Rookie right-hander Spencer Strider made history with a franchise-record 16 strikeouts in the Atlanta Braves' 3-0 win over the Colorado Rockies on Thursday.

The 23-year-old's 16 K's was the most ever by a Braves pitcher in a nine-inning game, bettering John Smoltz's previous record of 15, coming in only his 17th career Major League start.

Strider, who had 79 strikes from 106 pitches, allowed two hits and did not walk a batter, with a mix of fastballs and sliders across eight innings.

The 16 strikeouts were the most in the majors since Walker Buehler had 16 against the Rockies in June 2019.

"I lost track after five [innings]," Strider said about his strikeouts count. "I came out of the game and Kyle [Wright] was telling me something about John Smoltz or whatever. It didn't make any sense.

"It's pretty wild, the guys who've thrown in this organization, it's a long, incredible list. I'm just grateful to be here and having success."

Austin Riley and Michael Harris II hit solo home runs for the Braves, who improve to 81-51 to be three games behind the New York Mets (84-48) in the National League East.

Kershaw shakes off the rust in Dodgers defeat

Clayton Kershaw returned from the injured list with an efficient display but he could not inspire the Los Angeles Dodgers to victory, losing 5-3 to the New York Mets.

After a rusty start, Kershaw had six strikeouts across five innings, allowing one hit, one earned run while walking three batters.

Francisco Lindor was the hero with a tying RBI double in the sixth inning before scoring the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the seventh, while Edwin Diaz struck out Gavin Lux to escape a jam in the eighth.

Red Sox rally wth Refsnyder career-first walk-off

Rob Refsnyder's single clinched a walk-off win for the Boston Red Sox who rallied with a four-run ninth inning to win 9-8 over the Texas Rangers.

The Red Sox, who had been behind 8-3 in the eighth, trailed 8-5 entering the ninth with Rafael Devers hitting a two-run double to narrow the deficit before Kike Hernandez's RBI single tied it up.

Refsnyder walked it off for the first time in his career with a line shot that drove home Devers.

Aaron Judge stole the show in the New York Yankees' 7-4 win against the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday, blasting yet another home run as he pushes for Roger Maris' 61-year-old record.

Maris hit 61 home runs in the 1961 season, setting a new record for a Yankees player, and with 32 games remaining, Judge is now up to 51. It is the second straight day he has hit a home run, and he has five in his past eight games.

His long-ball proved to be the difference between the two teams, with his three-run shot in the fourth inning extending his side's lead from 4-2 to 7-2.

It was the third Yankees home run of the night after Andrew Benintendi connected as the second batter of the game, giving him his second home run since being traded to New York at the deadline.

Anthony Rizzo followed suit in the second inning with his own solo homer to make it 2-0, before Los Angeles' Max Stassi tied things up later in the frame with a two-run home run.

Judge now has 15 more home runs than second-placed Kyle Schwarber from the Philadelphia Phillies as he makes his case as the AL MVP, while his biggest competitor for the award – the Angels' Shohei Ohtani – finished two-for-four at the plate with a double. 

The Yankees are seven games clear of the Toronto Blue Jays for the AL East lead.

Valdez dishes up another quality start

Houston Astros pitcher Framber Valdez produced a terrific start on the mound to help his side to a 4-2 road win against the Texas Rangers, collecting his league-leading 23rd quality start of the season.

From Valdez's 25 starts this season, 23 have been considered quality starts, meaning at least six innings pitched with no more than three earned runs, and he did it in style.

Valdez ended up pitching eight full innings, striking out eight batters while only allowing two runs, while future Hall-of-Fame teammate Jose Altuve provided run support with his 22nd home run of the campaign.

No other starting pitcher has more than 19 quality starts, with five players on that number – including Valdez's Astros teammate Justin Verlander.

Vladdy stars for the Blue Jays

Toronto Blue Jays star Vladimir Guerrero Jr went three-for-four at the plate with a home run in his side's 5-3 home win against the Chicago Cubs.

