Kyle Schwarber is a free agent after the Chicago Cubs non-tendered the 2016 MLB World Series hero, though he could still return to Wrigley Field.

Schwarber was in the final year of arbitration, but the Cubs opted to make the star outfielder a free agent after six seasons, while tendering contacts to 2016 National League (NL) MVP Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Willson Contreras on Wednesday.

The 27-year-old Schwarber was a key member of the Cubs team that ended their 108-year championship drought, having returned from a severe left knee injury.

Schwarber produced a three-hit performance in Game 7 of the World Series against the Cleveland Indians four years ago – he finished with seven hits, two RBIs and two runs in five games as the Cubs emerged triumphant.

"Listen, he's always going to be a Cubs legend," Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said. "There's no question about that, as he should be.

"It was a hard conversation. I called Kyle. Expressed that we're definitely going to keep the door open. We have and will continue to talk to [his agent] about ways to bring him back.

"So, I wanted to express that to him, but also to express that if that doesn't work out, just all the affection we've had for all he's done. I don't think the door is closed, but we had a good conversation."

Schwarber made his MLB debut for the Cubs in 2015 after being drafted a year earlier.

During the coronavirus-hit 2020 season, Schwarber tallied 30 runs on 36 hits in 59 games, while recording 11 home runs and 24 RBIs as the Cubs were swept by the Miami Marlins in the Wild Card Series.

Schwarber was the fastest to 100 career home runs among all players ever to debut with the Cubs, and his career rate of 14.9 at-bats per home run is second to only Sammy Sosa (12.8) in franchise history.

Since entering the league, Schwarber has appeared in 551 games, registered 295 runs, 416 hits, 121 homers and 279 RBIs at .230.

November 2, 2016 was a night many Chicago Cubs fans never thought they would see.

After generations of fans witnessed their beloved Cubs come up short, the 2016 team ended the franchise's 108-year title drought by capturing the World Series.

The events that transpired that night in Cleveland – as well as the raucous celebrations taking place 350 miles to the west in Chicago – were set in motion five years earlier when the Cubs named Theo Epstein the team's president of baseball operations in October 2011. And just over four years after the Cubs hoisted the championship trophy, Epstein determined that his time with the franchise had come to an end, announcing Tuesday he would be stepping down from his position.

His contract was set to expire at the end of the 2021 season, and he was then expected to move on with general manager Jed Hoyer filling his position. Over the last few months, however, Epstein decided that since the franchise is facing several big personnel questions this offseason that will shape the future of the team, and that the one making the decisions should be around for the long haul, so Hoyer will take over now.

Epstein will forever be remembered in the Cubs' storied history – as well as the Boston Red Sox's – for delivering a championship to a long-suffering fan base. Though a Cubs dynasty never materialised like some fans envisioned after the 2016 title, Epstein successfully transformed a team known as the loveable losers into perennial contenders.

"The best part of this journey with the Cubs has been the feeling of togetherness: the friendships, trust, camaraderie, and collaboration inside the organisation as well as the deep connection with the fans," Epstein wrote in a letter to Cubs fans.

"Nine years ago, after I laid out some lofty goals at my introductory press conference — a pledge to create a foundation for sustained success that would mean playing baseball regularly in October as well as a promise, over time and together, to build a team that would ultimately win the World Series — our first act as a baseball department was to set out a collective vision for how we could meet those goals and make our fans proud."

Building a contender began with "The Plan".

Epstein had no intention in competing immediately, his vision was a complete tear down to rebuild with high draft picks of position players, develop those picks into a core of the team and acquire pitchers.

As far as being bad in those first few years under Epstein's watch, the Cubs excelled.

In his first three seasons at the helm, the Cubs had the league's second-worst winning percentage at .412. Chicago's poor play, however, led to high draft picks, and Epstein and the Cubs drafted Albert Almora Jr., Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ with top-10 picks from 2012-15.

Over that same span, the Cubs traded for Anthony Rizzo, Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks, and prior to the start of the 2015 season, they signed free agent Jon Lester. Also before the 2015 season, they landed highly coveted manager Joe Maddon.

With the core in place, the Cubs went from 73 wins in 2014 to 97 victories in 2015 and a berth in the National League Championship Series (NLCS) – their first since 2003. Over the last six seasons, their 505 wins are the third most in baseball behind only the Los Angeles Dodgers (528) and Houston Astros (510).

Excluding the 2020 season because of the truncated 60-game schedule amid the coronavirus pandemic, the five-year stretch from 2015-19 was also one of the best in franchise history – the 471 wins only behind the 530 between 1906 and 1910.

