The San Diego Padres tied up the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers with a nail-biting 5-3 victory in a game that included five solo home runs on Wednesday.

Manny Machado played a key role going two-for-five, including a first-inning solo homer along with a third-inning RBI, while Jurickson Profar got his fifth RBI this postseason to put the Padres up 4-3 in the sixth inning.

Jake Cronenworth added another with a solo blast over right-field in the eighth inning before Josh Hader closed it out.

Yu Darvish pitched five innings with seven strikeouts but allowed seven hits and three runs.

The Dodgers had their chances, with nine batters left on base, while they did not have a hit with a runner in scoring position all night.

Freddie Freeman, Max Muncy and Trea Turner all scored solo home runs for the Dodgers. Freeman, who went two-for-four, got on base with a ninth-inning double but Will Smith was caught short of the wall in right-field by Juan Soto to end it.

Clayton Kershaw had six K's across five innings for the Dodgers, restoring his position as the MLB's all-time leading postseason strikeout leader with 213.

Pitcher Brusdar Graterol made a key play down 4-3 in the sixth inning, throwing out Wil Myers at home from a Trent Grisham bunt, but the Dodgers could not capitalise with the Padres' bullpen again exceptional, led by Robert Suarez.

The next two games of the NLDS are at Petco Park where the Padres will be playing in front of their fans in a postseason game for the first time since 2006.

Wright leads Braves to level up with Phillies

Kyle Wright threw six stellar innings as the Atlanta Braves squared the NLDS as they blanked the Philadelphia Phillies 3-0.

After a lengthy rain delay, Wright allowed only two hits with one walk, whilst striking out six Phillies, before reliever A.J. Minter pitched a perfect seventh inning.

The Braves piled on all three runs in the sixth inning with three consecutive two-out singles, as Ronald Acuna Jr overcame a 96mph fastball from Zack Wheeler to his elbow to break the tie, driven in by Matt Olson whose line hit got by first baseman Rhys Hoskins on an in-between hop.

Austin Riley's gentle dribble got Dansby Swanson to home plate, before Travis d'Arnaud grounded to center-field to drive in Olson.

Aaron Judge stands alone at the top of home run history in the American League after breaking Roger Maris' 61-year single-season homer record with his 62nd blast in the New York Yankees' 3-2 loss to the Texas Rangers on Tuesday.

Judge, who had hit just one homer in his previous 13 games coming in, blasted a 1-1 slider off Rangers' pitcher Jesus Tinoco over the left-field fence for a lead-off homer to break the mark.

The Yankees outfielder's home run was his 62nd of the season, surpassing Maris' 61-homer mark from 1961, which he had matched last Wednesday against the Toronto Blue Jays.

The blast came in the Yankees' penultimate game of the regular season, with Judge's 62 homers sitting seventh for most in a single season in MLB history.

Ahead of Judge are only three players, all from 1997 to 2001; Barry Bonds (73 in 2001), Mark McGwire (70 in 1999 and 65 in 1999) and Sammy Sosa (66 in 1998, 64 in 2001, 63 in 1999).

The home run means 11 of Judge's past 14 blasts have come on the road. Gerrit Cole also made franchise history, reaching 257 strikeouts for the most in a single season for the Yankees.

The Yankees were beaten after the Rangers added two fifth-inning runs, with the visitors having won the first game in the double header 5-4 when Judge went one-for-five with a single.

Braves complete turnaround to clinch NL East

Following their sweep over the New York Mets, the Atlanta Braves clinched their fifth straight National League (NL) East title with a 2-1 victory over the Miami Marlins.

William Contreras drove in the go-ahead run in the fifth inning with an infield single, earning the reigning world champions a first-round bye as the NL second seed. The achievement comes after the Braves had trailed the Mets by 10-and-a-half games in June.

Jake Odorizzi had seven strikeouts across five innings, while Kenley Jansen recorded his 41st save with a perfect ninth inning. Ronald Acuna Jr hit a second-inning single to give the Braves an early lead.

AL seeds locked in as Verlander stars for Astros

The Seattle Mariners locked in the number five seed in the AL playoffs with a 7-6 walkoff win over the Detroit Tigers, highlighted by back-up catcher Luis Torrens pitching the 10th inning.

Entering extras ahead of the postseason, the Mariners shuffled their deck, with Torrens becoming the first position player other than Shohei Ohtani to earn a win since John Baker in 2014 for the Chicago Cubs. Abraham Toro's sacrifice fly allowed Carlos Santana to score the walkoff run.

