Juan Soto made history with his 100th career home run in the Washington Nationals' 16-4 loss to world champions, the Atlanta Braves, on Tuesday.

Soto, 23, became the youngest player in franchise history to reach 100 career home runs with a moon shot at the top of the sixth inning.

The homer, which travelled 451 feet according to Statcast to right-center field, was the fourth longest of his career.

"It just comes to me. I never tried to hit a homer, or anything like that," Soto told reporters. "I’m one of the guys who just tries to hit singles every day. So for me to become consistent hitting homers, it’s just impressive and it tells how good I’ve been working on my body and everything."

Soto is the seventh active player to blast 100 homers at age 23 or younger, having first homered as a 19-year-old in 2018.

The Braves ultimately got the win after 10 runs in three innings to open up a 10-1 lead after four innings, but Soto finished with two hits, one run, one walk and one RBI.

Ozzie Albies, who finished with three hits, two runs and three RBIs, blasted his first homer of the 2022 season in the fourth inning.

With his one hit and two walks in the Cleveland Guardians' 10-7 away win against the Kansas City Royals, rookie Steven Kwan broke a record that dates back to the early days of baseball.

He became the first player since at least 1901 to reach base 15 times in his first four career games, after also setting the record for most times on-base in his first three games with 12.

While personal accomplishments are always nice, Kwan's record-breaking moment came at the biggest stage in the game as his side led 6-5 in the top of the eighth inning, with two outs and the bases loaded.

Up stepped Kwan with a chance to ice the game, and he did so, sending his hit deep into the right corner of the outfield for a bases-clearing triple to put his side up 9-5 with only six more outs needed to end the game.

It was a less impressive outing for Royals AL Rookie of the Year favorite Bobby Witt Jr, who went hitless in his four at-bats, but scored a run when he walked in the ninth inning and was brought around by an Andrew Benintendi consolation home run.

By the end of Monday's game, Kwan is yet to swing and miss at a pitch in his Major League career, after not striking out at all in Spring Training.

 

Mets meltdown

It was a classic New York Mets meltdown in their 5-4 loss against the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Mets played a near-flawless first seven frames, leading 4-0 going into the eighth inning after Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor, Mark Canha and Eduardo Escobar batted in runs.

But everything fell apart in the eighth inning as the Phillies collected five hits – including a home run from J.T. Realmuto – to score five runs in the inning and set the table for Brad Hand to close the show with a save.

 

Yankees get shutout 

In a highly-anticipated matchup between World Series contenders and divisional foes, the Toronto Blue Jays shutout the New York Yankees 3-0 to win the opening game of their four-game series.

Blue Jays starting pitcher Alek Manoah was at the top of his game, pitching six innings and giving up just one hit and four walks to go with seven strikeouts.

All three runs were batted in by leadoff hitter George Springer, who hit a two-run home run in the third inning and a RBI double in the seventh.

A Bobby Dalbec solo home run propelled the Boston Red Sox to a 4-3 win over the New York Yankees on Sunday, avoiding a season-opening sweep against their fierce rivals.

Boston blew multi-run leads in the opening two games of the series and did so again on Sunday. This time, the Red Sox rallied back, with Dalbec homering off Yankees reliever Clarke Schmidt for his first of the season.

New York's Anthony Rizzo tied the game at three with a two-run single, scoring Yankees newcomers Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Jose Trevino.

Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton continued good starts to the season overall, with the former hitting and walking twice, while the latter getting three hits.

The Red Sox ended an eight-game regular-season losing streak against the Yankees, not including their win in last season's American League wild card game. The two do not face each other again until July.

Ramos starts off strong for the Giants

Heliot Ramos had two hits and scored a run in his major league debut as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Miami Marlins 3-2.

Ramos, the 19th pick in the 2017 draft, was called up from Triple-A ball before the game and was greeted with a standing ovation as he walked up to the plate.

He promptly singled and scored on a Mauricio Dubon RBI double, who scored the decisive run in the third inning after a throwing error by Miami pitcher Trevor Rogers.

Bregman and Urquidy lift Astros over the Angels

The Houston Astros continued their strong start to the MLB season, securing a 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

Alex Bregman and Jose Urquidy led the way for the Astros, with Bregman putting them ahead via a two-run single in the fifth, while Urquidy notched up four hits over five innings.

