The Texas Rangers rolled out an expensive but exciting new era with mega deals for star duo Corey Seager and Marcus Semien on Wednesday.

Texas mean business heading into the 2022 MLB season after splashing out $500million to lure championship winner and World Series MVP Seager, and All-Star Semien to the franchise.

The Rangers gave free agent Seager – a two-time All-Star and Silver Slugger with the Los Angeles Dodgers – a 10-year contract worth $325million.

After finishing third in the American League (AL) MVP race following his exploits for the Toronto Blue Jays, Semien signed a seven-year, $175m deal in Texas.

"How can you not be excited about that?" Seager said. "Not only the elite player, but he's an elite person who carries himself well. He's a great team-mate. There's not a bad word that you can say about Marcus.

"To be able to learn from somebody who's that talented and to take little things that he does in this game that I might not and be able to bounce off each other and to be up the middle here for a long time, it’s all very exciting."

Seager led the Dodgers to World Series glory in 2020 with a slash line of .328/.425/.746, while he was .297/.367/.504 as the Los Angeles franchise reached the National League Championship Series (NLCS) before losing to eventual winners the Atlanta Braves in 2021.

The 27-year-old shortstop finished the season with 16 homers and 54 runs on 108 hits, and 57 RBIs.

Semien enjoyed a stunning campaign for the Blue Jays, where he played all 162 games and slashed .265/.334/.538 en route to his first All-Star appearance, Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Awards.

The 31-year-old hit 45 homers – a single-season record for a primary second baseman, to go with 102 RBIs and 15 stolen bases in Toronto.

Semien finished third in AL MVP voting, behind winner Shohei Ohtani and former Blue Jays team-mate Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

"Marcus' reputation around the game is impeccable. He's a leader in every clubhouse he steps into, respected for the way he goes about his work and how he treats others," said Rangers president of baseball operations Jon Daniels.

"There are few players in the game who garner the level of respect that he does from team-mates and opponents alike. We're thrilled to add a player of his calibre to the organisation."

"We feel that Marcus is an excellent fit for the Rangers organisation from a talent, culture, and leadership standpoint," said Rangers executive vice president and general manager Chris Young. "Beyond his ability as a player, Marcus is an outstanding person who leads by example both on and off the field."

The Toronto Blue Jays kept the American League (AL) Wild Card race wide open after ending the New York Yankees' seven-game winning streak with an entertaining 6-5 victory on Wednesday.

Bo Bichette homered twice as the Blue Jays recovered from blowing a 4-0 lead after the Yankees tied the MLB clash up in the seventh inning midweek.

Bichette's second home run of the game, with scores tied at 5-5 at the bottom of the eighth inning, proved decisive, with the 23-year-old getting a curtain call.

The result improved the Blue Jays to 88-70 to be a game adrift of the second and final Wild Card berth, while the Yankees are 90-68 in the four-team race for two spots, alongside the Boston Red Sox (89-69) and the Seattle Mariners (89-70).

Earlier, Blue Jays star Marcus Semien hit his 44th home run of the season, meaning he has the most homers in a season by a primary second baseman in MLB history.

Bichette and Semien both ticked over 100 RBI for the season, meaning the Blue Jays are the first team with four players (Teoscar Hernandez and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.) with 100-plus RBI in a season since the Atlanta Braves in 2003.

 

Brewers thwarts Cardinals' winning run

The St Louis Cardinals' extraordinary winning streak ended at 17 games after a 4-0 defeat to the Milwaukee Brewers. The Cardinals secured their postseason berth on Tuesday with their 17th straight win but home runs from Daniel Vogelbach and Manny Pina earned the National League (NL) Central division winners the run-ending victory. St Louis' winning streak will go down as the third longest by any team in the expansion area, behind the Cleveland Indians (22 in 2017) and the Oakland Athletics (20 in 2002).

The Braves moved a step closer to securing the NL East title thanks to a 7-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies, with Dansby Swanson starring with a three-hit game including a two-run single in the seventh inning.

AL East champions the Tampa Bay Rays clinched top seed and home-field advantage via a 7-0 shutout of the Houston Astros aided by Ji-man Choi's three-run jack in the fifth inning. The victory also brought up the Rays' 98th for the season, setting a new franchise record.