Guerrero batted in the Blue Jays' first run with an RBI single in the fifth inning, and after a three-run homer to Teoscar Hernandez in the sixth, Guerrero added a final insurance score with a solo blast in the seventh frame.

On the mound, Kevin Gausman was strong for Toronto, striking out nine batters in his six innings while giving up two runs.

The Los Angeles Dodgers made sure to put Monday's sorry home defeat to the Milwaukee Brewers well and truly behind them with another emphatic victory.

Having been blanked for the first time at home in 2022 in the first game of the series, the Dodgers hit back on Tuesday with a 10-1 rout of the Brewers, and they followed that win up in style a day later.

There was more resistance from Milwaukee this time around, but the Dodgers - who have the best record in Major League Baseball (86-37) and hold a huge 19.5-game lead in the National League West - still cruised to a 12-6 victory.

Pitcher Andrew Heaney appeared in his first win since April and was key as he struck out 10, one off his season best, while he has back-to-back 10 strikeout outings for the first time in over three years.

"It seems like he's got 10 punchouts every game and you don't know it until you look up at the scoreboard," Trea Turner said of Heaney. "There's always one guy that gets no run support and one that gets runs on every team. I guess he's been the lucky one."

"Feeling better, trying to get deeper in games and get more pitch efficient and stay away from a couple of mistakes that have cost me big-time the last couple games," Heaney said.

The Dodgers' emphatic win, which sees them clinch their season series against the Brewers 4-3, came on the back of huge victories for the Atlanta Braves and the Texas Rangers.

World Series champions Atlanta made light work of the Pittsburgh Pirates, winning 16-2, with Kyle Wright recording 21 outs from 73 pitches as he tied with Justin Verlander and Tony Gonsolin for the most victories in the majors. The Rangers, meanwhile, hammered the Colorado Rockies 16-4.

Quantrill does the damage in San Diego

Cal Quantrill returned to haunt his old team as the Cleveland Guardians stormed to a 7-0 victory over the San Diego Padres.

Playing in San Diego for the first time since he was traded to Cleveland in 2020, Quantrill struck out six and walked one.

"Apparently I really did care a lot. It just felt important," Quantrill told reporters of facing his former side. "I wanted that game to be clean. I didn't want to trail off."

Cubs and Cardinals set for series decider

The Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals will face off on Thursday with everything on the line in their five-game series.

That is after Zach McKinstry homered and drove in three runs to help the Cubs to a 7-1 triumph that ties the series at 2-2.

Elsewhere, the Tampa Bay Rays claimed a fifth straight win by edging out the Los Angeles Angels 4-3, while the Philadelphia Phillies are in line for a four-game clean sweep of their series with the Cincinnati Reds after a 7-5 success.

The changes continue at the Texas Rangers with president of baseball operations Jon Daniels the latest to be shown the door effective immediately.

Daniels was informed by owner Ray Davis on Wednesday that his contract will not be renewed at the end of this season.

The Rangers fired manager Chris Woodward on Monday with less than 50 games to go in a season that will almost certainly end with the team missing the playoffs for a sixth year in a row.

The pair of dismissals comes following a season with raised expectations in Texas after the team spent more than $500million in free agency, headlined by the additions of All-Star infielders Corey Seager and Marcus Semien.

"Bottom line is we're not good, and we haven't been good for six years," Davis said.

"To be competitive going forward, I felt that we needed to make a change."

Chris Young, who was brought in as the team's general manager in December 2020, will step into Daniels' role and lead the baseball operations department.

The Rangers have not reached the postseason since 2016 when they won the American League West division. Texas played in the World Series in 2010 and 2011, losing both.

Daniels had been with the Rangers since 2002, appointed as general manager in October 2005 and promoted to president of baseball operations in March 2013.

The Texas Rangers fired manager Chris Woodward on Monday with less than 50 games to go in a season that will almost certainly end with the team missing the playoffs for a sixth year in a row. 

