The Atlanta Braves signed right-handed pitcher and free agent Charlie Morton following his exploits during the Tampa Bay Rays' run to the MLB World Series.

Morton returns to the Braves on a one-year, $15million deal, having been drafted by Atlanta in 2002, while he debuted in 2008 before leaving the following year.

The two-time All-Star played a key role as Tampa Bay reached the World Series for the first time in 12 years in the shortened season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Tampa Bay turned down a $15m club option as Morton opted to reunite with the Braves, who fell to eventual champions the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series (NLCS).

A World Series winner with the Houston Astros in 2017, Morton tallied 42 strikeouts and an ERA of 4.74 in nine regular-season appearances in 2020.

The 37-year-old stepped up in the playoffs, with 23 strikeouts and a 2.70 ERA in four games, while he had a 3-1 win-loss record.

Morton also became the only pitcher in MLB history with four winner-take-all victories after pitching 5.2 scoreless innings as the Rays prevailed in the American League Championship Series (ALCS).

"We saw him trending back to where he was in 2019," Braves president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos said. "In September and into the postseason, his stuff was back to where it was in 2019."

After debuting for the Braves 12 years ago, Morton was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2009 and he spent seven seasons at the NL franchise.

A brief spell with the Philadelphia Phillies followed before moving to the Astros and then the Rays in 2019.

Chicago White Sox star Jose Abreu and the Atlanta Braves' Freddie Freeman were crowned MLB MVPs of their respective leagues on Thursday.

Abreu (374) finished clear of the Cleveland Indians' Jose Ramirez (303) and New York Yankees' DJ LeMahieu (230) in voting for the American League (AL) MVP.

Another first baseman, Freeman was also a first-time MVP winner.

With 410 points, he beat Los Angeles Dodgers star Mookie Betts (268) and the San Diego Padres' Manny Machado (221) to the National League (NL) crown.

Abreu helped the White Sox reach the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

He had an AL-high 60 RBIs while hitting at .317, which ranked fourth, while his 19 home runs was the second most.

Abreu added the 2020 AL MVP to his three All-Star appearances, becoming the first White Sox player to win the award since Frank Thomas went back-to-back in 1993-94.

Freeman, meanwhile, guided the Braves to the NL Championship Series before they were edged by eventual champions the Dodgers.

His .341 batting average and 53 RBIs ranked second in the NL, while he also crushed 13 HRs, becoming the first Braves player to be named MVP since 1999.

Dave Roberts said there is "no better player" than Corey Seager after the National League Championship Series (NLCS) Most Valuable Player guided the Los Angeles Dodgers to their third World Series in four years.

The rallying Dodgers overcame a 3-1 NLCS deficit and early 2-0 hole in Game 7 to top the Atlanta Braves 4-3 in Sunday's decider in Texas.

Kike Hernandez tied the game in the sixth inning before Cody Bellinger hit the go-ahead homer in the seventh as the Dodgers – without a championship since 1988 – earned a showdown with the Tampa Bay Rays.

According to Stats Perform, the Dodgers became the first team in MLB history to hit both a game-tying and go-ahead homer in a Game 7 win.

Dodgers star Seager was crowned NLCS MVP after going nine-for-29 with five home runs and 11 RBIs in the series.

"He's healthy," Dodgers manager Roberts said. "He's been healthy. He's had a tremendous year, the experience that he's had in the postseason, all that stuff is lining up right now.

"There's just no better player."

Seager's five homers and 11 RBIs were NLCS records, while the two-time All-Star also surpassed Davey Lopes and Justin Turner for the most home runs (six) and RBIs (15) in a single postseason for the Dodgers.

Dodgers team-mate Hernandez also became the first pinch-hitter in MLB history to hit a game-tying or go-ahead home run in a winner-takes-all playoff game, per Stats Perform.

"It wasn't me, man," Seager told FOX. "It was this team. It was this whole team. Defensively, pitching, game-calling, planning, everything.

"We grinded all the way through this series. This wasn't an easy one, and we're glad to be on top."

Former American League (AL) MVP Mookie Betts – acquired from the Boston Red Sox at the start of the season after winning the 2018 World Series – also lauded Seager.

