The Texas Rangers scored four first-inning runs before holding on for their seventh straight win to start this year's post-season, a 5-4 victory over the Houston Astros on Monday that gave them a 2-0 lead in the American League Championship Series.

Texas withstood two more home runs from Houston slugger Yordan Alvarez to move to 7-0 in these playoffs, one shy of a Major League record for the longest winning streak to begin a post-season set by the Kansas City Royals in 2014. Six of those victories have come on the road.

The Rangers can put the reigning World Series champion Astros within a game of elimination when they return home for Wednesday's Game 3 of this best-of-seven series. Texas will start Max Scherzer in the three-time Cy Young Award winner's first appearance since straining his shoulder in mid-September.

Scherzer will try to build off Monday's solid performance from teammate Nathan Eovaldi, who struck out nine while allowing three runs over six innings and worked his way out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the fifth.

The Rangers gave Eovaldi a big early lead as their first five hitters reached base off Houston's Framber Valdez.

Marcus Semien and Corey Seager began the game with singles before Valdez threw wildly to first on a chopper to the mound off the bat of Robbie Grossman, allowing Semien to score the game's first run. Adolis Garcia and Mitch Garver followed with RBI singles and Nathaniel Lowe later plated Garcia with a base hit to push Texas' lead to 4-0.

The Astros got a run back in the second on Alvarez's first homer of the game, but Jonah Heim countered with a solo shot of his own in the third to restore the Rangers' four-run advantage.

Houston pulled within 5-2 on Alex Bregman's home run off the left-field foul pole in the fourth, then loaded the bases with no out in the fifth on two singles and an error. Eovaldi got through unscathed, however, by striking out Yainer Diaz and Jose Altuve and getting Bregman to ground out. 

Alvarez walked and scored on Michael Brantley's double in the sixth to cut Houston's deficit to two, then connected off Aroldis Chapman with two outs in the eighth for his sixth homer of the post-season as Texas' lead dwindled to 5-4.

Jose Leclerc then relieved Chapman and walked Jose Abreu and Brantley, but prevented further damage before retiring the Astros in order in the ninth for his second save of the series.

Valdez struck out six in just 2 2/3 innings, but permitted seven hits and all five Texas runs - four of which were earned. 

Houston, which won six of seven road meetings with the Rangers during the regular season, is scheduled to start Cristian Javier in Game 3. 


Jordan Montgomery outpitched Justin Verlander with 6 1/3 shutout innings as the Texas Rangers took Game 1 of the American League Championship Series with Sunday's 2-0 win over the rival Houston Astros.

Leody Tavares backed Montgomery with a solo homer off Verlander as the red-hot Rangers improved to 6-0 during these playoffs after ending the regular season with an 18-24 finish.

That late slump enabled the defending World Series champion Astros to overtake Texas for the AL West title and home-field advantage for the series. Houston also won nine of 13 meetings with its fellow Lone Star State inhabitants during the regular season.

The Rangers got to Verlander in the second inning to take an early lead, as rookie Evan Carter legged out a double and crossed the plate on Jonah Heim's single. Tavares made it 2-0 by taking Verlander's offering over the right-field wall with one out in the fifth. 

Houston had its chances in between as it put two on in the third and loaded the bases in the fourth. Montgomery fanned All-Star slugger Yordan Alvarez to end the first threat, then struck out Martin Maldonado to put out the second after the Astros strung together three consecutive two-out singles.

The Astros didn't have another runner reach base off the left-hander, who retired the final eight hitters he faced while scattering five hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Three of those strikeouts came against Alvarez, who had gone 7 for 16 with four home runs in Houston's four-game dispatching of the Minnesota Twins in the Division Series.

A base-running blunder by Jose Altuve in the eighth ended the Astros' final good chance of the night.

Altuve drew a leadoff walk off Josh Sborz to prompt Rangers manager to summon reliever Aroldis Chapman, who was greeted by Alex Bregman's deep fly to left that was caught by Carter at the warning track. Altuve rounded second base on the play, but was called out after a replay review showed he failed to re-touch the bag while racing back to first.

Chapman finished off the inning without further damage before Jose Leclerc retired the Astros in order in the ninth.

Verlander lasted 6 2/3 innings and allowed six hits along with both Texas runs.

Game 2 of the series will take place Monday afternoon in Houston, which will send Framber Valdez to the mound opposite Nathan Eovaldi in a matchup of 2023 All-Stars. 

Adolis Garcia capped a five-run second with a three-run homer and the Texas Rangers rolled to a 7-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles to complete an AL Division Series sweep on Tuesday.

Corey Seager got Texas started with a first-inning home run against Dean Kremer and the Rangers knocked the Baltimore starter out in the second.