Four straight 90-win seasons from 2015-18, helped the Cubs pile up many of those victories. Since 2015, only the Dodgers have more 90-win seasons.

What makes the Cubs' recent success even more incredible is that it followed a particularly forgettable four-decade stretch. Chicago had the fewest seasons with 90-plus wins between 1970 and 2014 with four, only the Miami Marlins and Colorado Rockies (both two) fared worse.

With the exception of the Cubs, every other team on the list – including the San Diego Padres, Arizona Diamondbacks, Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays – started in the division era, and the two clubs with fewer 90-win seasons than the Cubs did not even begin play until 1993. So, Chicago had 23 more opportunities than the Rockies and Marlins to reach 90 wins in a season, 28 more seasons than the Diamondbacks and Rays (both started in 1998) and seven more than the Mariners and Blue Jays (both started in 1977). The Padres first season was in 1969.

Chicago's turnaround was a result of Epstein's moves and the team's player development. Bryant would go on to win the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year Award, while Arrieta took home that year's NL Cy Young Award. A year later, Bryant earned NL MVP honours, Lester finished second in 2016 NL Cy Young voting while Hendricks finished third.

While Arrieta signed with the Philadelphia Phillies after 2017 and Epstein inked Yu Darvish prior to 2018, the tandem of Lester and Hendricks has been one of the most reliable in the majors over the past six seasons.

Since 2015, the Cubs' pitching staff has posted the majors' third-best ERA at 3.66, while Lester (77 wins), Hendricks (62) and Arrieta (54) are also one of just two trios to have at least 50 wins for one team - along with the Cleveland Indians' Carlos Carrasco (69), Corey Kluber (67) and Trevor Bauer (61).

With Hendricks, Lester and 2020 NL Cy Young runner-up Darvish heading the rotation, the offense has compiled the majors' second-highest on-base percentage since 2015 at .332 behind a familiar line-up.

Rizzo and Bryant have each made three All-Star teams, while shortstop Javier Baez – the Cubs' first-round pick from the year before Epstein took over in 2011 – has earned two trips to the Midsummer Classic. Those three stars along with Schwarber have provided consistent home-run power only two other teams can match over the past six seasons – the Minnesota Twins and Houston Astros with four players with 100 or more homers since 2015.

The Cubs have had an incredible run since 2015, reaching the postseason five times – one of four teams with at least five playoff berths in the last six seasons, along with the Dodgers, Astros and New York Yankees. Not every move Epstein has made worked to perfection like signing Craig Kimbrel or trading Eloy Jimenez for Jose Quintana. And the team have not won a playoff game since 2017 with their offense inconceivably scoring two, one, one, three, one, one, one and 0 runs in their last eight postseason games, but the last six years overall will still be considered one of the best stretches in Cubs history.

''If you look at my track record in Boston and then here, in the first six years or so, we did some pretty epic things,'' Epstein said Tuesday. ''And then the last couple years weren't as impressive. Maybe what that tells me is I think I'm great at and really enjoy building and transformation and triumphing. Maybe I'm not as good and not as motivated by maintenance.''

Epstein is not sure what the future will bring, but will take the next year off of baseball. At least, working at the ballpark. He did say he plans to buy season tickets for the Cubs to enjoy the game as a fan.

"Getting dropped into this situation nine years ago, feeling like a stranger, Chicago, the Cubs, Cubs fans all being foreign to me," Epstein said. "And now I look, nine years later, and I feel like it's in my blood too. I don't think that would’ve been possible elsewhere. The closeness of the connection with the fans as you go through the Cubs experience, that stands out to me."

The Miami Marlins won their first MLB playoff series in 17 years after eliminating the Chicago Cubs, while the San Diego Padres topped the St Louis Cardinals to reach the National League Division Series (NLDS).

Miami completed a two-game Wild Card Series sweep of NL Central champions the Cubs courtesy of Friday's 2-0 victory at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

Garrett Cooper homered against Yu Darvish in a two-run seventh inning for the Marlins, who lost 105 games last season and dealt with a COVID-19 outbreak during the coronavirus-shortened 2020 campaign.

It was the Marlins' first postseason series success since going on to win the 2003 World Series as they prepare to face the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS.

"That's probably the best feeling I've had in my baseball career, the biggest home run that I've had in my baseball career," said Cooper, who gave the Marlins a 1-0 lead before Matt Joyce's double. "It's just something that you can't explain."