"It's been amazing," Betts, who robbed Freddie Freeman of a home run with a stunning catch in the fifth inning, said. "I didn't know much before I came over. I just knew he was a good shortstop, could swing it a little bit.

"Getting to see him day in and day out is definitely a blessing."

The Los Angeles Dodgers completed a stunning comeback against the Atlanta Braves as they reached the MLB World Series thanks to a 4-3 victory on Sunday.

National League (NL) top seeds the Dodgers trailed the Braves 3-1 in the NL Championship Series before rallying on Saturday to force a deciding Game 7.

The Dodgers also overturned a 2-0 deficit in the NLCS decider to earn their third World Series berth in four years – Kike Hernandez tying the game in the sixth inning before Cody Bellinger hit the go-ahead homer in the seventh.

American League (AL) top seeds the Tampa Bay Rays await in the World Series, which gets underway at Globe Life Field in Texas on Tuesday.

"We're resilient. Every day you see the line-up that we have and we've got Joc [Pederson] hitting eight and CT [Chris Taylor] hitting nine, we're like, 'We can do this, why can't we do this?' We're only down two games, we've won three games before all the time so we've been in this situation before," Bellinger told Fox Sports.

"We were grinding, it was a team win. Atlanta Braves are an amazing team, it was not an easy series. That was fun right there."

Corey Seager was crowned NLCS MVP after going nine-for-29 with five home runs and 11 RBIs in the series.

The Dodgers, who have not won the World Series since 1988, found themselves down early against the Braves at Globe Life Field.

Marcell Ozuna singled home a run in the first, and Dansby Swanson's huge homer in the second inning gave the Braves – without a World Series appearance since 1999 – a 2-0 advantage over the Dodgers.

A two-run single via Will Smith levelled proceedings in the third as the two teams went head-to-head.

Atlanta regained the lead in the fourth before Hernandez answered again with a pinch-hit homer in the sixth – the Dodgers star becoming the first pinch-hitter in MLB history to hit a game-tying or go-ahead home run in a winner-takes-all playoff game, per Stats Perform.

Bellinger then stepped up and connected on a Chris Martin pitch for the game-winner, while Dodgers team-mate Mookie Betts produced a memorable moment of his own with a stunning catch to rob Freddie Freeman of a homer in the fifth.

According to Stats Perform, the Dodgers became the first team in MLB history to hit both a game-tying and go-ahead homer in a Game 7 win.

Braves starter Ian Anderson lasted just three innings, giving up five hits and two runs, while the Dodgers' Dustin May only pitched one inning following a hit and one run.

Julio Urias earned the win after shutting out the Braves through three innings as he did not concede a hit.

The Tampa Bay Rays are World Series-bound for just the second time in their history after defeating the Houston Astros 4-2 in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series (ALCS).

A series decider was needed in the ALCS after the Astros won 7-4 on Friday – becoming the second team in MLB history to fall 3-0 behind in a best-of-seven matchup and force a Game 7.

But that is as good as it got for the Astros as the Rays – chasing their first championship – advanced to their first World Series since 2008 on Saturday.

Charlie Morton pitched 5.2 scoreless innings to set the tone for the Rays, allowing just two hits against his former team.

Morton is the only pitcher in MLB history with four winner-take-all wins after Tampa Bay's success.

ALCS MVP Randy Arozarena hit a two-run homer in the first inning to give the Rays a 2-0 lead – a record-setting seventh home run by a rookie in a single postseason, per Stats Perform.

Arozarena also became the first rookie with a go-ahead home run in a Game 7 since Miguel Cabrera's homer in Game 7 of the 2003 National League Championship Series.

Mike Zunino also homered for the Rays, while Pete Fairbanks became the first rookie to save a Game 7 since David Price in the 2008 ALCS – both sent Tampa Bay to the World Series.

The Rays will face either the Los Angeles Dodgers or Atlanta Braves in the World Series.

The Dodgers forced a Game 7 in the National League Championship Series (NLCS) following Saturday's 3-1 triumph.