Nathaniel Lowe also went deep for the Rangers, who are perfect in five games this postseason and will face either Houston or Minnesota in the ALCS.

Nathan Eovaldi allowed one run and five hits over seven innings, striking out seven while throwing 76 of his 98 pitches for strikes.

Jose Leclerc got the final four outs, the first one with the bases loaded in the eighth when he induced an inning-ending groundout by Aaron Hicks.

The Orioles won an AL-best 101 games and were never swept during the regular season, but gave up 18 runs in losing the final two games.

Lowe battled Kremer in a 15-pitch at-bat to lead off the second before lining out.

Singles by Josh Jung and Marcus Semien put runners on the corners with two outs. After Seager was intentionally walked to load the bases, Mitch Garver stroked a two-run double before Garcia’s homer to left made it 6-0.


Astros rout Twins, take 2-1 ALDS lead

Jose Abreu’s three-run homer keyed a four-run first inning, he added a two-run blast in the ninth and the Houston Astros routed the Minnesota Twins 9-1 to take a 2-1 series lead.

Yordan Alvarez continued his red-hot start by going 3 for 5 with a solo home run – his fourth of the series – and two doubles. He became the 11th player in history to homer in each of his first three games of a single postseason.

Alex Bregman had a pair of hits, including a solo home run, and two RBIs.

The Astros pounced early on Minnesota starter Sonny Gray, who gave up five runs and eight hits in four innings.

Cristian Javier pitched five shutout innings for Houston, allowing just one hit but walking five batters.

The Astros can clinch the series Wednesday with a win, sending them to the ALCS for the seventh straight year.

Mitch Garver's grand slam in the third inning provided a big early lead that the Texas Rangers held on to in Sunday's 11-8 victory over the Baltimore Orioles that put the American League's top playoff seed a game away from elimination.

Garver also had an RBI single to help Texas take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five Division Series and remain unbeaten in four games this postseason. The Rangers advanced to the ALDS with a two-game sweep on the road over the Tampa Bay Rays earlier in the week.

The Rangers can wrap up this series when it shifts to Texas on Tuesday.

Texas pounded out 11 hits in Game 2 and took advantage of a season-high 11 walks from Baltimore pitchers, including four from starter Grayson Rodriguez in a short postseason debut for the heralded rookie.

Rodriguez got out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning, but walked Nathaniel Lowe to begin the second with the Orioles holding a 2-0 lead. Josh Jung followed with a single and Leody Tavares doubled in both runners to tie the contest.

Texas would score three more times in the second to move in front. After Corey Seager drew one of five walks on the day to load the bases, Garver, Adolis Garcia and Jonah Heim each delivered RBI singles to give the Rangers a 5-2 advantage.

Reliever Bryan Baker walked the bases loaded in the third before Garver blasted a 3-1 pitch into the left-field seats to extend the margin to 9-2.

The Orioles scored twice in the fourth before the Rangers got a run back in the top of the fifth, but Gunnar Henderson's solo homer off Texas starter Jordan Montgomery in the bottom of the inning pulled the AL East champions within 10-5.

Baltimore moved closer when Aaron Hicks' three-run homer off Jose Leclerc in the ninth made the score 11-8, but the Rangers' closer retired the next two hitters to end the comeback attempt and the game.

Garcia, Jung and Marcus Semien each had two hits for Texas, while Cody Bradford earned the win with 3 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of Montgomery.

Hicks also had a two-run single that drove in the Orioles' first runs, while Jorge Mateo finished 4 for 4 with an RBI and Austin Hays had three hits in the loss.

Rodriguez was pulled with two outs in the second and was charged with five runs on six hits.


Lopez, Correa help Twins even series with Astros

Pablo Lopez threw seven scoreless innings, Carlos Correa went 3 for 3 with three RBIs against his former team, and the Minnesota Twins drew even in their AL Division Series with the Houston Astros with Sunday's 6-2 win.

Kyle Farmer contributed a two-run homer as the Twins bounced back from Saturday's 6-4 loss in Game 1 of this best-of-five series, which shifts to Minnesota for Game 3 on Tuesday. 

Correa, who spent his first seven seasons with the Astros before signing with the Twins in 2022, quickly staked Minnesota to a 1-0 lead with a two-out RBI double off Framber Valdez in the first inning. Farmer extended the margin to 3-0 an inning later when he followed Willi Castro's leadoff single with his first career postseason home run.

That was more than enough support for Lopez, who scattered six hits and a walk while striking out seven in his second straight playoff gem. The right-hander held the Toronto Blue Jays to one run over 5 2/3 innings in Minnesota's Game 1 win in the Wild Card round. 

Correa hurt his ex-team again when he stepped to the plate with the bases loaded in the fifth and delivered a two-run single for a 5-0 lead.