Sixto Sanchez dominated for five innings, striking out six and giving up just four hits, while walking two and hitting two.

The Padres earned a date with the star-studded Los Angeles Dodgers after shutting out the Cardinals 4-0 in Game 3 of their NL Wild Card matchup.

Nine pitchers blanked the Cardinals in a record-setting effort as the Padres won a playoff series for the first time in 22 years.

The nine pitchers used is the most in a nine-inning shutout in any big league game since 1901.

Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. also showed he is more than just an elite batter, producing a stunning acrobatic catch in the third inning.

 

Yankees at Rays

The New York Yankees and top-seeded Tampa Bay Rays will open their American League Division Series on Monday. The Houston Astros will also visit the Oakland Athletics in Game 1.

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.

The New York Yankees and Houston Astros advanced in the MLB playoffs on Wednesday.

The Yankees rallied late for a 10-9 win over the Cleveland Indians to seal a 2-0 American League (AL) Wild Card Series victory.

Trailing 9-8 entering the ninth inning, the Yankees needed a sacrifice fly from Gary Sanchez to draw level before DJ LeMahieu's RBI single proved decisive.

Gio Urshela went two-for-five with four RBIs for the Yankees.

The Astros extended the Minnesota Twins' postseason drought as a 3-1 win wrapped up a 2-0 series victory in the AL Wild Card Series.

Carlos Correa hit a home run in the seventh inning to break the tie before Kyle Tucker delivered an RBI single in the ninth.

It marked the Twins' 18th straight loss in the playoffs.

 

Bauer brilliant but beaten, Rays advance

Trevor Bauer's stellar performance was not enough for the Cincinnati Reds, who were edged 1-0 by the Atlanta Braves after 13 innings in their National League (NL) Wild Card Series opener. Bauer struck out 12 and conceded just two hits in 7.2 innings. He became the first pitcher in MLB history with 12-plus strikeouts, no walks and no runs allowed in a playoff game, as per Stats Perform data. It was also the first ever playoff game to be scoreless through 11 innings.

The Tampa Bay Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays 8-2 to win their AL Wild Card Series 2-0. Hunter Renfroe blasted a grand slam in the win. The Rays will face the Yankees in the AL Division Series.

Corey Dickerson hit a three-run homer in the Miami Marlins' 5-1 win over the Chicago Cubs in their series opener.

 

Ryu struggles

Blue Jays starter Ryu Hyun-jin lasted just 1.2 innings. He conceded eight hits and seven runs (three earned).

 

Wednesday's results

Atlanta Braves 1-0 Cincinnati Reds
Houston Astros 3-1 Minnesota Twins
Miami Marlins 5-1 Chicago Cubs
Oakland Athletics 5-3 Chicago White Sox
Tampa Bay Rays 8-2 Toronto Blue Jays
St Louis Cardinals 7-4 San Diego Padres
New York Yankees 10-9 Cleveland Indians
Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2 Milwaukee Brewers

 

White Sox at Athletics

The Chicago White Sox and Oakland Athletics meet in their AL Wild Card Series decider on Thursday.

The St Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers reached the MLB playoffs on the final day of the regular season.

The Cardinals overcame the Brewers 5-2 to head to the postseason for the second straight year.

The Brewers needed the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies to also taste defeat – and they got that on Sunday.

The Giants fell to the San Diego Padres 5-4 and the Phillies were beaten 5-0 by the Tampa Bay Rays.

That meant the Brewers (29-31) got into the playoffs ahead of the Giants (29-31) thanks to a better record against divisional opponents.

Twins win AL Central as Bieber shines again

The Minnesota Twins won the American League (AL) Central for the second straight year despite a 5-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.

Shane Bieber became the first pitcher to complete the triple crown since Johan Santana in 2006. The Cleveland Indians star finished the regular season with eight wins, a 1.63 ERA and 122 strikeouts.

Madison Bumgarner finished a disappointing season strongly. The Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher gave up just two hits and no runs in five innings in an 11-3 win over the Colorado Rockies.

Josh Fleming completed the regular season with a 5-0 record. The Rays pitcher struck out five and conceded just four hits in six innings in a win over the Phillies.