World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers piled on five runs in the eighth inning to keep pace with the San Francisco Giants for NL seeding courtesy a come-from-behind 11-9 win over the San Diego Padres. The Giants stayed two games clear following a 1-0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Mariners stayed firmly in the AL Wild Card hunt with a 4-2 win over the Athletics. 

Reds season fizzles out

The Cincinnati Reds' promising season has petered out, with the NL Wild Card hopes officially over and a 6-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox underlined that. The Reds managed just four hits for the game, with their only run coming in the ninth inning.

 

Red Sox snap their skid

The Red Sox boosted their AL Wild Card aspirations as they ended their four-game losing span with a 6-0 triumph over the Baltimore Orioles. J.D. Martinez had three RBI, including a 444-foot home run, while Nathan Eovaldi had six scoreless innings and seven strikeouts on the mound.

 

Wednesday's results

Colorado Rockies 10-5 Washington Nationals
Chicago Cubs 3-2 Pittsburgh Pirates
Boston Red Sox 6-0 Baltimore Orioles
Toronto Blue Jays 6-5 New York Yankees
Miami Marlins 3-2 New York Mets
Atlanta Braves 7-2 Philadelphia Phillies
Minnesota Twins 5-2 Detroit Tigers
Milwaukee Brewers 4-0 St Louis Cardinals
Los Angeles Angels 7-2 Texas Rangers
Kansas City Royals 10-5 Cleveland Indians
Tampa Bay Rays 7-0 Houston Astros
Chicago White Sox 6-1 Cincinnati Reds
San Francisco Giants 1-0 Arizona Diamondbacks
Seattle Mariners 4-2 Oakland Athletics
Los Angeles Dodgers 11-9 San Diego Padres

 

Yankees at Blue Jays

On Thursday, the Blue Jays host rivals the Yankees for the penultimate time in their series in a critical game for the AL Wild Card race. After that, Toronto face the Orioles, while the Yankees meet the Rays.

Max Scherzer continued his dominance in Cincinnati, tossing down seven strikeouts as the Los Angeles Dodgers won 5-1 over the Reds in MLB on Saturday.

Scherzer allowed only two hits and had two walks across seven innings in the win which slows the Reds' National League (NL) Wild Card pursuit.

The Dodgers right-hander has a 0.33 ERA in his four starts in Cincinnati and he maintained that form as he continues to be a leading contender for the NL Cy Young Award.

"I just had a good feel for it today," Scherzer said after the game. "Every pitch plays off each other. Every pitch makes every other pitch better."

The win, which boosts the Dodgers' hopes for finishing top in the NL West division ahead of the San Francisco Giants, was set up after Gavin Lux's fifth-inning two-run triple.

 

Brewers lock in postseason berth

The Milwaukee Brewers secured their place in the postseason for the fourth consecutive season with a 6-4 win over the Chicago Cubs.

Josh Hader finished the job with two Ks in the ninth inning after Corbin Burnes had 11 strikeouts across six innings. Manny Pina homered twice, including the go-ahead blast in the eighth inning.

Milwaukee joins the Giants and the Dodgers in already qualifying for the playoffs.

Giancarlo Stanton hit his 30th home run of the season but it was only consolation as the New York Yankees were beaten 11-3 by the Cleveland Indians.

Xander Bogaerts crushed a three-run homer to left-center field as the Boston Red Sox defeated the Baltimore Orioles 9-3.

A three-run first inning helped the Oakland Athletics boost their Wild Card aspirations with a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels whose only run came from Shohei Ohtani.

 

Padres on the slide

Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis were involved a dugout flare-up as the San Diego Padres lost 3-2 to the St Louis Cardinals further denting their postseason hopes. The Padres insisted it was not infighting, but instead leadership from Machado trying to get Tatis to move on from being called out on strikes. Either way, the Padres have now lost seven of their past nine games and are sliding out of playoffs contention.

 

Semien reaches 40 HR mark

Marcus Semien brought up his 40th home run of the season, crushing a fourth inning fastball into left field. The homer helped the Toronto Blue Jays turn a 2-0 deficit into a 6-2 win over the Minnesota Twins. Semien joins Vladimir Guerrero, Salvador Perez and Shohei Ohtani in reaching the 40-mark, while he is within three home runs of equaling the record for a second baseman in one season.