Houston's only scoring came on Yordan Alvarez's third homer of the series, a two-run shot off Brock Stewart in the eighth.

Valdez, who went 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA during the Astros' run to last year's World Series title, struggled before being removed with one out in the fifth. The left-hander was charged with five runs on seven hits and issued three walks.


Sonny Gray and five relievers combined on a shutout and the Minnesota Twins advanced in the postseason for the first time in 21 years with a 2-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday.

Minnesota, which ended an 18-game playoff losing streak with a 3-1 win in Game 1, completed the sweep and moved on to face the defending World Series champion Astros in the best-of-five AL Division Series, starting Saturday in Houston.

The Twins snapped a nine-round losing streak that started with an ALCS defeat to the Angels in 2002. The Atlanta Braves (2001-2019) and Chicago Cubs (1910-1998) share the all-time mark with 10 consecutive series lost.

The Blue Jays lost their seventh straight playoff game, leaving nine runners on base in each game.

All the game’s offense came in the bottom of the fourth.

Royce Lewis drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on Max Kepler’s infield single against reliever Yusei Kikuchi.

After pinch-hitter Donovan Solano walked to load the bases, Carlos Correa singled home a run. Willi Castro then hit into a double play to make it 2-0.

Gray allowed five hits over five innings with two walks and six strikeouts.

Brock Stewart and Griffin Jax each worked one inning and Jhoan Duran struck out the side in the ninth to trigger the celebration.


Gallen, Diamondbacks complete sweep of Brewers

Ketel Marte highlighted a four-run sixth with a two-run single and the Arizona Diamondbacks finished a sweep of the NL Central champion Milwaukee Brewers with a 5-2 victory.

Two years after losing 110 games, the Diamondbacks advanced to the NL Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Zac Gallen allowed two first-inning runs but settled down to toss six solid innings before Arizona’s bullpen finished with three scoreless frames, the final three outs coming from Paul Sewald.

Milwaukee has lost nine of its last 10 playoff games, a stretch that started with a Game 7 home loss to the Dodgers in the 2018 NLCS.

Freddy Peralta held Arizona hitless for 4 2/3 innings before Alek Thomas homered to make it 2-1.

The Diamondbacks knocked out Peralta and grabbed a 5-2 lead with four runs in the sixth.

After Marte singled home a pair of runs, the Diamondbacks got another run on Abner Uribe’s wild pitch and extended the advantage on Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s RBI single.


Stott hits slam as Phillies sweep

Bryson Stott hit the second grand slam in Phillies postseason history and Aaron Nola was masterful on the mound as Philadelphia rolled to a 7-1 win over the Miami Marlins for a two-game sweep.

J.T. Realmuto also went deep, and the Phillies will face the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS for the second straight season after last year’s series win in four games.

Nola limited Miami to three hits over seven scoreless innings, getting an inning-ending double play in the fifth.

Already leading 3-0, Stott’s blast off Andrew Nardi in the sixth all but assured the Phillies of advancing.


Rangers finish sweep of punchless Rays

Adolis Garcia and rookie Evan Carter homered to back Nathan Eovaldi’s stellar start as the Texas Rangers secured a spot in the AL Division Series with a 7-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Rangers outscored the Rays 11-1 in a pair of wins and won a postseason series for the first time since 2011, when they reached the World Series.

Texas will open the ALDS on Saturday against the Baltimore Orioles.

Eovaldi gave up six hits over 6 2/3 innings while walking none with eight strikeouts to beat Tampa Bay for the third time this season.

The Rays’ postseason losing streak reached seven straight, as they were bounced in the Wild Card Series for the second consecutive year.

Garcia led off the fourth with a home run against Zach Eflin, igniting a four-run inning.

Leody Tavares singled with two outs, stole second and scored on Josh Jung’s triple. The 20-year-old Carter followed with a home run to right for a 4-0 lead.

Adolis Garcia, Mitch Garver and Nathaniel Lowe hit consecutive solo home runs in the sixth inning to rally the Texas Rangers to a 5-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Monday that extended the American League West leaders' winning streak to six games.

Marcus Semien added a solo homer in the seventh inning to help back six sharp innings from Jon Gray as Texas reduced its magic number to win the division to four. The Rangers maintained a 2 1/2-game lead over second-place Houston with less than a week remaining in the regular season.

Garcia, Garver and Lowe's back-to-back-to-back homers off Jimmy Herget erased a 1-0 deficit, and Semien belted his third homer in two games an inning later to increase the lead to 4-1.

Texas had a season-high six homers in Sunday's 9-8 win over AL West rival Seattle and now has 227 for the season, surpassing the Angels' 225 for the most in the AL.

Gray ended a seven-start winless drought by holding the Angels to one run on five hits while recording seven strikeouts. The right-hander had gone 0-3 with a 6.46 ERA during that stretch.