 

Lugo battles

Seth Lugo's start for the New York Mets lasted just 1.1 innings. He gave up five hits and six runs in a 15-5 loss to the Washington Nationals

 

Sunday's results

Kansas City Royals 3-1 Detroit Tigers
Miami Marlins 5-0 New York Yankees
San Diego Padres 5-4 San Francisco Giants
Texas Rangers 8-4 Houston Astros
Washington Nationals 15-5 New York Mets
Baltimore Orioles 7-5 Toronto Blue Jays
Arizona Diamondbacks 11-3 Colorado Rockies
Boston Red Sox 9-1 Atlanta Braves
Chicago Cubs 10-8 Chicago White Sox
Cleveland Indians 8-6 Pittsburgh Pirates
Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 Los Angeles Angels
Cincinnati Reds 5-3 Minnesota Twins
Oakland Athletics 6-2 Seattle Mariners
Tampa Bay Rays 5-0 Philadelphia Phillies
St Louis Cardinals 5-2 Milwaukee Brewers

 

Playoffs begin

The three-game AL Wild Card Series begin on Tuesday as the Toronto Blue Jays face the Rays, the Houston Astros take on the Twins, the Chicago White Sox meet the Oakland Athletics and the Indians do battle with the New York Yankees.

The Chicago Cubs claimed their first National League (NL) Central title since 2017, despite losing to MLB neighbours the Chicago White Sox 9-5.

While the Cubs did not win on Saturday, they still had plenty to celebrate thanks to the Milwaukee Brewers' 3-0 victory over the St Louis Cardinals.

Locking up the third seeding, the Cubs will host a wild-card series at Wrigley Field in Chicago, starting Wednesday.

The Cubs could face the Miami Marlins, Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds or Brewers, who are all vying for the sixth seed.

Meanwhile, New York Yankees duo DJ LeMahieu and Luke Voit are closing in on crowns.

LeMahieu is on the verge of winning the batting title, while team-mate Voit is poised to become home-run champion following the Yankees' 11-4 win against the Marlins.

Voit hit his MLB-leading 22nd homer of the season, while LeMahieu improved his average to .359 thanks to four hits and three RBIs.

 

Biggio and Grichuk fuel Jays

Home runs from Cavan Biggio and Randal Grichuk lead the Toronto Blue Jays past the Baltimore Orioles 5-2.

The Boston Red Sox routed the Atlanta Braves 8-2 thanks to Christian Vazquez's grand slam, while Tanner Houck struck out 10 in a dominant display.

Kyle Seager homered in both games as the Seattle Mariners swept their doubleheader against the Oakland Athletics 5-1 and 12-3.

 

Mets eliminated from playoffs

The New York Mets will not feature in the postseason. The Mets needed to win their three remaining games and receive help from rival teams to snatch a wild-card spot, but they lost 4-3 to the Washington Nationals in game one. The Mets also lost 5-3 in the second clash.

The Los Angeles Dodgers topped rivals the Los Angeles Angels 7-6 but will be sweating on the fitness of Mookie Betts, who was forced to exit the game after being struck by a pitch.

 

Saturday's results

New York Yankees 11-4 Miami Marlins
Washington Nationals 4-3 New York Mets
Washington Nationals 5-3 New York Mets
Seattle Mariners 5-1 Oakland Athletics
Seattle Mariners 12-3 Oakland Athletics
Toronto Blue Jays 5-2 Baltimore Orioles
Detroit Tigers 4-3 Kansas City Royals
Texas Rangers 6-1 Houston Astros
Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 Philadelphia Phillies
Milwaukee Brewers 3-0 St Louis Cardinals
Minnesota Twins 7-3 Cincinnati Reds
Boston Red Sox 8-2 Atlanta Braves
Chicago White Sox 9-5 Chicago Cubs
Colorado Rockies 10-3 Arizona Diamondbacks
Los Angeles Dodgers 7-6 Los Angeles Angels
San Diego Padres 6-2 San Francisco Giants

 

Padres at Giants

The Giants need help if they are to reach the playoffs. San Francisco must beat the Padres on Sunday and hope the Brewers lose to the Cardinals to stand a chance of making the postseason for the first time since 2016. Drew Smyly takes to the mound for the Giants as the Padres counter with Adrian Morejon.

The Miami Marlins clinched an MLB playoff berth for the first time since 2003, while the Cincinnati Reds also ended their postseason wait.

The Marlins edged the New York Yankees 4-3 after 10 innings on Friday to advance to the playoffs.

Marlins pitcher Sandy Alcantara struck out nine over 7.1 innings and Jesus Aguilar's sacrifice fly in the 10th proved decisive.

Miami move into the playoffs just a year after recording 105 losses in MLB.

The Reds reached the postseason for the first time since 2013 after a 7-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

Mike Moustakas went two-for-four with three RBIs in the Reds' win.