That result meant the Tampa Bay Rays were locked for the third AL Wild Card spot, not helped by a 6-0 loss to the Boston Red Sox where Xander Bogaerts delivered a fifth-inning grand slam.

Meanwhile, the Houston Astros go into the postseason as the AL top seed after a 10-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies where Cy Young Award favourite Justin Verlander had 10 K's and kept the opposition hitless until the ninth inning.

The red-hot Atlanta Braves have now won 10 of their past 11 games after defeating the Houston Astros 6-2 on Friday, with their top-three batters combining for seven hits.

After two scoreless innings to begin the game, the Braves' big-three delivered, with singles to Ronald Acuna Jr and Dansby Swanson followed by a three-run home run to National League MVP candidate Austin Riley.

It was Riley's 31st dinger of the season, which ties him for third in the majors, and his 267 total bases trails only New York Yankees superstar Aaron Judge (285).

The Astros fought back in the fifth inning as Kyle Tucker launched a 445-foot solo moon shot, and Jose Altuve delivered an RBI single later in the same frame to cut the margin to 3-2.

But an inning later the Braves re-established their dominance, as Swanson came through with a two-run double, and Matt Olson's sacrifice fly made it 6-2.

The Atlanta bullpen was flawless after coming in to relieve Kyle Wright, who was credited with his 15th win of the season for giving up two runs in six complete innings, striking out seven.

In relief, Collin McHugh and Kenley Jansen combined to allow just one hit and no walks from the final three innings, striking out five of the 10 batters they faced.

The Braves own the third-best record in the National League at 74-47, five-and-a-half games back from the New York Mets (77-43) and nine games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers (81-36).

Yankees cold streak continues

The New York Yankees have not won a series since July, and they will not win their current slate against the Toronto Blue Jays after dropping the first two of the four-game series, getting shut out 4-0 on Friday.

Blue Jays ace Kevin Gausman was at the top of his game, making it through seven complete innings while only allowing four hits and one walk, striking out seven.

The most significant swing of the bat came from Teoscar Hernandez, who sent Jameson Taillon's pitch 421 feet over the center-field wall in the fourth inning, while Vladimir Guerrero Jr became the youngest in Blue Jays history to reach 500 hits.

McKenzie strikes out 14 in Guardians win

The Cleveland Guardians may be unearthing their ace of the future as 25-year-old starter Triston McKenzie struck out 14 batters in his side's 5-2 win against the Chicago White Sox.

McKenzie, standing at six-foot-five, has the seventh-best WHIP (walks and hits per inning) in the majors, and has now struck out at least six batters in four of his past six starts, including an eight-inning, 12-strikeout, shut-out performance against the Detroit Tigers last month.

With the bat, Cleveland's most valuable player Jose Ramirez hit his 23rd home run of the season, and rookie Steven Kwan collected an RBI triple to raise his batting average to over .300 for the season. 

Atlanta Braves superstar Ronald Acuna Jr and New York Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton were both absent from their teams' line-ups on Wednesday as they battle minor injuries.

Acuna, 24, returned at the beginning of May from a knee reconstruction that ended his 2021 season, and has looked largely like the two-time All-Star and Rookie of the Year that he is, even though his power numbers are down.

He had every intention of playing when he went to bed on Tuesday, but he reportedly woke up on Wednesday with tightness in his quad, before an MRI revealed a grade-one strain. He is considered day-to-day.

Stanton, on the other hand, has been placed on the 10-day injured list with what the team originally called a "right calf strain", before changing it to "right ankle inflammation". 

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said while any injury is frustrating, he feels the prognosis for Stanton is positive.

"I feel like we got good news," he said. "The Achilles is fine, and no strain. 

"So [we] just feel like this is something that's going to be short, and like we should knock it out and not mess with it and maybe it becomes something else. 

"Hopefully he got out in front of it a little bit, and hopefully it's just 10 days."

The Boston Red Sox offense enjoyed a game of season highs as they destroyed the Chicago White Sox 16-3 on Tuesday, led by the in-form Trevor Story.

The Red Sox piled on a season-high 16 runs, along with a season-high 19 hits, nine extra-base hits and four home runs with all nine batters having a hit.

Kike Hernandez, who finished with two runs, two hits and two RBIs, started it off with a lead-off homer, followed by Story with a three-run blast to open up a 4-0 first-innings lead.

The punishment did not stop, with Rafael Devers homering in the fourth inning, while Christian Vazquez delivered a three-run effort in the fifth.

J.D. Martinez went four-for-five for three runs and one RBI, while Story and Vazquez both had four RBIs for the game.

Martinez has an American League-best average of .366, while Story has eight home runs including six in his past five games.