Logan O'Hoppe finished 2 for 4 and accounted for Los Angeles' lone run with a solo homer in the second inning.

Angels starter Patrick Sandoval threw three scoreless innings before exiting with tightness in his right oblique. The left-hander walked the first two hitters of the fourth prior to departing.


Verlander dominates Mariners as Astros increase gap in AL wild card race

Justin Verlander took a shutout into the ninth inning in his best start since rejoining the Houston Astros, who increased their lead on the Seattle Mariners for the AL's third wild card with Monday's 5-1 win.

Verlander yielded just two hits and struck out eight until permitting a leadoff double to Josh Rojas to begin the bottom of the ninth. The three-time AL Cy Young Award winner was then removed after 96 pitches.

Rojas ended up scoring Seattle's lone run on a sacrifice fly from Julio Rodriguez.

Verlander helped the Astros to two World Series titles over four-plus seasons before signing with the New York Mets in December. The 40-year-old was traded back to Houston on Aug. 1.

Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker had solo home runs to help Houston win the opener of this important three-game series. The Astros are now 1 1/2 games up on the Mariners for the final wild card and trail the first-place Texas Rangers by 2 1/2 games in the AL West.

Martin Maldonado went 2 for 3 and delivered an RBI double during a three-run second inning that staked Verlander to an early lead. Mauricio Dubon and Jose Altuve added RBI singles during the frame.

Luis Castillo struck out eight over six innings for Seattle, which has now lost four in a row, but allowed all five Houston runs.


Diamondbacks fall to Yankees, drop into tie for NL's second wild card

Oswald Peraza, Estevan Florial and Everson Pereira had eighth-inning RBIs as the New York Yankees rallied for a 6-4 win over Arizona that dropped the Diamondbacks into a tie for the NL’s second wild card spot.

The loss sent the Diamondbacks into a tie with the idle Chicago Cubs in the wild card standings with both teams one game ahead of the Miami Marlins. 

The Yankees, who overcame deficits three times in the game, trailed 4-3 entering their half of the eighth but tagged Kevin Ginkel for three runs to take the lead for good. Clay Holmes then pitched a perfect ninth for his 22nd save of the season.

Youngsters Peraza and Austin Wells homered to help the Yankees earn two wins in the three-game series.

Arizona’s Merrill Kelly needed 96 pitches to navigate five innings, but allowed just two runs while striking out five and leaving with the game tied.

Alek Thomas knocked in two runs for the Diamondbacks, while Corbin Carroll finished 3 for 5 with an RBI.




Marcus Semien had two of a season-high six home runs for the Texas Rangers, who held on for a 9-8 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday to extend their lead atop the American League West.

Corey Seager, Adolis Garcia, Leody Tavares and Evan Carter also homered to help the Rangers complete a three-game sweep of their division rival and fellow playoff contender. Texas has now won five in a row overall to increase its lead over slumping Houston to 2 1/2 games, with the Mariners now three games back in the AL West race.

The Astros were dealt a 6-5 defeat to Kansas City as the 102-loss Royals finished a stunning three-game sweep in Houston. The defending World Series champions did remain a half-game ahead of Seattle for the AL's final wild card spot. 

Seager's 33rd homer of the season, a two-run shot off Bryan Woo, gave Texas a 3-2 lead in the third inning. The Rangers went deep three more times in the bottom of the fourth, which Garcia led off with his 36th home run before Tavares later launched a two-run blast to chase Woo and extend the margin to 6-2.

Semien, who led off the bottom of the first with a home run, connected again later in the fourth to increase Texas' lead to five runs.

Seattle scored three times in the top of the sixth before Carter's two-run shot in the bottom of the inning put the Rangers up 9-5, but the Mariners closed the gap once more as Teoscar Hernandez, Jarred Kelenic and Eugenio Suarez delivered consecutive RBI singles in the seventh to cut the lead to one.

The Mariners weren't able to score off relievers Jonathan Hernandez, Brock Burke and Jose Leclerc in the final two innings, however, despite putting the tying run in scoring position in both frames.

Hernandez and J.P. Crawford had solo homers for Seattle, while Hernandez, Kelenic and Suarez each drove in two runs.


Blue Jays take series from Rays to strengthen playoff hopes

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. homered twice and George Springer added a three-run, inside-the-park shot that helped the Toronto Blue Jays to a 9-5 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Bo Bichette also homered as the Blue Jays took two of three from the playoff-bound Rays in the weekend series and increased their lead in the race for the AL's second wild card. Toronto now holds a two-game advantage over Houston and leads Seattle by 2 1/2 games.

Toronto scored five times in the second inning, highlighted by Springer's third career inside-the-park homer, to take a 5-2 lead. The Rays got a run back in the fourth before Guerrero restored the three-run margin with a solo blast off Tampa starter Taj Bradley in the sixth.