 

Astros clinch, walk-off wins for Braves and A's

The Houston Astros moved into the playoffs for the fourth straight year despite a 5-4 loss to the Texas Rangers.

Freddie Freeman delivered a two-run walk-off homer as the Atlanta Braves edged the Boston Red Sox 8-7 after 11 innings.

Mark Canha also belted a two-run walk-off homer to see the Oakland Athletics overcome the Seattle Mariners 3-1.

Willson Contreras smashed a huge home run, and delivered an even bigger bat flip, in the Chicago Cubs' 10-0 thrashing of the White Sox.

Santos struggles

Antonio Santos got through just 0.2 innings in his start for the Colorado Rockies. He gave up five hits and six runs and the Rockies eventually fell to the Arizona Diamondbacks 11-5.

 

Friday's results

Milwaukee Brewers 3-0 St Louis Cardinals
St Louis Cardinals 9-1 Milwaukee Brewers
Toronto Blue Jays 10-5 Baltimore Orioles
Arizona Diamondbacks 4-0 Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks 11-5 Colorado Rockies
Tampa Bay Rays 6-4 Philadelphia Phillies
Miami Marlins 4-3 New York Yankees
Cleveland Indians 4-3 Pittsburgh Pirates
San Francisco Giants 5-4 San Diego Padres
San Diego Padres 6-5 San Francisco Giants
Atlanta Braves 8-7 Boston Red Sox
Kansas City Royals 3-2 Detroit Tigers
Texas Rangers 5-4 Houston Astros
Chicago Cubs 10-0 Chicago White Sox
Cincinnati Reds 7-2 Minnesota Twins
Oakland Athletics 3-1 Seattle Mariners
Los Angeles Dodgers 9-5 Los Angeles Angels

 

Brewers at Cardinals

The St Louis Cardinals (29-27) are closing in on a playoff spot ahead of facing the Milwaukee Brewers (28-30) on Saturday. Adam Wainwright (5-2, 3.05 ERA) starts for the Cardinals, while Brandon Woodruff (2-5, 3.43 ERA) takes the mound for Milwaukee.

The Toronto Blue Jays secured an MLB playoff spot after they defeated the New York Yankees 4-1 on Thursday. 

Toronto clinched their first postseason berth since 2016 with their 30th win of a shortened campaign due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Blue Jays, who enjoyed back-to-back trips to the American League Championship Series (ALCS) in 2015 and 2016, were led by Ryu Hyun-jin and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. against the Yankees. 

Ryu pitched seven shut-out innings, while Guerrero hit a solo home run as the slumping Yankees lost for the fourth time in five games following a 10-game winning streak. 

The Blue Jays (30-27) are only two games behind the Yankees (32-25) for second spot in the AL East.

The Houston Astros, meanwhile, are on the cusp of securing the last AL playoff spot after routing the Texas Rangers 12-4. 

George Springer, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Josh Reddick all homered in Arlington, with the Astros requiring just one more win from their remaining three games to secure second place in the AL West.

 

Dodgers roll on, Marlins stay alive

The Los Angeles Dodgers claimed their MLB-leading 40th win of the season via a 5-1 success against the Oakland Athletics. 

Pablo Lopez allowed only two hits in five scoreless innings as the Miami Marlins boosted their postseason hopes with a 4-2 win at the Atlanta Braves. Eyeing their first playoff appearance since winning the 2003 World Series, the Marlins are competing for a wildcard spot. 

Homers from Jose Iglesias, Pat Valaika and Austin Hays powered the Baltimore Orioles to a 13-1 demolition of the Boston Red Sox. 

 

Perez costly

Red Sox starter Martin Perez allowed six runs on nine hits and a walk in just four innings, while striking out two.

Alec Mills lasted only 3.6 innings before he was removed after giving up four runs and eight hits with one walk.

 

Thursday's results

Pittsburgh Pirates 7-0 Chicago Cubs
Colorado Rockies 5-4 San Francisco Giants
New York Mets 3-2 Washington Nationals
Cleveland Indians 5-4 Chicago White Sox
Toronto Blue Jays 4-1 New York Yankees
Miami Marlins 4-2 Atlanta Braves
Baltimore Orioles 13-1 Boston Red Sox
Kansas City Royals 8-7 Detroit Tigers
Houston Astros 12-4 Texas Rangers
St Louis Cardinals 4-2 Milwaukee Brewers
Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 Oakland Athletics

 

Astros at Rangers

The Astros can clinch on Friday. Jose Urquidy starts for Houston, while the Rangers counter with Kyle Cody.