 

Saturday's results 

Cleveland Indians 11-3 New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox 9-3 Baltimore Orioles
Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 Cincinnati Reds
Toronto Blue Jays 6-2 Minnesota Twins
Colorado Rockies 6-0 Washington Nationals
Detroit Tigers 4-3 Tampa Bay Rays
Pittsburgh Pirates 6-3 Miami Marlins
Texas Rangers 2-1 Chicago White Sox
Arizona Diamondbacks 6-4 Houston Astros
Kansas City Royals 8-1 Seattle Mariners
Milwaukee Brewers 6-4 Chicago Cubs
St Louis Cardinals 3-2 San Diego Padres
Philadelphia Phillies 5-3 New York Mets 
San Francisco Giants 2-0 Atlanta Braves
Oakland Athletics 3-1 Los Angeles Angels

 

Padres at Cardinals

The Cardinals (78-69) and the Padres (76-72) will meet again with both pressing their respective cases for the second NL Wild Card spot.

The Tampa Bay Rays rallied from six runs down to beat American League (AL) East rivals the Boston Red Sox 11-10.

In a wild showdown on Monday, Austin Meadows hit a game-tying inside-the-park homer in the ninth inning before Nelson Cruz's go-ahead single in the 10th completed the comeback.

Despite Chris Sale starting for the Red Sox, AL East leaders the Rays recorded their MLB-leading 43rd come-from-behind victory of the season, having trailed 7-1.

The highest scoring team in the majors in 2021, Tampa Bay had been 0-70 all-time when trailing by six runs or more against the Red Sox.

"That's the biggest win of the year, for sure," Meadows said afterwards. "All year we just find a way."

Tampa Bay's Wander Franco finished with four hits as the 20-year-old rookie extended his historic on-base streak to 36 games, tying Mickey Mantle's AL record set in 1951-52 for the most consecutive times by a player under 21. Frank Robinson set the MLB-league mark of 43 in 1956.

The Rays (87-51) are eight and a half games clear of the New York Yankees (78-59) atop the AL East, while the Red Sox (79-61) are nine games behind following consecutive defeats.

 

Scherzer stars, Guerrero and Semien make history as Jays stay hot

Max Scherzer struck out 13 batters to lead World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers past the St Louis Cardinals 5-1. In a dominant eight-inning start, Dodgers ace Scherzer allowed one unearned run with no walks. The Cy Young candidate is 5-0 with a 1.05 ERA and 63 strikeouts in seven starts since his trade to the Dodgers.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit his 40th home run of the season as the in-form Toronto Blue Jays routed the Yankees 8-0. The 22-year-old All-Star became the youngest Blue Jays hitter to reach 40 homers in a season and one of just 10 in franchise history, while he and his Hall of Fame father Vladimir Guerrero are one of only two father-son duos to hit 40 home runs, along with Price Fielder and Cecil Fielder. Meanwhile, Marcus Semien delivered a grand slam in the ninth inning as he set the franchise record for most home runs (37) by a middle infielder in a single season.

The Texas Rangers blanked the Los Angeles Angels 4-0 behind A.J. Alexy. He pitched six innings and allowed one hit after going five innings, while allowing one hit in his first career start. According to Stats Perform, Alexy is the first rookie in the modern era to go five-plus innings and allow one or fewer hits in each of his first two career starts.

 

Astros get on top of Kikuchi

Yusei Kikuchi had a rough outing in the Seattle Mariners' 11-2 demolition at the hands of the Houston Astros. He allowed 3 three hits, six runs – four earned, four walks and a homer in just 1.2 innings of work.

The Blue Jays roughed up Yankees starter Jameson Taillon, who finished with three hits, three runs, two walks and a pair of homers in 7.0 innings pitched.

 

Segura hits memorable slam

Jean Segura launched the first grand slam of his career as the Philadelphia Phillies trounced the Milwaukee Brewers 12-0. Bryce Harper also homered as part of a six-homer display by the Phillies.