Isaac Paredes' 30th homer of the season, a two-run shot in the seventh, cut the Rays' deficit to 6-5, but Daulton Varsho's RBI triple in the eighth gave Toronto some insurance before Bichette and Guerrero connected on back-to-back homers in the ninth.

Whit Merrifield added a two-run single for Toronto, which has won seven of its last nine to boost its chances for a second straight postseason appearance.

Paredes finished 2 for 4 with three RBIs to lead the Rays offensively. Bradley pitched a career-high seven innings but surrendered six runs. 


Diamondbacks eliminate Yankees, keep hold on NL's second wild card

Zac Gallen threw six scoreless innings as the Arizona Diamondbacks maintained their grasp on the National League's second wild card spot with a 7-1 win over the New York Yankees, who will now officially miss the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

Gallen yielded just three hits and struck out eight to notch his 17th victory of the season and keep Arizona a half-game ahead of the Chicago Cubs for the second wild card. The Cubs earned a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday to maintain a one-game edge on the Miami Marlins for the No. 3 wild card.

Christian Walker and Evan Longoria each drove in two runs to back Gallen, while Gabriel Moreno went 2 for 5 with an RBI double to help the Diamondbacks (82-73) secure their first winning season since 2019.

The Yankees, who have lost four of six and are now just one game over .500 (78-77), did not score until Jake Bauers doubled to lead off the bottom of the ninth and later crossed the plate on a bases-loaded walk to Aaron Judge. 

New York starter Carlos Rodon was charged with five runs - three earned - over 6 1/3 innings. 


The Texas Rangers' playoff push won't include Max Scherzer.

And should the Rangers make the postseason, it's unlikely the three-time Cy Young Award winner will be able to pitch then, either.

Scherzer is being shut down for the rest of the regular season because of a strained muscle in his pitching shoulder, the Rangers announced on Wednesday.

Texas general manager Chris Young added that should the Rangers make the playoffs, it's still unlikely he'd be able to pitch.


The 39-year-old Scherzer won't need surgery and will be evaluated in two weeks.

The MLB regular season ends in 2 1/2 weeks on October 1.

Scherzer exited Tuesday's 6-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays with one out in the sixth inning with what was then described as a right triceps spasm. The eight-time All-Star had not allowed a run while scattering three hits and striking out two.

With the win, the Rangers moved a half-game ahead of the Blue Jays for the second wild-card spot in the AL. Texas entered play Wednesday one game behind the Houston Astros for first place in the AL West.

Acquired at the trade deadline from the New York Mets, Scherzer went 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA and 53 strikeouts over 45 innings in eight starts for Texas. He finishes his 16th season in the majors with a 13-6 record to go with a 3.77 ERA in 27 starts, striking out 174 in 152 2/3 innings.

Scherzer is in the second year of a three-year, $130 million contract he signed with the Mets in November 2021. The contract includes an opt-out after the current season. If he declines to opt out, then he’ll be under contract for 2024 at a salary of $43.3 million.

Jose Abreu had two home runs and seven RBIs and Justin Verlander outpitched former teammate Max Scherzer to power the Houston Astros to a 12-3 rout of the Texas Rangers and a three-game sweep on Wednesday.

The game was billed as a marquee pitching matchup between Verlander and Scherzer, who both began this season with the New York Mets and were also teammates with Detroit from 2010-14.

The pitcher’s duel never materialised, however, as the Astros roughed up Scherzer for seven runs – all on home runs - and six hits over three innings.

Abreu’s grand slam in the third inning was the third homer against Scherzer, who also was taken deep by Yordan Alvarez in the first inning and by Michael Brantley in the second.

Rangers All-Star slugger Adolis Garcia was injured trying to make a leaping catch at the wall on Brantley’s homer.

He jammed his right leg hard after coming down to the ground, and the Rangers said he had knee discomfort.

Verlander scattered four hits and one earned run over seven innings. He struck out six and walked one for his fifth win in his past six starts.

The sweep put Houston in sole possession of the AL West lead for the first time this season, one game ahead of Seattle.

Marcus Semien hit a pair of solo homers for Texas, which has lost 15 of 19 to fall three games behind the Astros.


Surging Cubs finish sweep of reeling Giants

Seiya Suzuki had a bases-clearing double and Cody Bellinger homered to lead the Chicago Cubs to an 8-2 win over the San Francisco Giants.

Chicago won its fourth straight to move a season-best 12 games over .500 and pulled within 1 ½ games of NL Central-leading Milwaukee.

Rookie Jordan Wicks allowed two runs and nine hits over 6 2/3 innings to improve to 3-0 with a 2.16 ERA in his first three major league starts.