The Tampa Bay Rays claimed the American League (AL) East title, while Shane Bieber starred again in MLB on Wednesday.

The Rays clinched the AL East for the first time since 2010 thanks to an 8-5 win over the New York Mets.

Rays starter Tyler Glasnow struck out eight and gave up just three hits and two runs in six innings in the Rays' win.

Randy Arozarena went three-for-five, including a two-run homer.

In his final start of the regular season, Bieber got through five innings in the Cleveland Indians' 3-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

Bieber struck out 10 and conceded just two hits and a run, finishing the regular season with a 1.63 ERA.

Jordan Luplow hit a walk-off homer for the Indians.

 

Bauer brilliant, Maeda marvellous

Trevor Bauer starred in the Cincinnati Reds' 6-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. He struck out 12 and gave up just four hits in eight innings.

Kenta Maeda improved to 6-1 this season. He struck out nine batters in six innings as the Minnesota Twins edged the Detroit Tigers 7-6.

Bryce Harper crushed two home runs as the Philadelphia Phillies thrashed the Washington Nationals 12-3.

Salvador Perez and Franchy Cordero each had five RBIs as the Kansas City Royals beat the St Louis Cardinals 12-3.

 

Terrible Tanaka

New York Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka battled. He gave up eight hits, five runs (three earned) and a homer in a 14-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

 

Wednesday's results

Los Angeles Angels 5-2 San Diego Padres
Philadelphia Phillies 12-3 Washington Nationals
Arizona Diamondbacks 7-3 Texas Rangers
Cleveland Indians 3-2 Chicago White Sox
Toronto Blue Jays 14-1 New York Yankees
Cincinnati Reds 6-1 Milwaukee Brewers
Seattle Mariners 3-2 Houston Astros
Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1 Chicago Cubs
Atlanta Braves 9-4 Miami Marlins
Tampa Bay Rays 8-5 New York Mets
Boston Red Sox 9-1 Baltimore Orioles
Minnesota Twins 7-6 Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals 12-3 St Louis Cardinals
Oakland Athletics 6-4 Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants 7-2 Colorado Rockies

 

Athletics at Dodgers

Mike Fiers (6-2, 4.67 ERA) will start for the Oakland Athletics (34-21) against Walker Buehler (1-0, 3.86 ERA) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (39-17) in their series decider on Thursday.

The Atlanta Braves maintained their stranglehold on the National League East after claiming a third consecutive title on Tuesday.

Atlanta's 11-1 win over the Miami Marlins at Truist Park ensured the Braves sealed another NL East crown.

Marcell Ozuna hit two of Atlanta's five home runs, while NL MVP candidate Freddie Freeman had a homer of his own as the Braves clinched three successive NL East titles for the first time since claiming an unprecedented 14 straight between 1991 and 2005.

It was also Atlanta's 20th division championship – the most in MLB history.

The Los Angeles Dodgers claimed an eighth consecutive NL West crown and the number one seed through the Championship Series with a 7-2 rout of the Oakland Athletics.

Meanwhile, the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs secured their postseason berths.

Jose Ramirez's walk-off homer in the 10th inning helped the Indians to a 5-3 victory against the Chicago White Sox and a playoff spot.

After missing the postseason in 2019, the Cubs are back despite a 3-2 walk-off loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates following the Washington Nationals' doubleheader sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies.

 

Ramirez stars for Tribe

Cleveland's Ramirez became the second player in MLB history to hit a walk-off three-run homer (or grand slam) while trailing to clinch a playoff spot for his team, according to STATs. The other was Bobby Thomson in 1951.

Nationals veteran Yadiel Hernandez, 32, became the oldest player in league history to hit a walk-off homer for his first career home run, per STATS.

Pittsburgh starter Steven Brault pitched seven shut-out innings against the Cubs. He struck out six and walked three.

 

Roark highlights Toronto's pitching woes

It was a forgettable outing for the Toronto Blue Jays, who were humbled 12-1 by rivals the New York Yankees. Tanner Roark allowed six runs and seven hits in 4.3 innings.

 

Tuesday's results

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

 

Rockies at Giants

After staying in the playoff hunt, the Giants will lock horns with the Rockies again on Wednesday. Logan Webb starts for the Giants midweek as the Rockies counter with Ryan Castellani.

The Oakland Athletics clinched the American League (AL) West title, while the Tampa Bay Rays moved closer to the AL East.