Reigning American League MVP Shohei Ohtani broke his one-for-14 start to the season, smashing a double that sent Tyler Wade to third base.

Sunday's results

Philadelphia Phillies 1-4 Oakland Athletics
Tampa Bay Rays 8-0 Baltimore Orioles
Detroit Tigers 1-10 Chicago White Sox
Atlanta Braves 3-6 Cincinnati Reds
Washington Nationals 4-2 New York Mets
Toronto Blue Jays 6-12 Texas Rangers
Kansas City Royals 3-17 Cleveland Guardians
Minnesota Twins 10-4 Seattle Mariners
Saint Louis Cardinals 4-9 Pittsburgh Pirates
Chicago Cubs 4-5 Milwaukee Brewers
Colorado Rockies 9-4 Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants 3-2 Miami Marlins
Los Angeles Angels 1-4 Houston Astros
Arizona Diamondbacks 5-10 San Diego Padres
New York Yankees 3-4 Boston Red Sox

Guardians at Royals

The Cleveland Guardians will be looking to gain momentum after their rout of Kansas City on Sunday, where rookie Steven Kwan managed five hits.

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.

Aaron Judge said the New York Yankees are one of 30 teams he will talk to when he becomes a free agent at the end of the season.

Judge made the confession in an explosive post-game interview after the Yankees defeated the Boston Red Sox 6-5 in extra innings on Friday.

He had two hits from five at-bats in the win, including a double, but the 2017 AL Rookie of the Year may not remain with the team following this season after failing to agree on an extension prior to Opening Day.

While there is no rule to say Judge and the Yankees have to cease contract talks during the season, Judge himself imposed the cut-off date of Opening Day, saying he does not want the distraction during the season.

As well as his long-term extension, Judge and the Yankees are also at odds about his salary for his season, and due to MLB's rules – which stipulate players during their 'service years' receive a salary offer which can be negotiated through third-party arbitration – it may be an issue that is resolved in the courtroom.

Speaking with post-game media, Judge did not hold back about his disappointment with the way things have been handled.

"I'm just disappointed, because I have been vocal about wanting to be a Yankee for life," he said.

"I want to bring a championship back to New York. I want to do it for the fans here – this is home for me – and I'm not getting that done right now."

He later added: "At the end of the year, I'm a free agent – I will talk to 30 teams, and the Yankees will be one of those 30 teams. 

"It's always nice to try to wrap something up sooner, the better. But we weren't able to get it done and it's on to baseball."

In an eyebrow-raising move, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman disclosed his club's contract offer to Judge when talking to reporters earlier in the day, saying the star was offered a seven-year, $213million deal.

When questioned about it, Judge was not interested in discussing specifics.

"I don't like talking numbers," he said. "I like to keep that private – something I kind of felt like was private between my team and the Yankees.

"I'm a ballplayer. [Cashman] has a job to do, and I can't control that… it didn't take me by surprise; there's nothing to get upset about. 

"It's business. It's a side of the sport that I love to play. In business, anything can happen, so you got to roll with it."

Touching on potential arbitration for this season, Judge said he does not want to get into a situation where both parties are presenting arguments to discredit the other.

"We're prepared for both [situations]," he said. 

"Nobody likes going in that courtroom. I don't really think it's good for both sides, because they say some stuff that I wouldn't want to hear, and we say some stuff they don't want to hear. 

"I think if we can avoid it at all cost, that'd be great. But myself and our team, we're ready for either way to go."

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 New York Yankees will bring back Aaron Boone after re-signing the manager on a new three-year deal, despite another unsuccessful MLB season.

Boone has led the storied franchise to the postseason in all four seasons in charge at Yankee Stadium, although they have not reached the World Series during his tenure, creating doubt about his future.

The Yankees – who have not won the World Series since 2009 – bowed out of the 2021 postseason in the American League (AL) Wild Card Game to bitter rivals the Boston Red Sox after finishing third in the AL East with a 92-70 record.

But the Yankees are sticking with Boone in a deal that includes a club option for 2025, they announced on Tuesday.

"We have a person and manager in Aaron Boone who possesses the baseball acumen and widespread respect in our clubhouse to continue to guide us forward," Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said in a statement.

"As a team and as an organisation, we must grow, evolve and improve. We need to get better. Period.

"I know Aaron fully embraces our expectations of success, and I look forward to drawing on his intelligence, instincts and leadership in pursuit of our next World Series championship."