The Giants lost their sixth straight and fell 2 ½ games behind the third and final NL wild-card spot.


Marlins rout Dodgers for 6th straight win

Joey Wendle had four RBIs and fell a triple shy of the cycle as the Miami Marlins won their sixth in a row, 11-4 over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The victory came after the Marlins placed reigning Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara and All-Star slugger Jorge Soler on the injured list earlier in the day.

Wendle, Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Jesus Sanchez homered during Miami’s 9-run fifth inning against Lance Lynn.

Jacob Stallings had two hits in the inning for the Marlins, who moved ahead of Cincinnati into the third wild-card spot.

Jose Altuve hit home runs in each of his first three plate appearances, Framber Valdez threw seven strong innings and the Houston Astros routed the Texas Rangers 14-1 Tuesday.

With the win and Seattle Mariners’ loss, the Astros pulled into sole possession of first place in the AL West for the first time this season.

Altuve hit all three of his homers in the first three innings, one-upping the two home runs he hit in Monday’s series opener. The 2017 AL MVP has five deep balls in the last two games after hitting just one in his previous 21 games.

Altuve’s first two round-trippers came against Nathan Eovaldi, who lasted just 1 1/3 innings in his return from a six-week stint on the injured list.

Martin Maldonado added two home runs for the Astros, and Yordan Alvarez hit one.

Valdez kept the Rangers’ bats quiet most of the night, allowing one run and six hits over seven innings.

Houston (79-61) have a two-game lead over Texas (76-62) in baseball’s closest division race. Seattle (77-61) sits between, one game back of the Astros.

Wednesday’s series finale features a matchup of three-time Cy Young Award winners when the Astros send Justin Verlander to the mound to face the Rangers’ Max Scherzer.


Stanton hits 400th HR, Yankees back to .500

Giancarlo Stanton scorched a line-drive for his 400th career home run and the New York Yankees beat the Detroit Tigers 5-1 for their seventh win in their last eight games.

Stanton’s two-run blast off Jose Ciserno in the sixth inning broke a 1-1 tie and made him the 58th slugger to reach 400 home runs in a career.

Gerrit Cole produced another quality start, allowing one run and eight hits over six innings. Cole has bolstered his case for the AL Cy Young Award by winning each of his last three starts and dropping his season ERA to 2.90.

New York (69-69) got back to .500 with the win but remains in last place in the AL East and are 7 ½ games back of a wild card spot.


Reds rally late to edge Mariners

Nick Martini hit a game-tying three-run homer in the eighth inning, Christian Encarnacion-Strand delivered the winning RBI in the ninth and the Cincinnati Reds rallied for a 7-6 walk-off win over the Seattle Mariners.

The Reds trailed 6-3 with one out in the eighth before Martini came off the bench to tie the game with one swing. An inning later, Encarnacion-Strand’s single drove in Elly De La Cruz from second base.

Cincinnati survived a big night from Seattle’s Julio Rodriguez, who had two home runs and four RBIs. Teoscar Hernandez also went deep for the Mariners, giving him six homers in his last 10 games.

The dramatic win kept the Reds (73-68) slotted for the NL’s final wild card spot, remaining half a game ahead of the Miami Marlins.

Matt Wallner had a three-run triple in the first inning and the Minnesota Twins rolled to a 12-2 rout of the reeling Texas Rangers on Friday in a game that saw the benches clear.

Rangers starter Dane Dunning walked three of the first four batters and eventually walked the bases loaded before Wallner cleared them to put the Twins up 3-0.

Jeffers capped the four-run first with an RBI single and was later hit by Dunning in the third inning.

Minnesota starter Sonny Gray hit former Twin Mitch Garver in the fourth and players from both teams and bullpens convened around home plate and the pitcher’s mound before order was restored.

The Twins essentially sealed the win with a six-run seventh.

Carlos Correa began the inning with a home run and Donovan Solano had an RBI single before Edouard Julien crushed a 435-foot, three-run homer to make it 10-1.

Max Kepler hit a home run off Texas catcher Austin Hedges in the eighth.

Gray allowed one run and six hits over seven innings.

The Rangers walked eight and hit three batters in their eighth straight loss, dropping them into a tie with Seattle for the AL West lead.


Diamonbacks stay hot despite Pham’s lost home run

Tommy Pham lost a home run on a bizarre fan interference, but Jace Peterson drove in three runs and the Arizona Diamondbacks won their sixth straight, 10-8 over the Cincinnati Reds.

With Arizona leading 8-4 in the seventh inning, Pham sent a towering shot to the wall in left that Reds outfielder Spencer Steer caught as he reached over the wall. But a kid in the stands reached into Steer’s glove and pulled the ball out.

The home run was negated after the review.

Arizona has won eight of nine to move a one-half game ahead of the Cubs for the second NL wild card.