 

 

Monday's results 

Tampa Bay Rays 11-10 Boston Red Sox
Kansas City Royals 3-2 Baltimore Orioles
Washington Nationals 4-3 New York Mets
Toronto Blue Jays 8-0 New York Yankees
Pittsburgh Pirates 6-3 Detroit Tigers
Philadelphia Phillies 12-0 Milwaukee Brewers
Chicago Cubs 4-3 Cincinnati Reds
San Francisco Giants 10-5 Colorado Rockies
Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 St Louis Cardinals
Minnesota Twins 5-2 Cleveland Indians
Houston Astros 11-2 Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers 4-0 Los Angeles Angels

 

Rays at Red Sox

The Rays (87-51) will look to claim back-to-back wins when they visit the Red Sox (79-61) on Tuesday. Rays ace Drew Rasmussen will take to the mound, while Eduardo Rodriguez starts for the Red Sox.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. made history with the Toronto Blue Jays after homering in an 8-0 demolition of MLB rivals the New York Yankees.

Guerrero Jr. hit his 40th home run of the season as the in-form Blue Jays routed the Yankees on Monday to further boost their Wild Card chances.

The 22-year-old All-Star became the youngest Blue Jays hitter to reach 40 homers in a season and one of just 10 in franchise history, while he and his Hall of Fame father Vladimir Guerrero are one of only two father-son duos to hit 40 home runs, along with Price Fielder and Cecil Fielder.

"I have front-row seats to watch this whole season," said Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo, who was a team-mate of Vladimir Guerrero Sr. with double-A Harrisburg in 1996.

"What he's done, that's not easy to do. This guy he's going to be one of the best players in baseball. Actually, he already is and it's been fun to watch somebody that young be that good at the plate."

Guerrero Jr. is also on a career-high 14-game hit streak with the Blue Jays, who have won five straight games to be three games adrift in the American League (AL) Wild Card race.

The 2021 All-Star boasts a .414 batting average, 1.090 OPS, four homers and nine RBIs during that run.

Guerrero Jr. became the 10th player in MLB history with 40 homers in his age-22 season, and first since Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr. in 2019.

"That's amazing," Blue Jays team-mate Marcus Semien said. "I knew when we took BP, it was a good day to hit to right field. He didn't hit on the field but I mentioned that to him. He's so good he did it in his first at-bat. It's something special."

It was also a special outing for Semien against the slumping Yankees in New York, where he launched his 36th and 37th home runs of the season.

Semien delivered a grand slam in the ninth inning as he set the franchise record for most home runs by a middle infielder in a single season.

"For me, when my mechanics and timing are sound, I think I see the ball better and I'm more confident," Semien said. "I'm seeing that with everybody in the cage when they work. This time of year, you really get a good feel for what you're doing. You see the results."

The San Francisco Giants reclaimed the National League (NL) West lead with a dramatic 3-2 walk-off victory over rivals and World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Sole possession of top spot was on the line as the Giants and Dodgers clashed in a heavyweight MLB showdown in San Francisco on Friday.

The score was deadlocked at 2-2 until a bizarre walk-off throwing error lifted the Giants past the Dodgers in the 11th inning.

With the bases loaded in the 11th and two outs, Buster Posey appeared to have hit an inning-ending groundout, but Trea Turner's throw went wide of Will Smith, whose toe came off the bag.

Posey was initially ruled safe, and it stayed that way despite a lengthy Dodgers (85-50) review – the Giants (86-49) moving back to the top of the NL West again.

 

Comeback of the year?

The Toronto Blue Jays emerged from the jaws of defeat in stunning fashion, somehow conquering the Oakland Athletics 11-10. Toronto – chasing the last Wild Card spot – trailed 8-2 entering the eighth inning at home to fellow playoff hopefuls the A's. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit a game-tying grand slam after a two-out rally. Mark Canha's two-run homer restored Oakland's advantage in the top of the ninth, but Marcus Semien delivered an incredible walk-off three-run homer in the bottom of the inning. Gurriel became just the third Blue Jays player ever to hit three grand s lams in a season after Edwin Encarnacion (2015) and Darrin Fletcher (2000).

The Detroit Tigers lit up the Cincinnati Reds 15-5 behind Dustin Garneau's two-run homer and solo shot, plus Robbie Grossman's three-run blast.

Kyle Schwarber hit a lead-off homer in the opening inning to fuel the Boston Red Sox's 8-5 victory at home to the Cleveland Indians. Hunter Renfroe added a three-run homer for the Red Sox, who have won three straight games.