Under Boone, the 27-time World Series champions have twice lost the AL Division Series (ALDS) in 2018 and 2020 and once the AL Championship Series (ALCS) in 2019, along with this season's Wild Card defeat.

Boone has compiled a 328-218 managerial record with the Yankees. The 48-year-old is only the second manager in MLB history to reach the playoffs in each of his first four managerial seasons.

"I think I can help lead us to the top. That's why I'm here. That's why I came back," Boone said. "Ultimately, though, the proof will be in the pudding."

The last Yankees manager allowed a fifth season in charge without having won the World Series was Miller Huggins in 1922.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said: "We want more and we expect more.

He added: "If he was entering the free-agent market, I believe he'd be the number one managerial candidate in baseball. There's a number of different vacancies, and we would be going to market looking for someone like him."

Aaron Boone will be "at peace" regardless of what decision is made over his future with the New York Yankees following their Wild Card loss to the Boston Red Sox.

The Yankees saw their 2021 season come to an end at the hands of their arch-rivals with a 6-2 defeat at Fenway Park on Tuesday.

It means Boone has reached the postseason in each of his four years as Yankees manager, winning 60 per cent of his regular-season games, but has failed to guide them to the World Series. The Yankees lost to the Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series in 2019.

Boone's postseason streak is impressive, yet it remains to be seen whether it will be satisfactory to keep him in the dugout for the franchise with the loftiest expectations in baseball, the Yankees having won 27 World Series titles during their prestigious history.

He is out of contract and, asked in his post-game media conference when he expects the situation to be addressed, Boone replied: "I don't know. I have no idea. We'll see.

"I mean, obviously you know, my contract is up, and you know, I haven't had any conversations with anyone about that. So, we'll see. I love being here. I love going to work with this group and love going to work with this group of players. But you know, we'll see."

Only one other manager has reached the postseason in the first four seasons of their career, Mike Matheny doing so with the St. Louis Cardinals between 2012 and 2015.

Pressed on if he felt it would be unfair of the Yankees not to bring him back, Boone said: "I mean, look, all I can say is that I love doing this, I love doing this with this group. I felt incredibly supported from the organisation and ownership and Cash [GM Brian Cashman] and front office and on down.

"Whatever happens moving forward, you know, I'll be at peace with. I walk out of here tonight proud of what a lot of people have done here since I've been here.

"And it's a group and a shared effort, and I love going to battle with all these guys, players, coaches, support staff, front office. So, we'll see what happens on that front. But whatever does happen, I'm at peace with and I know that I can hold my head high."

The Yankees won nine of their final 12 regular-season games to clinch a Wild Card berth and Boone felt their efforts in achieving that feat made the abrupt nature of their postseason exit harder to take. 

"Cruel. I mean, it is," said Boone when asked to describe the Yankees' elimination. "Can't overemphasise how many people pour so much into giving ourselves a chance to compete for something special, and you make it to the postseason – sometimes around here that maybe is taken for granted. You can't take that for granted. The opportunity to compete in the postseason is special.

"And, you know, you had to do some good things to get to this point and give yourselves an opportunity. And when it ends so abruptly after – really, the preparation never ends, that nine, 10, 11-month cycle that you're prepared to get to this point to give yourself an opportunity.

"The ending is really cruel, but there's nothing better than competing for something meaningful."

Alex Cora praised the calm of Nathan Eovaldi as he put his previous performance against the New York Yankees to bed to lead the Boston Red Sox to victory in their Wild Card clash.

Eovaldi was given the start on the mound at Fenway Park on Tuesday as the most famous rivals in baseball squared off for a place in the American League Division Series.

That meant Eovaldi dispelling memories of 11 days prior when he gave up seven runs on seven hits in an 8-3 loss to the Yankees in a series in which New York claimed a critical sweep to propel them to the Wild Card game.

Eovaldi lasted fewer than three innings in that game, which saw him fail to strike out a single hitter and issue two walks.

He was at his best when it mattered most in the postseason opener, however, pitching a shutout through five innings and striking out eight Yankees before being removed by manager Cora in the sixth following a home run from Anthony Rizzo.

His display laid the platform for the bullpen to finish the job, as the Red Sox clinched a 6-2 victory.