Los Angeles used a three-run opening inning to top Atlanta – Justin Turner and Corey Seager both homering for the Dodgers.

Dodgers starter Walker Buehler pitched six scoreless innings, allowing seven hits and striking out six.

The Los Angeles Dodgers stayed alive in the MLB playoffs, while the Houston Astros forced a Game 7 against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Dodgers reduced the Atlanta Braves' National League Championship Series (NLCS) lead to 3-2 with a 7-3 victory on Friday.

Will Smith crushed a go-ahead three-run homer off Braves pitcher Will Smith in the sixth inning and the Dodgers never looked back.

Corey Seager went two-for-four with two homers and three RBIs for the Dodgers.

It came as both starters struggled – Dustin May getting through just two innings for the Dodgers while A.J. Minter was removed after three for the Braves.

Travis d'Arnaud's sacrifice fly and Cristian Pache's RBI single had the Braves on track before Seager and Smith stepped up.

In the American League Championship Series (ALCS), the Astros became the second team in MLB history to fall 3-0 behind in a best-of-seven series and force a Game 7 thanks to a 7-4 win over the Rays.

Houston broke the game open in the fifth inning through three of their stars.

George Springer, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa all brought in runs as the Astros opened up a 4-1 lead – one they would not relinquish.

Framber Valdez delivered a fine start for Houston, striking out nine and conceding just three hits in six innings.

Both the NLCS and ALCS continue on Saturday.

Carlos Correa delivered a walk-off home run for the Houston Astros, while the Atlanta Braves moved within a win of the World Series on Thursday.

Correa's heroics gave the Astros a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, whose lead in the American League Championship Series (ALCS) has been cut to 3-2.

The Astros never trailed in Game 5, with George Springer hitting a lead-off home run to put them in front.

After Brandon Lowe's solo shot, Michael Brantley's two-run single pushed the Astros clear.

The in-form Randy Arozarena and Choi Ji-man crushed homers before Correa stepped up to deliver the game-winning blow.

"Carlos told me before he went up there, he goes: 'Walk-off'," Astros manager Dusty Baker said on MLB.com. "I said, 'Go ahead on, man'."

It marked the first time in postseason history that a team have hit a lead-off and walk-off homers in the same game.

The Braves are a win away from a first World Series appearance since 1999 after beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-2 to take a 3-1 lead in the National League Championship Series (NLCS).

Clayton Kershaw started, but the Dodgers star was outdone by Braves rookie Bryse Wilson.

Kershaw conceded seven hits and four runs in five innings, while Wilson got through six innings, giving up just one hit and striking out five.

A six-run sixth inning catapulted the Braves to victory as Freddie Freeman, Marcell Ozuna, Dansby Swanson, Austin Riley and Cristian Pache all brought in runs.

Ozuna went four-for-five with four RBIs for the Braves, who can close out the series on Friday.

The Houston Astros stayed alive in the MLB playoffs, while the Los Angeles Dodgers made history in a resounding win on Wednesday.

Staring at being swept in the American League Championship Series (ALCS), the Astros edged the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 to reduce the deficit to 3-1.

Zack Greinke delivered a fine start for the Astros, striking out seven across six innings and conceding five hits.

Jose Altuve crushed his 18th postseason home run and also had an RBI double in the third inning before Randy Arozarena's two-run homer brought the Rays level.

However, George Springer belted a two-run homer in the fifth as the Astros stayed alive in the playoffs.

Altuve and Stringer are tied for the most homers in the postseason for the Astros with 18.

The Dodgers thrashed Atlanta 15-3 to reduce the Braves' National League Championship Series (NLCS) lead to 2-1.

Max Muncy belted a grand slam and Joc Pederson hit a three-run homer in an 11-run first innings for the Dodgers

That marked the most ever runs scored in a single postseason inning.

Corey Seager went three-for-four with a home run and three RBIs for the Dodgers.

Braves starter Kyle Wright got through just 0.2 innings, giving up five hits and seven runs in the huge loss.

The Los Angeles Dodgers made history with an incredible 11-run inning to begin Game 3 against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday.

Trailing the National League Championship Series (NLCS) 2-0, the Dodgers made the perfect start to Game 3.