The Houston Astros' 6-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Monday saw the inactive Athletics claim the AL West.

It marks the first time since 2013 that the A's have won the AL West crown.

Mariners starter Marco Gonzales starred against the Astros, striking out six and not giving up a run in eight innings.

The Rays are close to securing the AL East after a 2-1 win over the New York Mets.

Jacob deGrom starred for the Mets with 14 strikeouts while giving up just four hits in seven innings, but the Rays secured a narrow win.

Now 4.5 games clear atop the AL East, the Rays are closing in on the title.

 

Braves near NL East as Kirk stars

The Atlanta Braves closed in on the National League (NL) East title after beating the Miami Marlins 5-4.

Alejandro Kirk starred for the Toronto Blue Jays. He went four-for-four with a home run in an 11-5 win over the Yankees. According to STATS, he is the first catcher 21 or younger to have four-plus hits and two-plus extra-base hits since Johnny Bench in 1969.

Jon Lester was in fine form for the Chicago Cubs. He conceded just four hits in six innings in a 5-0 shut-out win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

 

Gonzalez goes hitless

Erik Gonzalez went 0-for-four in the Pirates' loss as their struggles continued.

 

Monday's results

Los Angeles Angels 8-5 Texas Rangers
Washington Nationals 5-1 Philadelphia Phillies
Cleveland Indians 7-4 Chicago White Sox
Toronto Blue Jays 11-5 New York Yankees
Cincinnati Reds 6-3 Milwaukee Brewers
Chicago Cubs 5-0 Pittsburgh Pirates
Tampa Bay Rays 2-1 New York Mets
Atlanta Braves 5-4 Miami Marlins
Kansas City Royals 4-1 St Louis Cardinals
Seattle Mariners 6-1 Houston Astros
Colorado Rockies 7-2 San Francisco Giants

 

Athletics at Dodgers

After winning the AL West, the Athletics (33-20) take on the team with the best record in MLB, the Los Angeles Dodgers (38-16), on Tuesday. Frankie Montas (3-4, 5.86 ERA) starts for Oakland against the Dodgers' Dustin May (1-1, 2.68 ERA).

The San Diego Padres ended their playoff wait in MLB, while the New York Yankees also clinched a place in the postseason.

The Padres reached the playoffs for the first time since 2006 thanks to Sunday's 7-4, 11-inning win over the Seattle Mariners.

Wil Myers hit a three-run homer for the Padres, while starting pitcher Dinelson Lamet struck out 10 over six innings.

Mitch Moreland, Jurickson Profar and Trent Grisham had RBIs in the 11th inning.

The Yankees moved into the playoffs for the fourth straight season despite a 10-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox.

Michael Chavis hit two homers for the Red Sox as they ended the Yankees' 10-game winning streak.

 

Ramirez lifts Indians as Means dominates Rays

Jose Ramirez belted two home runs in the Cleveland Indians' 7-4 win over the Detroit Tigers.

Baltimore Orioles starter John Means struck out 12 over 5.2 innings in a 2-1 win against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Darin Ruf went two-for-four with four RBIs in the San Francisco Giants' 14-2 mauling of the Oakland Athletics.

Kyle Wright struck out six and gave up just one hit in 6.1 innings in the Atlanta Braves' 7-0 shut out of the New York Mets.

 

Harper worry for Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper suffered a back injury in a 6-3 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. "We'll see how he feels tomorrow," Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. "We'll see if he's available for me tomorrow. He'll get a lot of treatment and keep our fingers crossed."

 

Sunday's results

Baltimore Orioles 2-1 Tampa Bay Rays
Boston Red Sox 10-2 New York Yankees
Cincinnati Reds 7-3 Chicago White Sox
Cleveland Indians 7-4 Detroit Tigers
Miami Marlins 2-1 Washington Nationals
Atlanta Braves 7-0 New York Mets
Houston Astros 3-2 Arizona Diamondbacks
Milwaukee Brewers 5-3 Kansas City Royals
Toronto Blue Jays 6-3 Philadelphia Phillies
Colorado Rockies 6-3 Los Angeles Dodgers
St Louis Cardinals 2-1 Pittsburgh Pirates
Texas Rangers 7-2 Los Angeles Angels
Washington Nationals 15-0 Miami Marlins
San Francisco Giants 14-2 Oakland Athletics
San Diego Padres 7-4 Seattle Mariners
Minnesota Twins 4-0 Chicago Cubs

 

Cardinals at Royals

Adam Wainwright (5-1, 2.87 ERA) starts for the St Louis Cardinals (26-24) against Carlos Hernandez (0-0, 3.86 ERA) and the Royals (21-32) on Monday.