Trevino snaps Yankees skid

The New York Yankees snapped their three-game skid with a walk-off 7-6 win over the Baltimore Orioles led by Jose Trevino.

Trevino homered in the third inning and drove in three runs for the game, including a game-winning RBI in the 11th.

The win was the Yankees' fifth walk-off victory of the season and ended an alarming run of losses to improve to a 30-13 record atop the AL East.

Wild end as Braves rally to victory

The Atlanta Braves rallied in a wild ninth-inning thriller to get past the Philadelphia Phillies 6-5 on William Contreras' walk-off single in center field.

The Phillies entered the ninth down 4-3, but Bryce Harper's two-run blast put them up, before the Braves levelled it up when Ronald Acuna's sacrifice fly was dropped, allowing Dansby Swanson home.

From the next at-bat, Contreras' drive to center field off Nick Nelson was enough for Acuna, on second base, to get the walk-off run.

Minnesota Twins pitcher Josh Winder etched his name into the history books on Friday night as he guided his team to a 2-1 win against the Oakland Athletics.

Winder, 25, in his second career start, pitched six shutout innings, giving up three hits and no walks with eight strikeouts. It comes after allowing just two hits and one walk from six scoreless innings in his first start against the Tampa Bay Rays.

He is the first pitcher since ERA became an official stat in 1913 to have 15 strikeouts, no more than one walk and allow no earned runs over his first two career starts.

It was almost not enough for the Twins, who scored their two runs from two solo homers, courtesy of Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco. 

The Athletics cut the margin back to one when a fielding error allowed Cristian Pache to third base, where he would get brought home by a sacrifice fly, before Twins closer Emilio Pagan allowed a base hit and two walks to load the bases in the bottom of the ninth inning.

After a ground ball allowed the Twins to stop the third-base runner from getting to home plate, Pagan finished the job with a strikeout, sealing the victory and collecting the hard-earned save.

 

Trout delivers for Angels

AL MVP hopeful Shohei Ohtani's biggest competition for back-to-back trophies may be on his own team, as Mike Trout lifted the Los Angeles Angels to a 3-0 win against the Washington Nationals.

Reigning MVP Ohtani finished zero-for-three with a walk and an RBI, while three-time MVP Trout batted in two runs with a clutch double in the fifth inning.

It was a terrific performance by the Angels pitching staff, as starter Jhonathan Diaz gave up three hits and four walks through five scoreless frames, before the bullpen allowed just one hit and no walks the rest of the way.

Acuna bombs in Brewers win

Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr gave the home fans something to cheer for, despite going down 6-3 to the Milwaukee Brewers.

In his second game back in Atlanta after a long-term injury, Acuna blasted a 450-foot home run to center-field for his first since July, but a four-run sixth inning for the Brewers put the visitors in front, where they would stay.

Alek Manoah was in intimidating form on Thursday as the Toronto Blue Jays defeated their divisional-rival Boston Red Sox 1-0.

The 24-year-old Blue Jays starter gave up only three hits and struck out seven over 92 pitches in seven innings.

With Xander Bogaerts rested, the second-year pitcher was able to put the Red Sox batters under constant pressure, claiming first-pitch strikes on 15 of the 25 he faced.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. scored the winning run in the third inning, moving to second after a walk for Raimel Tapia and getting home via Alejandro Kirk's two-out single.

The Blue Jays moved 13-7 for the season, within a game of the New York Yankees atop the American League East.

Acuna returns for Braves

Ronald Acuna Jr. made his return for the Atlanta Braves, who defeated the Chicago Cubs 5-2.

The 24-year-old made was taken off the injured list after a 10-month absence from a torn ACL and was immediately inserted into the lineup, starting as leadoff hitter for the Braves.

The Venezuelan went without a hit from his first three at-bats, but finished one-for-five and stole two bases.

Halos continue impressive start

The Los Angeles Angels claimed their 12th win in 16 games and secured a four-game sweep of the Cleveland Guardians with a 4-1 victory on Thursday.

Rookie pitcher Reid Detmers struck out four and allowed two hits over 88 pitches in five innings, but most notable was the fact the Angels performed at the plate without big showings from Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani.

While Trout went zero-for-two at the plate and Ohtani was rested, Brandon Marsh had three hits and an RBI while Taylor Ward claimed two RBIs and a hit in the win.

The Atlanta Braves have activated star outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. from the injured list, where he had been since suffering a torn right ACL last July.

The Braves announced the move on Thursday after originally targeting a May 6 return date. The reigning World Series champions decided he was ready to be activated after Acuna went seven for 19 (.368) with one double, three stolen bases and six walks during a rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett.