"He's so calm. When he shows up to the ballpark, he's the same guy when he pitches and when he doesn't. He was waiting for this one," Cora said of Eovaldi in his post-game media conference. 

"They [the Yankees] did an amazing job on Friday [September 24]. They took some pitches away, they hunted pitches in certain spots, and they did damage. Like I said, we learned a lot from that.

"He's just a great person. He's not only a great pitcher but he's a great person. He cares about everybody; the way he goes about it in the training room, in the weight room, when he doesn't pitch, he's a plus. We had the right guy on the mound today."

The Red Sox now face the challenge of taking on another AL East rival, the Tampa Bay Rays, in the ALDS.

Tampa Bay finished the regular season 100-62, the third-best record in baseball and the best in the American League.

"Now we go to the next one, and we've just got to be ready to face a great baseball team," added Cora. 

"Probably coming into the season, everybody talked about them being the best team in the big leagues, and we have a huge challenge. But we're ready for it."

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 Boston Red Sox will make a gameday decision on slugger J.D. Martinez's availability for Tuesday's American League Wild Card game against the New York Yankees.

All-Star Martinez sprained his left ankle in a freak injury in Sunday's 7-5 win over the Washington Nationals which confirmed the Red Sox's postseason berth.

The 34-year-old suffered the sprain when he tripped on the second-base bag as he ran out to play right field.

"He's getting treatment," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. "We'll probably have to make a decision tomorrow morning [Tuesday morning] roster-wise.

"Of course, let's see how he reacts to treatment and everything that they are doing to him in there. We don't know yet.”

Martinez is hitting .286 with 28 home runs and is equal top for MLB doubles, with 42. He has 99 RBIs, 92 runs and an .867 OPS in the majors this season.

Opposition Yankees manager Aaron Boone was preparing for Martinez to play in the win-or-go-home contest.

"Obviously, he's a great hitter," Boone said. “That's an important cog in a really good offense that wouldn't be available.

"But they can also mix and match other ways that make it difficult as well so I would imagine he would be in there."

The Red Sox must submit their roster to the MLB by 10am Eastern Time on Tuesday.

The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will meet in the American League (AL) Wild Card showdown after winning late to deny the Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners.

Four teams were vying for two AL Wild Card berths on a chaotic finale to the MLB's regular season, with the possibility of a four-way tie.

While the Mariners went down to the Los Angeles Angels 7-3, the Blue Jays crushed the lowly Baltimore Orioles 12-4 to give themselves a chance of forcing a Game 163 as they watched the Yankees and Red Sox contests anxiously.

But the Yankees and Red Sox produced two clutch hits to secure their spot in the play-offs.

Aaron Judge drove home the winning run in the ninth inning of the Yankees' 1-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, while the Red Sox overturned a 5-1 deficit to trump the Washington Nationals 7-5 behind Rafael Devers' two-run homer in the ninth.

 

Giants win NL West on final day

The San Francisco Giants clinched the National League (NL) West title for the first time since 2012 with a 11-4 rout of the San Diego Padres. San Francisco denied World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers thanks to their franchise-record 107th victory of the season, eclipsing the 1904 New York team. The Dodgers topped the Milwaukee Brewers 10-3 to settle for an NL Wild Card meeting with the St Louis Cardinals.

Blue Jays star Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (48) – alongside Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals – and Padres sensation Fernando Tatis Jr. (42) ended the regular season as the home run leaders in their respective leagues. It is the first time in AL-NL history both leagues were led by players aged 22 or younger thanks to Guerrero and Tatis.

Dodgers star Trea Turner became the first NL player to lead the league in hits in back-to-back seasons since Terry Pendleton in 1991 and 1992. On the back of his second grand slam in 48 hours, Turner finished with 195 hits. He also won the NL batting title (.328), ahead of Washington's Juan Soto. Yuli Gurriel (.319) of the Houston Astros claimed the AL title.

Corbin Burnes became the first Brewers pitcher to earn an ERA title, having topped the NL at 2.43, beating Dodgers starters Max Scherzer (2.46) and Walker Buehler (2.47) to the honour. Toronto's Robbie Ray (2.84) led the AL's ERA standings.

 

Injury worries

The Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers all have injury concerns heading into the Wild Card round. Yankees star DJ LeMahieu landed on the injured list due to a hip/groin problem ahead of Sunday's game. Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez exited in the sixth inning with a sprained left ankle. Meanwhile, Dodgers slugger Max Muncy is "very unlikely" to feature in the NL Wild Card Game because of a left elbow injury sustained in the third inning.