Expectations were raised in Texas this past offseason after the team spent more than $500million in free agency – most notably the additions of All-Star infielders Corey Seager and Marcus Semien – but at 51-63 the team is headed towards a sixth straight sub-.500 season. 

The third-place Rangers begin play on Monday 23 games back of the first-place Houston Astros in the AL West and 9.5 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the league's final wild card spot. 

The 46-year-old Woodward was in his fourth season as manager of the Rangers and received a contract extension last November, which ran through the 2023 season and included a club option for 2024. 

He is expected to be replaced by an interim manager. 

Despite falling short of their lofty expectations, the Rangers' offense has seen some improvement this season – ranking fourth in the AL in runs per game (4.48) after finishing last a year ago (3.86) – and the team has only been outscored by two runs on the season after owning a dreadful minus 190 run differential in 2021. 

The inability to close out close games, however, has been their ultimate undoing as they are 6-24 in games decided by a single run. In the live-ball era, the only team to finish a season with a lower winning percentage in one-run games than Texas' .200 was the 1935 Boston Braves at 7-31 (.184). 

Aaron Judge homered for the 46th time this season to bring up his 100th RBI, but the New York Yankees lost again, beaten 3-2 by the Boston Red Sox in extras on Friday.

Judge cleared the green monster at the top of the third inning with a 429-foot blast to put the Yankees up 2-0.

The home run was 46th for the season, meaning he is equal with Babe Ruth (1921) for homers in the first 113 team games in MLB history. Barry Bonds is the only player to better both, with 48 in 2001.

J.D. Martinez brought in Alex Verdugo to make it 2-1 in the fourth inning, before Martinez sent the game to extras with a ninth-inning RBI with Xander Bogaerts scoring.

In extras, Tommy Pham was the hero for the Red Sox at the bottom of the 10th inning with a shot down the third-base line allowing Christian Arroyo to score.

The result means the Yankees' recent woes continue, sitting 71-42 at the top of the American League (AL) East, with the Red Sox last in that division with a 56-58 record.

 

Soto returns to D.C. to rousing reception

Juan Soto returned to the capital for the first time since his trade from the Washington Nationals to the San Diego Padres earlier this month, receiving a heroes' welcome.

Soto registered his first hit against his former team in the fifth inning, before the Padres piled on seven runs in the frame to open up an 8-0 lead.

Jefferson Profar and Soto scored from Manny Machado's two-run RBI. Soto, who went 2-6, drove in an RBI in the fifth as the Padres ran away 10-5 winners.

 

Mets' winning run halted by walk-off Phillies

The presence of Max Scherzer was not enough to prevent the Philadelphia Phillies from snapping the New York Mets' six-game win streak in a 2-1 walk-off defeat.

Scherzer pitched across seven innings with six strikeouts and nine hits, his second most this season. The Mets right-hander did not walk anyone and only allowed one earned run.

The game went to extras, before Bryson Stott got home from Alec Bohm's sacrifice fly to right fielder Starling Marte, who thundered in a throw but catcher Tomas Nido could not complete the out on the hop.

Framber Valdez threw seven shutout innings as the Houston Astros moved a half-game ahead of the New York Yankees in the race for top seed in the American League (AL) with a 7-3 win over the Texas Rangers.

Martin Maldonado and Alex Bregman both homered for the Astros as manager Dusty Baker returned to the dugout after missing five games due to COVID-19.

Valdez had eight strikeouts across seven innings, allowing only four singles and a walk, earning his third win.

The result improved the Astros to 72-41, sitting ahead of the slumping Yankees who did not play on Thursday and possess a 71-41 record.

"It was outstanding to be back, especially when you come back with the win and come back with Framber throwing the game that he threw," Baker said.

"He pitched an outstanding game. He's very serious about his work and was very composed."

Surging Orioles slip in Wild Card race

The in-form Baltimore Orioles missed a chance to surge into the AL Wild Card spots after going down 4-3 to the Boston Red Sox.