They scored 11 runs in the first inning, which is the most ever in a playoff inning.

It was highlighted by a Max Muncy grand slam to make it 11-0, while Joc Pederson had earlier hit a three-run homer.

Incredibly, 10 of the 11 runs came with two out.

The Tampa Bay Rays and Atlanta Braves moved further ahead in their respective MLB series on Tuesday.

The Rays are one win away from the World Series after a 5-2 victory over the Houston Astros saw them go 3-0 up in the American League Championship Series (ALCS).

A five-run sixth inning set up the Rays' win in Game 3, with Joey Wendle hitting a two-run single and Hunter Renfroe a two-run double.

Jose Altuve's home run had put the Astros ahead and Michael Brantley also went deep in the sixth inning, but Houston are looking at a series loss.

Both starters – the Rays' Ryan Yarbrough and Astros' Jose Urquidy – got through five innings.

The Braves moved into a 2-0 National League Championship Series (NLCS) lead against the Los Angeles Dodgers thanks to an 8-7 win.

Atlanta held off a late rally from the Dodgers, who scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies both homered for the Braves.

Albies became the first player in MLB history to hit a ninth-inning homer in back-to-back playoff games, as per Stats Perform.

The Atlanta Braves powered past the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series (NLCS), while the Tampa Bay Rays opened up a commanding lead over the Houston Astros in the MLB playoffs.

Atlanta – who won their first postseason series since 2001 entering the NLCS – drew first blood against the top-ranked Dodgers thanks to a four-run ninth inning at Globe Life Field on Monday.

Ozzie Albies and Austin Riley both homered in the ninth to blow the game wide open as the Braves earned a lead in the NLCS for the first time since 1999.

Riley's go-ahead home run ignited the Braves before Albies extended the lead with a two-run homer off Jake McGee.

Riley and Albies became the first pair of team-mates aged 23 or younger to hit a home run in the same inning in playoff history, per Stats Perform.

Atlanta took the lead through Freddie Freeman in the opening inning, before Dodgers utility Kike Hernandez restored parity with a fifth-inning homer.

Dodgers pitcher Blake Treinen was tagged with the loss after allowing three hits and three runs in just 0.1 innings, while Braves starter Max Fried pitched six strong innings – giving up just four hits and one run.

The Dodgers and Braves will meet again in the best-of-seven series on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, Charlie Morton impressed and Manuel Margot homered as the Rays claimed a 2-0 lead in the American League Championship Series (ALCS) after defeating the Astros 4-2.

Morton pitched five scoreless innings, giving up just five hits as he exited with the Rays leading the Astros 3-0 in Game 2.

In four postseason starts with the Rays, Morton is now 4-0 with a 0.90 ERA. His four wins are the most by a Rays pitcher in playoff history.

Margot helped set the tone with a first-inning, three-run homer before thwarting a Houston comeback with an incredible tumbling-over-the-wall catch as the Astros had two runners in scoring positions.

The Los Angeles Dodgers eased through to the National League Champions Series (NLCS), while the New York Yankees kept their MLB playoff hopes alive.

The high-flying and unbeaten Dodgers swept the San Diego Padres with a 12-3 rout in the NL Division Series on Thursday.

Will Smith went five-for-five against the Padres, setting a new Dodgers playoff record, while team-mate Justin Turner also set a mark with his 64th postseason base hit – breaking a franchise tie with Steve Garvey.

The Dodgers – back-to-back World Series runners-up in 2017 and 2018 before falling in the NLDS last year – used five runs in the third inning and four in the ninth to set up a blockbuster showdown with the in-form Atlanta Braves.

The Yankees, meanwhile, forced a deciding Game 5 after topping the Tampa Bay Rays 5-1.

Luke Voit and Gleyber Torres homered for the Yankees, who levelled the best-of-five ALCS at 2-2.

 

Braves end 19-year wait for NLCS appearance

The Braves will contest their first NLCS since 2001 following a 7-0 demolition of the Miami Marlins. The shut-out win sealed a sweep in the NLDS. Kyle Wright produced six scoreless innings and Travis d'Arnaud recorded another multi-hit performance. Atlanta also joined the 1905 New York Giants as the only teams to post four shutouts in five games at any point in a playoff campaign.

