Only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) have now hit more MLB homers than Pujols, who felt no desire to try to reclaim the historic ball from the lucky fan who caught it. 

"Souvenirs are for the fans," Pujols said. "If they want to keep it, they can. At the end of the day, I don't focus on material stuff. I think I have the bat, the uniform, helmet, things that are special to me. 

"At the end of the day, I think that's why the fans come here – to have a special moment of history. So, if they want to keep that baseball I don't have any problem with that."

St Louis Cardinals legend Albert Pujols had a night he will never forget during Friday's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, becoming the fourth player to ever hit 700 home runs in their career.

Pujols, 42, came into the contest with 698 homers to his name after an incredible second half of the season, with eight home runs in August and now six more in September after totalling seven combined from the first four months.

He hit number 699 in the third inning from his second at-bat of the contest, crushing a two-run shot 434 feet over the left-field wall – longer than any home run he hit at this year's Home Run Derby.

There was no lengthy wait for 700, as it came in the very next inning. After Dodgers starting pitcher Andrew Heaney was pulled from the game, relief pitcher Phil Bickford got the dubious honour of pitching the memorable homer.

On a 1-1 count, after taking two sliders, the third pitch was another slider that Pujols did not miss, this time with a 389-foot shot to a similar spot in left-field to make the score 5-0. 

But the score was not relevant for his rival fans in Dodger Stadium, who rose in unison with baseball fans everywhere to celebrate the historic moment.

It was a fitting moment for Pujols, who played for the Dodgers last season when it appeared his best days were well and truly behind him, before deciding to go around one more time with the Cardinals, who he spent his first 11 seasons with.

In his past three injury-riddled seasons, Pujols hit 23 total home runs in 148 games. He now has 21 this season from 101 games.

Pujols' 700th home run now leaves him trailing only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) for the most all-time, putting an emphatic exclamation point on one of the best careers in the history of baseball.

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