The O's were off to a 7-1 start in August and looked to preserve that with a three-run sixth-inning to square up the game, before Eric Hosmer's decisive go-ahead RBI double.

With the win, the Red Sox snap a four-game losing streak, while it leaves the O's at 58-53, behind the Tampa Bay Rays (58-52) for the third AL Wild Card spot.

Goldschmidt and Arenado fire but Cards beaten

The battle for top spot in the National League (NL) Central division rages on after the St Louis Cardinals were toppled 8-6 by the Colorado Rockies.

The Rockies piled on six runs in the seventh inning, headlined by back-to-back home runs from Brendan Rodgers and Ryan McMahon, while Paul Goldschmidt had three hits including his 27th home run of the season.

Nolan Arenado also homered for the Cards, who hold a 61-50 record, marginally ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers at 60-50 in the NL Central. The Cards have won eight of their past 10.

Aaron Judge became the second-fastest player to ever hit 200 career home runs as he connected on his 42nd of the season in the New York Yankees' 8-2 home victory against the Kansas City Royals.

Judge's moment came in the second inning, but it was not his side's first home run of the night after D.J. LeMahieu blasted a 410-footer to center-field as the Yankees' first batter of the game.

After All-Star catcher Jose Trevino got on base, Judge took one opposite-field to put the Yankees 4-0 up. He reached his 200th home run in his 671st career game – 13 games slower than former Philadelphia Phillies slugger Ryan Howard.

That was not all Judge would do in this contest, getting on base four times as he finished with a pair of hits and a pair of walks. He now has 10 more home runs than second-placed Kyle Schwarber (32).

On the mound, Nestor Cortes put in a strong showing to be credited with the win, giving up two runs in five innings, striking out five. 

After a clean Aroldis Chapman inning in relief, Clarke Schmidt then came in for a three-inning save, striking out five batters and throwing 52 pitches.

Twins stars go deep against Padres

Both Byron Buxton and Carlos Correa hit home runs in the Minnesota Twins' 7-4 win on the road against the San Diego Padres.

Stars on both sides were swinging a heavy bat, with Padres MVP candidate Manny Machado opening the scoring with his own solo shot in the third inning.

But the Twins had all the answers, as Buxton destroyed a baseball 434 feet over the left-field wall an inning later, before Correa kick-started his side's five-run eighth frame with his own two-run homer.

Shohei puts on a show

The Los Angeles Angels rallied back late to defeat the Texas Rangers 9-7, headlined by reigning AL MVP Shohei Ohtani's 22nd home run of the season.

The superstar designated hitter – who has also pitched the sixth most strikeouts in all of baseball this season (146 in 17 starts) – connected on a 424-foot, three-run home run to center-field in the third inning to give the Angels a 3-2 lead. Only 15 players have hit more home runs this campaign.

Texas fought back in the middle innings through home runs to Marcus Semien and Meibrys Viloria, but the Angels scored five in the eighth inning to steal the result.

The Philadelphia Phillies rode a strong starting pitching performance from Zack Wheeler to an 8-4 road victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday.

All nine Phillies batters finished with at least one hit – racking up 15 total hits as a team – and it got started in the first inning as Darick Hall made it a 2-0 game with his two-run triple. Nick Castellanos then drove in Hall with a base hit to make it 3-0 in the opening frame.

Wheeler never gave the Pirates a chance to fight back into the contest, holding the home side scoreless until late in the seventh inning. He finished with two earned runs from three hits and three walks, striking out eight.

After Alec Bohm's base hit to make it 4-0 in the second inning, there was a lull in the action until Kyle Schwarber made his presence known in the sixth frame.

With two runners on base, Schwarber connected on his 32nd home run of the season, trailing only Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees.

The Pirates rallied hard in the last inning, scoring five runs from four hits off Jeurys Familia, but there was not much to cheer about up until that point, except for an exciting showing from rookie Cal Mitchell.