 

Keuchel's woes continue

Dallas Keuchel struggled again as the Chicago White Sox went down 7-2 to the Kansas City Royals. Keuchel allowed six runs in three innings – the 2015 American League (AL) Cy Young winner has a 7.26 ERA through his past 11 starts. He gave up five earned runs, seven hits and two walks with just one strikeout against the Royals.

 

Arenado homers twice as Wainwright and Molina celebrate milestone

St Louis Cardinals star Nolan Arenado recorded his 21st multi-homer game since entering the majors in 2013 – tied for the second most alongside Bryce Harper in the NL in that span, behind Giancarlo Stanton (22). The Cardinals crushed the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers 15-4. Cardinals team-mates Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina started together for the 300th time – the fourth most prolific battery in history.

 

Friday's results 

Chicago Cubs 6-5 Pittsburgh Pirates
New York Yankees 4-3 Baltimore Orioles
New York Mets 6-2 Washington Nationals
Toronto Blue Jays 11-10 Oakland Athletics
Boston Red Sox 8-5 Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers 15-5 Cincinnati Reds
Tampa Bay Rays 5-3 Minnesota Twins
Miami Marlins 10-3 Philadelphia Phillies
Kansas City Royals 7-2 Chicago White Sox
St Louis Cardinals 15-4 Milwaukee Brewers
Colorado Rockies 4-3 Atlanta Braves
Los Angeles Angels 3-2 Texas Rangers
Seattle Mariners 6-5 Arizona Diamondbacks
Houston Astros 6-3 San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants 3-2 Los Angeles Dodgers

 

A's at Blue Jays

With both teams vying for a Wild Card berth, the Blue Jays (71-62) and Athletics (74-61) will continue their series on Saturday. Jose Berrios will start for the Blue Jays as the A's counter with Paul Blackburn.

Toronto Blue Jays sensation Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani and Fernando Tatis Jr. of the San Diego Padres headline the starters for the 2021 MLB All-Star Game.

The starters for the upcoming All-Star Game, scheduled for July 13 at Coors Field – home of the Colorado Rockies, were revealed after two rounds of fan voting on Thursday.

Guerrero (aged 22 years and 119 days) will be the youngest Blue Jays player to start an All-Star Game, while he is also the youngest player to start at first base since George Scott in 1966.

Son of an MLB Hall of Famer, Guerrero is only second to Ohtani (28) for home runs this season with 26, while he leads the majors in RBI (66), on-base percentage (.442), OPS (1.117) and three-plus hit games (11 – level with Trea Turner).

Ohtani, 26, is set to become the first Japanese-born player to start an All-Star Game since Ichiro Suzuki in 2010.

The Angels' Ohtani has the most homers this season, while he owns a 3.60 ERA and 83 strikeouts across 60 innings on the mound.

As for Tatis, the 22-year-old shortstop will be the youngest player to start for the Padres in an All-Star Game.

Tatis entered Thursday's action leading MLB with an incredible .705 slugging percentage, while leading the National League (NL) in homers.

Elsewhere, Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers will become the first shortstop/third base combo in Boston Red Sox history to start the All-Star Game.

Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr. will join Eddie Matthews as the player in franchise history to start multiple All-Star Games before turning 24, while Nick Castellanos and Jesse Winker will give the Cincinnati Reds multiple outfield starters for the first time since 1956.

 

All-Star Game starters:

American League

C: Salvador Perez (Kansas City Royals)
2B: Marcus Semien (Toronto Blue Jays)
3B: Rafael Devers (Boston Red Sox)
SS: Xander Bogaerts (Boston Red Sox)
OF: Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels) 
OF: Aaron Judge (New York Yankees)
OF: Teoscar Hernandez (Toronto Blue Jays) 

National League

C: Buster Posey (San Francisco Giants)
1B: Freddie Freeman (Atlanta Braves)
2B: Adam Frazier (Pittsburgh Pirates)
3B: Nolan Arenado (St Louis Cardinals)
OF: Ronald Acuna Jr. (Atlanta Braves)
OF: Nick Castellanos (Cincinnati Reds)
OF: Jesse Winker (Cincinnati Reds)

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