 

Guerrero breaks record

Having earned a share of the AL home run title, Guerrero made history. His 48 homers are the most in a season by a player aged 22 or younger, eclipsing Eddie Matthews (47 in 1953).

 

 

Sunday's results

Los Angeles Angels 7-3 Seattle Mariners
Boston Red Sox 7-5 Washington Nationals
Cincinnati Reds 6-3 Pittsburgh Pirates
Cleveland Indians 6-0 Texas Rangers
San Francisco Giants 11-4 San Diego Padres
New York Yankees 1-0 Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays 12-4 Baltimore Orioles
Arizona Diamondbacks 5-4 Colorado Rockies
Detroit Tigers 5-2 Chicago White Sox
Los Angeles Dodgers 10-3 Milwaukee Brewers
Minnesota Twins 7-3 Kansas City Royals
Houston Astros 7-6 Oakland Athletics
Miami Marlins 5-4 Philadelphia Phillies
Chicago Cubs 3-2 St Louis Cardinals
Atlanta Braves 5-0 New York Mets

 

Yankees at Red Sox

The famous Yankees and Red Sox rivalry will take centre stage for Tuesday's AL Wild Card blockbuster in Boston. Gerrit Cole will face Nathan Eovaldi in a mouth-watering pitching matchup. The winner will face the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL Division Series (ALDS), starting Wednesday.

The American League (AL) Wild Card race is set for a chaotic conclusion after the New York Yankees failed to clinch as the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners all won in MLB action on Saturday.

In New York, the Yankees were prevented from securing their Wild Card berth following a 12-2 rout at the hands of AL East champions the Tampa Bay Rays.

Brandon Lowe hit three home runs to thwart the Yankees, who are now level with the Boston Red Sox atop the AL Wild Card standings heading into Sunday's regular-season finale.

The Red Sox topped the Washington Nationals 5-3, while the Blue Jays and Mariners – who have celebrated 90-plus wins for the first time since 2003 – are a game adrift following respective wins over the Baltimore Orioles (10-1) and Los Angeles Angels (6-4).

There is a chance for a four-way tie if the Yankees (91-70) and Red Sox (91-70) both lose and the Blue Jays (90-71) and Mariners (90-71) win, which would leave the quartet with 91 victories apiece.

The 2021 AL East is the second division ever with four 90-plus win teams (the Rays, Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays) and first time since the split to three divisions per league.

 

Urias keeps Dodgers alive in NL West battle

Julio Urias became the first pitcher in his age-24 season or younger to win 20-plus games in a campaign since future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw in 2011 after leading World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers to an 8-3 success against the Milwaukee Brewers. Urias pitched one-run ball into the seventh inning to help the Dodgers (105-56) remain in the hunt for a ninth successive National League (NL) West title after leaders the San Francisco Giants (106-55) lost 3-2 to the San Diego Padres. The 2021 NL West is the first ever division to have two teams with 105 or more wins in a season.

Lucas Giolito and Dylan Cease became the second set of Chicago White Sox team-mates to each record 200-plus strikeouts in a season, joining Tom Bradley (206) and Wilbur Wood (210) in 1971. The White Sox edged the Detroit Tigers 5-4.

 

Blackburn battered

Paul Blackburn was put to the sword as the Houston Astros secured home-field advantage in the AL Division Series (ALDS) with a 10-4 win at home to the Oakland Athletics. A's pitcher Blackburn was tagged for a season-high six runs on seven hits in just two innings.

 

Blue Jays set franchise record

With their 258th home run, the Blue Jays set a new single-season franchise record for homers in the win over the lowly Orioles. Danny Jansen's bomb in the bottom of the fifth inning broke the team's record. Blue Jays star and MVP candidate Vladimir Guerrero Jr. also equalled the record for most home runs in a season by a player aged 22 or younger, joining Eddie Matthews (1953), with his 47th homer. Seven Blue Jays players have 20-plus home runs this season, tying a team record.