Mitchell delivered the only runs for his side in the first eight innings with his towering 414-foot, two-run homer to center-field off Wheeler. He finished three-for-four at the plate, also adding a pair of singles.

Judge does it again for the Yankees

Aaron Judge won the New York Yankees another game off his bat as he blasted the game-winning, walk-off home run to defeat the Kansas City Royals 1-0 at home.

Both sides pitched beautifully, with Royals starter Brady Singer giving up just one hit while striking out 10 in seven innings, while Yankees starter Jameson Taillon struck out eight batters in six scoreless frames.

The home run was Judge's league-leading 39th of the season – seven more than any other player.

Angels blow another Ohtani gem

The Los Angeles Angels wasted another terrific starting pitching performance from two-way All-Star Shohei Ohtani, going down 2-0 at home to the Texas Rangers.

Ohtani struck out 11 batters in six innings, giving up two runs from eight hits in his 10th quality start (meaning at least six innings pitched and three or fewer earned runs) of the season. He now has 145 strikeouts for the season – the sixth most in the majors, and the five players ahead of him have all started at least two more contests.

Only Atlanta Braves rookie Spencer Strider (13.4) has a higher strikeouts-per-nine-innings stat than Ohtani's 13.1.

Despite missing a pair of National League MVP candidates, the St Louis Cardinals rode a big performance from future Hall-of-Famer Albert Pujols to a 6-1 away win against the Toronto Blue Jays.

With both Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado unavailable for their side's trip to Toronto due to their vaccination status, it was a combination of new blood and a blast from the past as they made it look easy.

40-year-old starting pitcher Adam Wainwright was at the peak of his powers, giving up just five hits and no walks for one earned run in seven innings, striking out eight batters. 

While Wainwright controlled the contest with the ball, 42-year-old Pujols made noise with the bat, knocking a single in his first at-bat, a double in his second try, and then a massive 439-foot, three-run homer with his third trip to the plate. It was longer than any home run Pujols hit in this year's Home Run Derby.

Rookie Nolan Gorman – 20 years younger than Pujols – also went deep with a solo home run, while he and 24-year-old Lars Nootbaar were two of five Cardinals to collect multiple hits.

Blue Jays star Vladimir Guerrero Jr finished two-for-four at the plate, while ace pitcher Kevin Gausman struggled in one of his worst performances of the season. 

Gausman gave up five runs in less than five innings, allowing eight hits and a walk with his six strikeouts.

Mets walk-off against Yankees

The New York Mets threatened to waste a spectacular start from pitcher Max Scherzer, but ultimately got the job done in the bottom of the ninth inning to defeat the New York Yankees 3-2 in walk-off fashion.

Pete Alonso's solo home run in the second inning and Francisco Lindor's RBI single in the third frame were the only runs before Max Scherzer was withdrawn, having pitched seven shut-out innings.

As soon as Scherzer was removed, the Yankees came back with a two-run homer from Gleyber Torres, but Eduardo Escobar led off the ninth inning with a double, setting up Starling Marte to be the hero and drive him in with a base hit.

J-Rod does it again for the Mariners

Rookie All-Star Julio Rodriguez showed once again why he is one of the most exciting young talents in all of baseball, blasting a three-run home run to give his Seattle Mariners a 4-2 home win against the Texas Rangers.

Rodriguez, 21, stepped up to the plate in the seventh inning with two runners on base, trailing 2-1, and he connected on a 419-foot no-doubter over the left-field wall to snatch back the lead.

This season, Rodriguez leads all rookies in hits (96), runs (54), home runs (17), RBIs (53), and stolen bases (21).

The Houston Astros started their second half of the MLB season in positive fashion, claiming a double-header sweep over the New York Yankees on Thursday.

The two best records in the American League (AL) faced off and the Astros bested the Yankees once again, moving to a 5-2 head-to-head record for the season with respective 3-2 and 7-5 wins at Minute Maid Park.

After splitting a four-game series in the Bronx in June, Yordan Alvarez and Alex Bregman both homered and combined for five RBIs to hand the Astros the third win at home this season over the AL leaders.