Houston Astros leftfielder Michael Brantley had one home run in 30 career playoff games entering Thursday's clash. He is now the first player in MLB postseason history with multiple homers after entering the game with one or fewer in 30-plus games, per Stats Perform. The Astros advanced to the ALCS for the fourth consecutive year courtesy of an 11-6 victory against the Oakland Athletics, which sealed a 3-1 triumph.

 

Sanchez struggles

Sixto Sanchez lasted just three innings for the Marlins. He allowed four hits, four runs and three walks in his joint-shortest outing the season.

It was a tough day and series for the Athletics' relievers. They combined for a 6.27 ERA in the ALDS, including six earned runs on Thursday. Starter Frankie Montas gave up five runs and seven hits in 3.2 innings. He struck out three and walked one.

 

Thursday's results

Atlanta Braves 7-0 Miami Marlins
Houston Astros 11-6 Oakland Athletics
New York Yankees 5-1 Tampa Bay Rays
Los Angeles Dodgers 12-3 San Diego Padres

 

Yankees at Rays

It is winner-takes-all as the Yankees and Rays meet in Game 5 on Friday. The Yankees will send ace Gerrit Cole to the mound, while Tyler Glasnow starts for the Rays.

Randy Arozarena starred as the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the New York Yankees 8-4 for a 2-1 lead in the American League Division Series (ALDS).

Rookie Arozarena hit a home run for the third consecutive game in the MLB playoffs to help fuel the Rays, who also benefited from homers via Kevin Kiermaier and Michael Perez on Wednesday.

The top-ranked Rays are now just one victory away from reaching the AL Championship Series for the first time in 12 years.

Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Dodgers edged the San Diego Padres 6-5 in Game 2 of their National League Division Series (NLDS).

Dodgers star Bellinger became the first player to hit both a homer and rob a home run in a playoff game since Allen Craig for the St Louis Cardinals in Game 7 of the 2011 World Series, per Stats Perform.

The Dodgers lead the best-of-five series 2-0 and are on the verge of advancing after withstanding a fightback from the Padres, who rallied to score twice in the ninth inning, but it was not enough midweek.

 

Arozarena making history

The first-year Rays sensation has lit up the postseason. According to Stats Perform, he is the first rookie in AL history to have four successive multi-hit games in the playoffs. Arozarena also has 25 total bases in five games this postseason. It is the most total bases by any player (rookie or not) in his first five games of a single playoff campaign in MLB history.

The Rays also became the first team in MLB postseason history to have their starting number eight and nine hitters – Kiermaier and Perez – both have three-plus RBIs in the same game.

Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton hit a two-run homer against the Rays. He now has a "home-run cycle" in this series (solo, two-run, three-run and grand slam). Stanton joins Nelson Cruz (2011 ALCS) as the only players in league history to hit for the home run cycle in a single playoff series, per Stats Perform.

The Atlanta Braves blanked the Miami Marlins 2-0 as they moved within a victory of progressing to the NL Championship Series. Atlanta are just the third team in MLB history to pitch shutouts in three of their first four games in a single postseason, joining the 1905 New York Giants and 1966 Baltimore Orioles.

 

Wasteful Astros

The Houston Astros led 2-1 and 7-4 against the Oakland Athletics, but lost 9-7. Houston still lead the series 2-1 and can reach a fourth consecutive ALCS with victory on Thursday. Astros starter Jose Urquidy gave up five hits and four runs in 4.1 innings.

Masahiro Tanaka struggled for the Yankees, allowing five runs and eight hits in four innings.

 

Wednesday's results

Atlanta Braves 2-0 Miami Marlins
Oakland Athletics 9-7 Houston Astros
Los Angeles Dodgers 6-5 San Diego Padres
Tampa Bay Rays 8-4 New York Yankees

 

Rays at Yankees

The Rays can open up a 3-1 advantage if they beat the Yankees again on Thursday. Ryan Thompson starts for Tampa Bay, while the Yankees counter with Jordan Montgomery.

The Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 7-5 in the second game of their best-of-five American League Division Series at Petco Park in San Diego.

Matching the Yankees' four home runs in their game one win a day earlier, the Rays also set a new post-season record of 18 strikeouts.

Randy Arozarena, Mike Zunino, Manuel Margot and Austin Meadows plundered the home runs for the Rays, with manager Kevin Cash hailing his side's spirited display.

"We needed a win today," he said. "We needed to find a way to win today and we did. Those guys put in some pretty gutsy performances."

Elsewhere, the Houston Astros are just one game away from the AL Championship Series after a 5-2 win over the Oakland Athletics in their second meeting.

In the National League Division Series, meanwhile, the Atlanta Braves saw off the Miami Marlins 9-5, while the Los Angeles Dodgers cruised past the San Diego Padres 5-1.

 

GLASNOW'S PACE BLOWS YANKEES AWAY

Tyler Glasnow was central to the Rays' victory over the Yankees, setting the tone for a superb pitching display from his side with some blistering throws.

The right-hander threw fastballs over 100 mph to Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks in the first inning, marking the fastest pitches of his career. In total, he registered eight pitches over 100 mph; the third most by a starter in a post-season game since data became available in 2008.

"With Glasnow, I mean he was just locating his fastball," Hicks said. "By doing that, it just makes his curveball that [much] more effective. That's pretty much throughout their whole pitching staff."

FRIED FAILS TO SIZZLE IN BRAVES WIN

Making his second career post-season start, Max Fried endured a game to forget despite the Braves' win. He lost Miguel Rojas' long home run in the second, before labouring amid a three-run, 31-pitch third.

 

WEDNESDAY'S SCHEDULE

Atlanta Braves v Miami Marlins

Houston Astros v Oakland Athletics

New York Yankees v Tampa Bay Rays

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres

The Atlanta Braves claimed their first MLB postseason series victory in 19 years, while the Oakland Athletics snapped a 14-year drought.

National League (NL) East champions Atlanta swept the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Wild Card Series, cruising to a 5-0 win on Thursday.

The Braves were too good in the best-of-three matchup as they won their first playoff series since 2001, ending their record-tying streak of 10 consecutive postseason series losses.

Ian Anderson produced a shut-out performance, Adam Duvall homered and Ronald Acuna Jr. had three hits to lead the Braves to the NL Division Series (NLDS).

Oakland also advanced in the playoffs for the first time since 2006 after topping the Chicago White Sox in the American League (AL).

Chad Pinder's go-ahead, two-run single in the fifth inning helped the Athletics rally past the White Sox 6-4 to claim the Wild Card showdown 2-1.

After losing the opening game, AL West champions the Athletics will now face the Houston Astros in the ALDS.

 

Kershaw leads sweep, Tatis and Myers homer twice

Clayton Kershaw set a playoff career high with 13 strikeouts in eight scoreless innings. The Los Angeles Dodgers blanked the Milwaukee Brewers 3-0 for a sweep en route to the NLDS.

Fernandes Tatis Jr. and Wil Myers each hit two home runs to see the San Diego Padres rally past the St Louis Cardinals 11-9. Tatis and Myers became the second team-mates in postseason history with multi homers in the same game, joining New York Yankees pair Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in 1932. San Diego are also the first team in postseason history with five home runs from the sixth inning onward.

Braves pitcher Anderson struck out nine batters in six innings, allowing two hits and walking two in his playoff debut.

 

Scoreless Reds exit

For the first time, the Reds were shut out in back-to-back postseason games. The 22 innings without a run is the longest playoff scoreless streak in Cincinnati's history.

 

Thursday's results

Atlanta Braves 5-0 Cincinnati Reds
San Diego Padres 11-9 St Louis Cardinals
Los Angeles Dodgers 4-0 Milwaukee Brewers
Oakland Athletics 6-4 Chicago White Sox
Miami Marlins-Chicago Cubs (postponed)

 

Marlins at Cubs

After rain washed out Thursday's Game 2, the Miami Marlins and Chicago Cubs will meet on Friday. Miami lead 1-0.

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