Nick Martini hit his first two home runs of the year and Will Benson had a ninth-inning grand slam for the Reds, who dropped a game behind the Cubs in the wild-card race.


Bautista’s injury overshadows Orioles’ win

Rookie Gunnar Henderson hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning and the Baltimore Orioles rallied to beat the Colorado Rockies 5-4 in a win that was marred by an apparent injury to All-Star closer Felix Bautista.

Bautista retired the first two batters in the ninth but slipped awkwardly off the mound after delivering a pitch to Michael Toglia.

Manager Brandon Hyde said Bautista left with “arm discomfort” and was “still being checked out.”

Ryan Mountcastle and Austin Hays also homered as Baltimore won its 80th game and moved three games ahead of second-place Tampa Bay in the AL East.

The Texas Rangers overcame a three-run deficit to extend their winning streak to a season-high seven games with Monday's 5-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics.

Mitch Garver led the comeback by going 3 for 4 with a two-run double, and the Rangers scored twice in the eighth inning to break a 3-3 tie and increase their lead over the second-place Houston Astros to three games in the American League West.

After drawing even in the seventh inning with the help of an Oakland error that led to the tying run, Texas put its first two runners on against reliever Dany Jimenez in the eighth before Travis Jankowski drove in pinch-runner Jonathan Ornelas with an RBI fielder's choice. 

Leody Tavares followed with a sacrifice fly to increase the lead to 5-3 before relievers Aroldis Chapman and Will Smith kept the Athletics off the board over the final two innings. Smith notched his 21st save with a scoreless ninth.

Zach Gelof had a two-run double for Oakland, which has the majors' worst record at 32-81 but was coming off a two-game sweep of the Bay Area-rival San Francisco Giants.

A's starter Ken Waldichuk was in line for the win after holding the Rangers to two runs over six innings and striking out seven. 


Twins win fifth straight to increase AL Central lead

The Rangers aren't the only AL division leader on an impressive run, as the Minnesota Twins won their fifth consecutive game with Monday's 9-3 rout of the Detroit Tigers.

Carlos Correa went 2 for 3 with a home run and four RBIs for Minnesota, while Pablo Lopez struck out eight over seven scoreless innings as the AL Central-leading Twins increased their lead over second-place Cleveland to 5 1/2 games. The Guardians were dealt a 3-1 loss by the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday.

Ryan Jeffers added a three-run homer to help the Twins back Lopez with an 8-0 lead after 2 1/2 innings. Each of those runs came against Tigers starter Joey Wentz, who was tagged for 10 hits and lasted only three innings.

Detroit didn't score until Nick Maton delivered a three-run homer in the ninth. Riley Greene and Kerry Carpenter each recorded two hits for the Tigers.


Betts' grand slam highlights Dodgers' drubbing of Padres

Mookie Betts capped an eight-run fourth inning with a grand slam as the Los Angeles Dodgers rallied for a 13-7 win over the San Diego Padres in the finale of a four-game series between the National League West foes.

The division-leading Dodgers trailed 5-0 before breaking out against Padres starter Seth Lugo in the fourth en route to their sixth win in seven games.

David Peralta began the comeback with an RBI double and Jason Heyward later knocked in two runs with a double to cut San Diego's lead to 5-3. After Miguel Rojas' bases-loaded single brought in another run, Betts sent Lugo's final pitch of the day into the left field seats for his 31st homer of the season and an 8-5 Los Angeles advantage.

Kike Hernandez tacked on a solo homer in the sixth inning for the Dodgers, while James Outman finished 4 for 4 with two runs scored. Heyward, Peralta and Max Muncy each contributed two RBIs to help Los Angeles maintain a four-game lead on second-place San Francisco in the NL West.

Lugo was charged with eight runs and eight hits before exiting with one out in the fourth.

Luis Campusano paced the Padres offensively by going 4 for 4 with two homers and four RBIs, while Fernando Tatis Jr. had a two-run double in defeat.


The Texas Rangers are now riding a six-game winning streak, but may be without All-Star third baseman Josh Jung for a while after he fractured his left thumb in Sunday's 6-0 victory over the Miami Marlins.

Jung was injured after a scorching line drive off the bat of Miami's Jorge Soler hit his glove in the sixth inning, though he was able to pick up the ball and start a double play before being removed from the contest shortly after.

The rookie is the second Texas All-Star infielder to hurt his thumb within the last three weeks. Shortstop Corey Seager missed nine games with a sprained right thumb before returning Aug. 2, but is still dealing with effects from the injury and missed Sunday's contest.

Ezequiel Duran replaced Jung and had one of four Rangers homers to back 5 2/3 scoreless innings from Andrew Heaney. Nathaniel Lowe, Marcus Semien and Adolis Garcia also went deep to help Texas sweep the three-game series and hand the slumping Marlins a fourth straight loss.