The 24-year-old had been named to his second All-Star Game and was in the NL MVP conversation before injuring his knee while trying to make a leaping catch in the outfield at Marlins Park on July 10.

At the time of his injury, he had compiled a .283/.394/.596 slash line with 24 home runs and a league-leading 72 runs scored in 82 games.

The knee injury sidelined him for the final three months of the regular season and forced him to miss Atlanta’s run to the franchise’s first World Series championship since 1995.

The Braves are off to an 8-11 start to the 2022 season, already five and a half games behind the NL East-leading New York Mets. They will conclude a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday at Truist Park before embarking on a seven-game trip to face the Texas Rangers and Mets.

Ronald Acuna Jr. claimed he feels better than he ever has after returning from an ACL tear for the Triple-A Gwinnett Stripers.

The two-time All-Star suffered the serious knee injury last July and missed the Atlanta Braves' run to the World Series title.

Acuna led MLB with 72 runs in 2021 at the time of his injury and has had to stay patient in his rehabilitation, also sitting out the start of this season.

But the left fielder took a significant step forward on Tuesday in his first game back in the minors.

According to The Athletic, Acuna said he was "very good" and "ready to go" as he went one-for-three with a double in a 2-0 defeat to the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.

"I didn't know if I would come back and be the same," he added. "Now, I'm healthy again. Actually, I feel I'm better than I was."

The Braves have made a 6-7 start in 2022 but have an eight-game homestand starting on May 6, which Acuna could target.

"I hope sooner [than that]," he said.

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.

Ronald Acuna Jr feels around "70 per cent fit" in his recovery from a long-term knee injury but is happy to continue playing the role of cheerleader for the Atlanta Braves for the time being.

The 23-year-old was ruled out for the season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury sustained in July when attempting an outfield catch against the Miami Marlins.

Acuna was in MVP contention at the time of his injury with a .283 batting average, 24 home runs, 52 RBIs and 17 stolen bases.

While the two-time All-Star has been unable to help the Braves on the field, he has been present in the stands for Games 1 and 2 of his side's National League Championship Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Braves took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series after coming through in the bottom of the ninth inning for the second consecutive night on Sunday, Eddie Rosario's two-out single securing a 5-4 win in Game 2.

Watching on from the clubhouse has been a frustrating experience for Acuna but, just three months on from surgery on his damaged ACL, he will not rush his return to action.

"Honestly, this is one the hardest moments of my career, to be here at the stadium and not be able to join my team-mates out there," he said through an interpreter. 

"There's nothing you can do about that. So for me, it's just about being here and continuing to give support as if I was playing.

"I feel good, but in the same sense, I feel as good as I did about two months ago. It's kind of been a gradual process. 

"But if I had to put a percentage on it, I'd say I'm about 70 per cent. But that's just my personal opinion as far as I'm feeling. 

"But as far as the return and where I'm actually at, I leave those decisions up to the doctors and trainers.

"I don't have a date in mind. It's a knee. The knee is a big focal point in terms of structure and stability for any athlete. So I'm going to take my time with it for sure."

The Atlanta Braves have moved to replace the injured Ronald Acuna Jr after announcing they have acquired outfielder Joc Pederson in an exchange with the Chicago Cubs.

Pederson, 29, batted .230 (59-for-256) with 11 home runs in 73 games for the Cubs in the 2021 MLB season and is exchanged for first baseman Bryce Ball.

The acquisition of Pederson, who has competed in two Home Run Derbies, comes after Acuna tore his ACL attempting a catch last week, ruling him out for the remainder of the season.

Pederson was part of the Los Angeles Dodgers side who won the World Series last year, where he batted .382 (13-for-34) with two home runs.

Acuna tops the 2021 MLB charts for the Braves at .283, with 24 home runs, along with 72 runs.

The Braves are currently third in the National League East with a 44-45 record.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

All-Star Game starters:

American League

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

National League

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

The Arizona Diamondbacks ended a 17-game losing streak after upstaging the Milwaukee Brewers 5-1 in MLB on Monday.

After almost a month, the Diamondbacks returned to winning ways behind Merrill Kelly's solid pitching display at home to the Brewers.

Kelly only gave up one run, five hits and a walk with five strikeouts as the Diamondbacks celebrated a victory for the first time since June 1.

"It's definitely more fun winning than losing," Kelly said afterwards in Phoenix, with the Diamondbacks bottom of the National League (NL) West standings with the MLB's worst record (21-53).