 

 

Saturday's results

Tampa Bay Rays 12-2 New York Yankees
Toronto Blue Jays 10-1 Baltimore Orioles
Boston Red Sox 5-3 Washington Nationals
San Diego Padres 3-2 San Francisco Giants
Miami Marlins 3-1 Philadelphia Phillies
Pittsburgh Pirates 8-6 Cincinnati Reds
Texas Rangers 7-2 Cleveland Indians
Chicago White Sox 5-4 Detroit Tigers
Minnesota Twins 4-0 Kansas City Royals
Houston Astros 10-4 Oakland Athletics
Chicago Cubs 6-5 St Louis Cardinals
Atlanta Braves 6-5 New York Mets
Arizona Diamondbacks 11-2 Colorado Rockies
Seattle Mariners 6-4 Los Angeles Angels
Los Angeles Dodgers 8-3 Milwaukee Brewers

 

NL West title in balance

The NL West champion will be crowned on Sunday as the Dodgers host the Brewers on the final day of the regular season, while the Giants entertain the Padres. The Dodgers must win and hope the Giants lose to tie for the title and force a deciding Game 163 in San Francisco on Monday.

The New York Yankees missed the chance to seal an American League (AL) Wild Card spot going down 4-3 to the Tampa Bay Rays despite a late rally on Friday.

The Yankees needed to win and hope either the Boston Red Sox or the Toronto Blue Jays lose to be assured of a Wild Card berth but could not uphold their end of the bargain, ensuring the race remains open.

Rookie Wander Franco drove in two runs at the top of the ninth inning to put the Rays up 4-1 but the Yankees did not wilt.

With one out, Joey Gallo bunted to get Giancarlo Stanton home, before Brett Gardner's double brought in Gallo to make it 4-3.

But Gary Sanchez and Rougned Odor were struck out by Rays closer Andrew Kittredge.

 

Back-to-back jacks for Red Sox

The Red Sox have been on the slide lately, losing five of their past six games, but they claimed an important win, 4-2 over the Washington Nationals to stay in the AL Wild Card hunt.

Hunter Renfroe (three-run home run) and Bobby Dalbec delivered back-to-back jacks in the sixth inning to earn the win for the Red Sox.

The Blue Jays stayed in contention with a 6-4 victory over the Baltimore Orioles with Danny Jansen driving in three runs and Steven Matz having five strikeouts across seven innings.

The San Francisco Giants moved a step closer to securing the National League (NL) divisional title with a 3-0 win over the San Diego Padres.

Two runs in the first inning set up the win, with Darin Ruf's jack and Mike Yastrzemski driving in Brandon Crawford.

 

Packed house sees Mariners miss chance

The Seattle Mariners failed to capitalise on the Yankees' defeat, going down 2-1 to the Los Angeles Angels despite taking an early lead in front of a full house after Jarred Kelenic's double in the second inning. Seattle have not made the postseason since 2001 and this result does not help their hopes of ending that wait, with Angels left-hander Jose Suarez throwing five strong innings. The Mariners (89-71) are now a game behind the Red Sox (90-70) for the second AL Wild Card spot.  

 

In-form Turner crushes grand slam

Trea Turner crushed a game-tying grand slam as the Los Angeles Dodgers rallied from 5-1 down to win 8-6 over the Milwaukee Brewers to keep the pressure on the Giants in the NL division race. Turner finished the game with two hits, two runs and five RBI. From his past six games, Turner has two multi-homer games, five total home runs, seven extra-base hits, eight runs scored, 10 RBI and has reached base 13 times.

 

Friday's results

Pittsburgh Pirates 9-2 Cincinnati Reds
Boston Red Sox 4-2 Washington Nationals
Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 New York Yankees
Toronto Blue Jays 6-4 Baltimore Orioles
Philadelphia Phillies 5-0 Miami Marlins
New York Mets 4-3 Atlanta Braves
Cleveland Indians 9-6 Texas Rangers
Chicago White Sox 8-1 Detroit Tigers
Oakland Athletics 8-6 Houston Astros
Kansas City Royals 11-6 Minnesota Twins
St Louis Cardinals 4-3 Chicago Cubs
Colorado Rockies 9-7 Arizona Diamondbacks
San Francisco Giants 3-0 San Diego Padres
Los Angeles Dodgers 8-6 Milwaukee Brewers
Los Angeles Angels 2-1 Seattle Mariners

 

Rays at Yankees

The Yankees will go again in their pursuit of a confirmed Wild Card spot when they host the Rays in their penultimate game.

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