The New York Yankees extended their winning streak in MLB, while the Minnesota Twins clinched a playoff spot.

The Yankees recorded their 10th straight win by crushing the Boston Red Sox 8-0 on Saturday.

Clint Frazier hit a home run and went three-for-four with three RBIs as the Yankees' form run continued.

Yankees starter J.A. Happ gave up just four hits in eight innings, striking out nine.

The Twins are heading to the postseason for the second straight year after beating the Chicago Cubs 8-1.

Eddie Rosario, Miguel Sano and Josh Donaldson all hit homers for the Twins.

 

White Sox go deep five times, Kershaw shines

The Chicago White Sox crushed five homers in a 5-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds. Tim Anderson went deep twice and Nomar Mazara, Yasmani Grandal and Jose Abreu also hit solo homers.

Clayton Kershaw produced another fine start. The Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher struck out six and conceded just four hits in seven innings in a 6-1 win against the Colorado Rockies.

Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Corbin Burnes improved to 4-0 this season. He got through six innings, giving up just four hits and striking out nine as the Brewers shut out the Kansas City Royals 5-0.

 

Bad news for Astros

Houston Astros star Justin Verlander announced on Saturday he would undergo Tommy John surgery. The 37-year-old made just one start in 2020.

 

Saturday's results

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

 

Yankees at Red Sox

The Yankees (31-21) can seal a series sweep over the Red Sox (19-34) at Fenway Park on Sunday. Deivi Garcia (2-1, 3.28 ERA) starts for the Yankees as they close in on securing a playoff spot, while Tanner Houck (1-0, 0.00 ERA) will take to the mound for Boston.

The Los Angeles Dodgers clinched a spot in the MLB playoffs on Wednesday, while Kyle Higashioka starred for the New York Yankees.

The Dodgers are heading to the postseason for the eighth straight year after a 7-5 win over the San Diego Padres.

Will Smith went two-for-four with three RBIs in the Dodgers' latest win as they improved to 35-15.

The win saw the Dodgers pull 3.5 games clear of the Padres (32-19) in the National League (NL) West.

Higashioka crushed three home runs in the Yankees' 13-2 thrashing of the Toronto Blue Jays.

He went three-for-four with five RBIs, while DJ LeMahieu was three-for-four and hit two homers.

The Yankees became the first team in MLB history to have their number one and nine hitters have multi-homer games in the same game, as per STATS.

Cubs walk it off as Reds' run rolls on

Javier Baez hit a walk-off single to lift the Chicago Cubs past the Cleveland Indians 3-2.

The Cincinnati Reds stretched their winning streak to five by edging the Pittsburgh Pirates 1-0.

Kyle Gibson was in superb form for the Texas Rangers. He shut out the Houston Astros, striking out nine and giving up just four hits in a 1-0 victory.

Adam Wainwright continued his fine season for the St Louis Cardinals, striking out nine and conceding just four hits in seven innings in a 4-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. He is 5-1 this season.

DeGrom's hamstring worry

Jacob deGrom got through just two innings in the New York Mets' 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. The star pitcher had conceded three runs before exiting the game due to a hamstring spasm.

 

Wednesday's results

Washington Nationals 4-2 Tampa Bay Rays
Oakland Athletics 3-1 Colorado Rockies
Los Angeles Dodgers 7-5 San Diego Padres
St Louis Cardinals 4-2 Milwaukee Brewers
Milwaukee Brewers 6-0 St Louis Cardinals
Cincinnati Reds 1-0 Pittsburgh Pirates
Miami Marlins 8-4 Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees 13-2 Toronto Blue Jays
New York Mets 5-4 Philadelphia Phillies
Kansas City Royals 4-0 Detroit Tigers
Baltimore Orioles 5-1 Atlanta Braves
Minnesota Twins 5-1 Chicago White Sox
Texas Rangers 1-0 Houston Astros
Chicago Cubs 3-2 Cleveland Indians
Arizona Diamondbacks 9-6 Los Angeles Angels
San Francisco Giants 9-3 Seattle Mariners

 

Indians at Tigers

Shane Bieber (7-1, 1.53 ERA) takes the mound for the Indians (26-23) against Casey Mize (0-1, 5.85 ERA) and the Detroit Tigers (21-27) on Thursday.

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