 

Padres' Darvish makes history

Yu Darvish became the fastest pitcher to 1,500 strikeouts in fewer than 200 games. Darvish reached the milestone in the sixth inning of his 197th MLB game, surpassing Randy Johnson – who needed 206 appearances. Darvish allowed one run and two hits as the San Diego Padres trumped NL rivals and World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-2.

Jacob deGrom produced a trademark performance as the New York Mets topped the Atlanta Braves 4-2 in their opening game. DeGrom retired the first eight batters he faced – the Mets ace finishing with five shut-out innings. The two-time Cy Young award winner extended his scoreless streak to 30 innings, while lowering his MLB-leading ERA to 0.50.

 

Akin struggles against Astros

The Baltimore Orioles were routed 10-2 by the high-flying Houston Astros, who got on top of Keegan Akin. The Orioles pitcher was tagged with the loss after giving up six hits, five runs – all earned, four walks and a homer in just four innings.

 

Braves star Acuna at it again for

Ronald Acuna became the second player in MLB history to homer for the only run in a 1-0 victory on back-to-back days, according to Stats Perform. His lead-off shot in the fifth inning secured a 1-0 win over the Mets in the second game of a doubleheader.

 

Monday's results

New York Mets 4-2 Atlanta Braves
Atlanta Braves 1-0 New York Mets
Houston Astros 10-2 Baltimore Orioles
Cleveland Indians 4-0 Chicago Cubs
Texas Rangers 8-3 Oakland Athletics
Arizona Diamondbacks 5-1 Milwaukee Brewers
San Diego Padres 6-2 Los Angeles Dodgers
Minnesota Twins 7-5 Cincinnati Reds

 

Red Sox at Rays

It will be a clash of the best two teams in the American League (AL) East when the Boston Red Sox (43-29) open their series at the Tampa Bay Rays (43-30). Boston lead the AL East by a half-game. Andrew Kittredge starts for the Rays, while the Red Sox send Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound.

Kyle Schwarber equalled an MLB record after homering three times in the Washington Nationals' 5-2 win over the New York Mets on Sunday.

Schwarber hit a lead-off home run to start the game, adding further homers in the fifth and the seventh innings.

The trio of homers means Schwarzer has hit five home runs in his past two appearances, tying the major league record over a two-game span.

Schwarber also set a franchise record with nine homers in a 10-game span, moving up to 18 for the season.

"To be honest with you, I don't know what's going on,'' Schwarber said.

He added: "I'm a big believer that hitting is a feeling. Don't get me wrong, there's mechanical, there's approach, things like that but when you step in the box and everything feels right, you already have a big advantage.''

 

Acuna reaches century

Ronald Acuna Jr. also reached rare territory as the Atlanta Braves bounced back with a 1-0 win over the St Louis Cardinals in the second game of their doubleheader. After losing the opener 9-1, Acuna – who turns 24 in December – hit the decisive homer in the third inning of the second game, registering the 100th in his career. He joins an exclusive list of players who have hit 100 homers and 70 stolen bases before the age of 24 in the modern era, alongside Mike Trout, Alex Rodriguez, Andruw Jones and Ken Griffey Jr.

Shohei Ohtani homered again to move into the joint lead for the most home runs this season, alongside Toronto Blue Jays sensation Vladimir Guerrero Jr., with the 23rd of the campaign. The Los Angeles Angels still lost 5-3 to the Detroit Tigers.

Future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols hit the 673rd homer of his career in the Los Angeles Dodgers' 9-8 triumph at the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Houston Astros made it seven consecutive wins with their 8-2 victory over the high-flying Chicago White Sox, while the Colorado Rockies hit four homers in one inning but lost 7-6 to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Shed Long hit a rare walk-off grand slam as the Seattle Mariners beat the Tampa Bay Rays 6-2 and completed a sweep over the defending American League (AL) champions.

 

Padres sweating on Tatis injury

The National League's home run leader Fernando Tatis Jr. exited early after an injury to his left shoulder as the San Diego Padres completed a sweep over the Cincinnati Reds with a 3-2 win –the team's first four-game sweep of any franchise since 2011. Tatis hurt the shoulder, the same one which troubled him in spring training, while diving in the field.

 

Yankees' triple-play to clinch win

The New York Yankees finished their 2-1 win over the Oakland Athletics in style with a triple play. It was a record-tying third triple play for the Yankees this season, with Sean Murphy hitting straight to third to initiate the trio of outs. A's manager Bob Melvin said. "I've never seen a game end like that before."

 

Sunday's results

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

 

Dodgers at Padres

The in-form Dodgers (44-27) make the short trip to take on the Padres (42-32), who swept their four-game series against the Reds but have dropped five of their past 10 games and may be without Tatis.

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