In the earlier game, Bregman, Korey Lee and rookie JJ Matijevic combined for RBIs while Cristian Javier struck out three but only gave up two hits over 99 pitches in five innings.

With the sweep coming out of the All-Star Game, the Astros suddenly moved to within three games of the AL-leading Yankees, who have now lost seven of their past 10 games.

Gray gets Rangers rolling

Jon Gray led the way for the Texas Rangers as they commenced an 11-game road trip, shutting the Miami Marlins out for an 8-0 win.

Gray struck out five and conceded only four hits over 94 pitches in six innings, while Adolis Garcia homered and drove in three runs.

The Marlins slipped further away from the National League's wild card race with the defeat, now six games back with a fourth consecutive defeat and extending their scoreless streak to 34 innings.

Betts denies Giants comeback

Mookie Betts saved the day for the Los Angeles Dodgers after they almost squandered a big lead, eventually claiming a 9-6 win over their rivals in the San Francisco Giants.

Things were looking good early for the Dodgers, taking a 5-0 lead after the opening three innings off star Giants pitcher Carlos Rodon, with Freddie Freeman scoring a solo home run in the first inning with two out.

The Giants fought back in the seventh through Evan Longoria and Darin Ruf, though, with the two scoring home runs to set up a five-run inning.

A Trayce Thompson triple drove Gavin Lux home to tie after Thair Estrada was walked in the eighth, before a three-run shot from Betts off Jarlin Garcia gave the Dodgers the eventual win.

Betts confirmed the win with a great defensive play in the following inning, making a spectacular sliding catch deep in right-field to retire Joc Pederson.

The Baltimore Orioles took Oklahoma high school shortstop Jackson Holliday with the first overall pick of a 2022 MLB Draft that went top-heavy on sons of former standout players.

Holliday, the son of seven-time All-Star Matt Holliday, went one spot ahead of Georgia prep outfielder Druw Jones, taken by the Arizona Diamondbacks at pick two. Jones’ father, Andruw, made five All-Star teams and earned 10 Gold Gloves over a 17-year career spent mostly with the Atlanta Braves.

With the third overall pick, the Texas Rangers made onetime Vanderbilt hurler Kumar Rocker the first pitcher selected in an unexpected move, with most predictions having him in the teens at the earliest. Rocker was taken 10th overall by the New York Mets last year, but did not sign and spent this season in the independent Frontier League.

Holliday hit .685 in 41 games as a senior at Stillwater High School while setting a national prep record with 89 hits in a season, breaking the mark previously held by Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound left-handed hitter also won two national Gold Glove awards and was named Baseball America’s 2022 High School Player of the Year.

Matt Holliday hit .299 with 316 home runs in 16 major league seasons, mostly spent with the St. Louis Cardinals and Colorado Rockies, winning four Silver Slugger awards and capturing the National League batting title in 2007.

Jackson Holliday has verbally committed to Oklahoma State, where his uncle, Josh Holliday, is the head coach. However, the 18-year-old is expected to sign and enter the pro ranks.

Jones hit .570 with 13 home runs and 32 stolen bases as a senior at Wesleyan High in Peachtree Corners, Ga. The six-foot-four, 180-pound Vanderbilt commit was ranked as this year’s number-one overall draft prospect, one spot ahead of Holliday, by MLB.com.

Rocker, who helped Vanderbilt win the College World Series as a star freshman in 2019, is the second straight former Commodores pitcher taken by the Rangers in the first round. Texas selected Jack Leiter, son of former All-Star pitcher Al Leiter and close friend of Rocker, with the second overall pick of the 2021 draft.

Rounding out the top-five, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected powerfully built high school second-baseman Termarr Johnson at fourth overall, before the Washington Nationals selected IMG Academy outfielder Elijah Green with pick five.

The Seattle Mariners set a new record on Sunday as they defeated the Texas Rangers 6-2 for their 14th consecutive win – the longest winning streak entering the All-Star break in MLB history.