Heaney held Miami to four hits and two walks to win his third consecutive start.

2022 National League Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara was dealt his 10th defeat of the season for Miami, which dropped to 5-16 since the All-Star break. The right-hander allowed five runs - four earned - while striking out seven in six innings. 


Surging Cubs down MLB-best Braves for sixth straight series win

Ian Happ and Dansby Swanson each drove in two runs as the Chicago Cubs remained hot with a 6-4 victory over the MLB-leading Atlanta Braves.

The Cubs scored three times in the fifth inning to erase a 3-2 deficit en route to their fifth win in six games. Chicago is 15-4 since July 18 and has now won six consecutive series after taking two of three from Atlanta over the weekend.

Sunday's win moved the Cubs within 1 1/2 games of the first-place Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.

Happ tied the game at 3-3 in the fifth with an RBI single before scoring the go-ahead run on a double from Cody Bellinger, who later crossed the plate on Jeimer Candelario's two-out single for a 5-3 advantage.

The rally helped Cubs starter Justin Steele improve to 13-3 on the season after the All-Star pitcher gave up four runs - three earned - and struck out seven in 5 1/3 innings.

Matt Olson hit his 39th home run - one shy of Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani for the major league lead, and knocked in three runs for the Braves.

Atlanta's Charlie Morton struggled again by surrendering five runs and issuing four walks in 4 1/3 innings. The veteran has now lost four straight starts and has a 7.32 ERA during that stretch.


Rookie Schneider makes history in Blue Jays' rout of Red Sox

Davis Schneider went 4 for 5 with a home run and four RBIs to continue a historic start to his major league career in the Toronto Blue Jays' 13-1 drubbing of the Boston Red Sox.

Schneider is now 9 for 13 with a pair of homers through his first three MLB games. The 24-year-old second baseman is the first player in MLB history to begin a career with nine hits and two home runs over three games.

Matt Chapman added two hits and three RBIs as Toronto completed a three-game sweep of its American League East rivals. The Red Sox are now five games back of the Blue Jays for the AL's final wild card spot.

Toronto also received a strong pitching outing from Chris Bassitt, who scattered seven hits and struck out six while allowing one run in seven innings.

Triston Casas accounted for the Red Sox' lone run with a solo homer off Bassitt in the fourth inning.

Corey Seager's sprained right thumb healed even faster than the Texas Rangers had anticipated.

The Rangers activated Seager from the 10-day injured list Wednesday ahead of their game against the Chicago White Sox.

Just earlier in the day, Rangers general manager Chris Young told reporters that the All-Star shortstop had a chance to come off the IL later this week.

Turns out, it was just a few hours later he would be back in the Rangers' lineup.



Seager was placed on the IL on July 22, a day after he jammed his hand on an awkward head-first slide to beat out a double in the eighth inning of the Rangers' 11-5 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

X-rays after the game were negative, and an MRI revealed no structural damage.

The Rangers went 3-6 with Seager on the IL, and entered play Wednesday, one-half game ahead of the Houston Astros for first place in the AL West.

This ended up being Seager's second trip to the IL this season after he missed 31 games from mid-April to mid-May with a left hamstring strain.

Seager is hitting .350, which would be good enough to lead the American League in batting, but he doesn't have enough plate appearances to qualify because of his earlier trip to the IL.

Prior to exiting the July 21 game, Seager hit his 15th homer of the season and team-leading 29th double - tied for third most in the AL.

Seager, who was selected to his fourth All-Star game earlier this year, is in the second season of a $325million, 10-year deal with the Rangers.

The Texas Rangers made a major move in their push for the playoffs Saturday, agreeing to a trade with the New York Mets for ace Max Scherzer.

The deal is still pending Scherzer’s approval and there are still financial issues that need to be worked out for the deal to be completed.

The 39-year-old Scherzer is 9-4 with a 4.01 ERA in 19 starts this season for the disappointing Mets. He has 121 strikeouts in 107 2/3 innings and has allowed an NL-high 23 home runs.

The Rangers, who lead the AL West, have been hit hard by the season-ending injury to former Met Jacob deGrom, their marquee offseason addition. Scherzer would join a rotation led by All-Star Nathan Eovaldi, Andrew Heaney, Jon Gray, Martin Perez and Dane Dunning.

Scherzer said Friday that he expected to have discussions with Mets owner Steve Cohen and the team’s front office before Tuesday’s deadline.

Scherzer is a three-time Cy Young Award winner in the second year of a three-year, $130 million contract he signed with the Mets in November 2021. The contract includes an opt-out after the current season. If he declines to opt out, then he’ll be under contract for 2024 at a salary of $43.3 million.

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