Prior to this season, the longest winning streak heading into the All-Star break was 10 games, set by the 1935 Detroit Tigers, the 1945 Chicago Cubs and the 1975 Cincinnati Reds. All three teams ended up making the World Series.

It was a great showing from the Mariners' top hitters as their two All-Stars drove in a pair of runs each. 

A late addition to the American League All-Star roster, Ty France connected on the longest drive of the game with his 432-foot solo home run in the fifth inning, extending the Mariners' lead to 3-1.

Rookie of the Year favourite – and the only rookie All-Star – Julio Rodriguez then drove in a pair of runs with his double in the seventh inning, and Rodriguez was brought home by a France RBI base hit as the very next batter.

Of all rookies in the majors this season, Rodriguez leads in hits (93), home runs (16), RBIs (50), runs (52) and stolen bases (21).

The Mariners are now 51-42 for the season, giving them the fourth-best record in the American League. They are also one game away from tying their longest winning streak of all time, with 15-in-a-row set in 2001.

Soto homers in Nationals win

Washington Nationals star Juan Soto showed why he is expected to fetch one of the largest trade hauls in the history of the league as he connected on his 20th home run of the season in his side's 7-3 win over the Atlanta Braves.

Soto is reportedly on the trade block after turning down a 15-year, $440million contract extension, with the 23-year-old considered one of the purest hitters in the game.

He connected on his homer in the eighth inning to put the finishing touches on the win and continue his barnstorming July. After an uncharacteristically poor start to the season, Soto is 17-of-40 at the plate this month, with an on-base percentage of .589 while slugging .850.

Cease pitches a gem

Chicago White Sox ace Dylan Cease was at the top of his game as his team hammered the Minnesota Twins 11-0.

Cease, arguably the best pitcher not to be named an All-Star this season, showed his quality with seven scoreless innings, giving up just one hit and two walks while striking out eight.

Nine of the 10 White Sox batters collected at least one hit, with elite first baseman Andrew Vaughn hitting a home run among his three knocks, and their lone offensive All-Star Tim Anderson had a two-RBI single to open the scoring.

It was a unique day at the ballpark as the Milwaukee Brewers treated their home fans to a 5-2 extra-innings win against the Chicago Cubs on Independence Day.

Pitchers dominated the early stages, with the only run in the first six innings coming from Cubs center-fielder Nelson Velasquez, who sent a ball 418 feet for the first home run of his career.

Cubs starter Justin Steele retired 20 batters before finally conceding his only run as Pedro Severino collected an RBI double in the seventh inning, tying things at 1-1.

Steele finished his day with nine strikeouts in six-and-two-thirds innings, with his one earned run coming from two hits and four walks. 

Milwaukee's Eric Lauer was just as impressive, pitching six full innings for one earned run from two hits and two walks, also striking out nine.

With scores tied in the top of the ninth inning, in his return from over a month on the sidelines due to injury, Seiya Suzuki sent a ball to deep center-field. It bounced awkwardly off the wall to evade the outfielders, allowing the Japanese rookie star to round the bases for an inside-the-park home run and give the Cubs a 2-1 lead.

But David Robertson could not complete the save for Chicago, giving up a single, a double, a hit-by-pitch and a walk to drive in the tying run, sending the game to extra innings.

The Cubs were unable to put a run on the board in the top of the 10th, setting up the Brewers for a walk-off win.

After Rowdy Tellez was intentionally walked, putting two men on base, Victor Caratini blasted a 411-foot, walk-off home run to finish the contest.

It was the first time in MLB history there had been a player hit his first career home run, another hit an inside-the-parker, and another hit a walk-off homer in the same game.

Alvarez delivers in the clutch

The breakout star of the Houston Astros, Yordan Alvarez, capped off a big comeback on Monday with a walk-off home run to defeat the Kansas City Royals 7-6 at home.

It was the Royals who started hot, jumping out to a 5-0 lead after M.J. Melendez's solo home run in the third inning, and that is when the Astros would begin their fightback.

The Astros pulled back three runs through RBIs to Kyle Tucker, Jose Altuve and Mauricio Dubon, and after Melendez's second home run of the game made it 6-3, Tucker drove in another two runs in the eighth inning.

Lourdes Gurriel tied things at 6-6 in the eighth frame, before with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Alvarez completed the comeback with a no-doubt, 444-foot solo home run to center-field.

Mateo takes one for the team in Orioles win

The Baltimore Orioles took a gutsy 7-6 home win against the Texas Rangers as shortstop Jorge Mateo wore a hit-by-pitch in the botttom of the 10th inning for an unconventional walk-off.

A pair of clutch hits in the ninth inning – first a solo home run from Texas' Marcus Semien to put his side up 6-5, and then an RBI double from Baltimore's Adley Rutchsman to tie it at 6-6 – forced extra innings in the back-and-forth contest.

The Rangers were unable to put on a run on the board in the 10th, allowing the Orioles to escape with the result after a bunt single, an intentional walk and finally Mateo's hit-by-pitch drove in the winning run.

In a battle between two of the best teams and best pitchers in the majors, Nestor Cortes' New York Yankees prevailed 4-3 at home against Shane McClanahan's Tampa Bay Rays.

McClanahan is the current favourite to win the AL Cy Young Award while Cortes is close behind, and they both put on spectacular performances in Wednesday's top fixture.

It was a rocky start for McClanahan, who was punished in the very first inning by American League MVP favourite Aaron Judge, connecting on his league-leading 25th home run of the season to make it 1-0. Nobody else has hit more than 18 home runs.

That was the only earned run McClanahan would give up, although a fielding error in the fifth inning and an intentional walk set up a three-run Kyle Higashioka blast to give the Yankees a 4-0 lead.

McClanahan finished with seven strikeouts in six complete innings, allowing three hits and two walks.

Cortes held the Rays scoreless through five innings, eventually getting pulled in the sixth after the visitors finally got their first run on the board via a Manuel Margot RBI double.

Choi Ji-man's RBI base hit in the eighth inning cut the margin to 4-2, and Rene Pinto followed suit as the very next batter to make it 4-3. Clay Holmes was able to hold his nerve in the ninth frame to secure the save and the win for the Yankees.

After their performances, McClanahan (1.84 ERA) and Cortes (1.94 ERA) are two of only seven starting pitchers this season to allow fewer than two runs per nine innings.

The win moves the Yankees' league-leading record to 46-16 – six games clear of the New York Mets in second (41-23).

Astros' immaculate showing

The Houston Astros pitched two immaculate innings in their 9-2 road win against the Texas Rangers to retain the fourth-best record in the majors at 39-24.

After the Astros piled on six runs in the opening frame, including two-run doubles from both Yordan Alvarez and Martin Maldonado, Houston starter Luis Garcia took control.

In the second inning, Garcia struck out all three batters, throwing just nine pitches, with all being strikes, for a rare immaculate inning.

Incredibly, the feat was repeated in the seventh frame by Astros reliever Phil Maton, who also collected his three strikeouts in nine pitches. It is the first time in MLB history that a team has thrown two immaculate innings in the same game.

Phillies win in last-gasp walk-off

Philadelphia Phillies catcher Garrett Stubbs was the hero in his side's 3-1 home victory against the Miami Marlins.

Kyle Gibson was terrific on the mound for the Phillies, giving up one run from seven hits and no walks, pitching eight full innings and striking out six – but his team trailed 1-0 going into the ninth frame.

After a lead-off strikeout, Alec Bohm singled, and J.T. Realmuto walked, but another strikeout meant Stubbs was the last chance to make something happen – and he duly responded.

From the fifth pitch of his at-bat, with two strikes, Stubbs connected on a hanging slider and sent it over the fence for a game-winning three-run homer. It is the Phillies' 11th win from their past 13 games.

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