Albert Pujols hit a home run in his final regular season home game as a trio of St Louis Cardinals legends were honoured in a 7-5 loss against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.

Pujols, 42, drove in the first runs of the game with a two-run double in the first inning, and with his next at-bat, he connected on the 702nd home run of his career to score another two runs. Only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) have ever hit more homers in their career, and with his three RBIs, he joined Ruth with the second-most ever (2214), trailing only Aaron (2297).

Starting on the mound for the Cardinals was another future Hall-of-Famer, 41-year-old Adam Wainwright, who was being caught behind the plate by 40-year-old Yadier Molina as the two added one more to their record number of starts together.

Unfortunately for Wainwright his final regular season start at Busch Stadium was less of a fairytale ending than Pujols', giving up six runs in four-and-two-thirds innings before all three Cardinals icons were pulled from the game together for a standing ovation.

Bryan Reynolds finished two-for-five at the plate for the Pirates, and the center-fielder hit his 27nd home run of the season to add some breathing room in the seventh inning, after Ben Gamel's three-run blast in the second frame.

Trout hits homer in Angels win

Three-time American League MVP Mike Trout moved up to fourth in this season's home run standings as he knocked his 39th in the Los Angeles Angels' 8-3 home win against the Texas Rangers.

Trout's 409-foot blast came in the fourth inning after the Angels piled on six runs in the opening frame, and with three games left he only needs one more home run to reach 40 for the third time in his 12 seasons.

Nobody in the top-20 for home runs this season has played fewer than Trout's 116 games, with the rest of the top-five all totaling at least 153 appearances.

Langelliers, Kaprielian carry the A's

Rookie Shea Langelliers and starting pitcher James Kaprielian were both excellent in the Oakland Athletics' 10-3 win against the Seattle Mariners.

Facing reigning Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray on the mound, the Athletics figured him out in the fourth inning, with Langelliers bombing a big 423-foot home run to left-field. It was one of two homers on the day for the 24-year-old catcher in his first season, also hitting one in the ninth inning for his first ever multi-homer day.

On the mound, Kaprielian was just as good, giving up only one hit and two walks in six scoreless innings, striking out seven batters.

Shohei Ohtani has agreed to a $30million contract with the Los Angeles Angels for the 2023 season, avoiding the need for arbitration.

Reigning AL MVP Ohtani will now become a free agent after next year, having been handed the largest ever MLB deal for an arbitration-eligible player.

It is rich reward for the two-way superstar, who is being paid a relatively meagre $5.5m this year.

The agreement puts Ohtani in a strong position to make a decision on his future in 12 months' time.

Los Angeles will hope the Japanese recommits, though they have had a losing record in each of his four seasons in LA.

Indeed, the Angels have had seven straight years with a losing record and eight straight without reaching the playoffs.

Ohtani is in direct competition with Aaron Judge for this year's MVP award, but he will be watching from home as the New York Yankees' record-setter enters the postseason.

Despite his dual role, only seven pitchers have more wins this season than Ohtani (15), while his 15-game hitting streak is the longest active run in the major leagues.

Shohei Ohtani's no-hit bid was spoiled in the eighth inning with two outs as the Los Angeles Angels won 4-2 over the Oakland Athletics on Thursday.

The reigning American League (AL) MVP was four outs shy of a no-hitter, with Conner Capel managing a two-out single in the eighth inning to end his bid.

Ohtani finished the game with 10 strikeouts across eight scoreless innings allowing two hits and one walk. Dermis Garcia singled after Capel's hit but Ohtani got out of the jam with Shea Langeliers grounding out to third.

The Angels two-way superstar also went two-for-four at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning, meaning his hit streak to reach a career-high 14 games.

Ohtani's performance adds further intrigue to the AL MVP race with New York Yankees' history-making outfielder Aaron Judge who matched Roger Maris' franchise and AL record with his 61st home run this season on Wednesday.

Blue Jays clinch playoff spot despite not taking field

The Toronto Blue Jays secured their postseason berth despite not playing on Thursday, benefitting from the Baltimore Orioles' 5-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox as J.D. Martinez hit a two-run go-ahead home run in the eighth inning.

The result means the Jays (87-69) are assured of an American League (AL) Wild Card spot, with the Orioles back at 80-76 in fourth in the AL Wild Card race.

Toronto are second in the AL East behind the New York Yankees (96-59), with the Seattle Mariners (85-70) and the Tampa Bay Rays (85-71) in the box seats for the other AL Wild Cards.

The Mariners claimed a 10-9 walk-off win over the Texas Rangers in a game that included nine homers, including two each for Seattle's MItch Haniger and Jarred Kelenic.

Garcia grand slam dents Brewers' Wild Card hopes

The Philadelphia Phillies and the Milwaukee Brewers both lost crucial games in the National League (NL) Wild Card race.

The Phillies, who hold the third NL Wild Card spot with an 83-72 record, went down 2-0 to the Chicago Cubs with both runs scored by Seiya Suzuki.

The Brewers (83-73) looked on track to capitalise on the Phillies' loss before Avisail Garcia's eighth-inning grand slam earned the Miami Marlins a 4-2 win.

Philadelphia Phillies slugger Kyle Schwarber hit his 41st and 42nd home runs of the season in his side's 9-8 loss against the Atlanta Braves on Sunday.

Schwarber connected on his first of the day as the Phillies' very first batter, and he did it again with his next at-bat in the third inning for a pair of solo shots. He is second in the league in home runs, trailing only Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees.

While the Phillies got two RBIs from their lead-off hitter, the Braves got three from theirs, with Dansby Swanson leading the way for Atlanta offensively.

Swanson finished three-for-six, including a massive 417-foot two-run home run in the fourth inning to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 lead.

After a pair of sacrifice-flies from Phillies Bryce Harper and Alec Bohm in the fifth inning, William Contreras tied things at 6-6 in the eighth inning when he came home to score on a wild pitch, sending the game to extra innings.

In extras, after a scoreless 10th inning, hits to rising stars Ronald Acuna Jr and Michael Harris II drove in a run each, and the Phillies were only able to claw one back.

Braves reliever Jackson Stephens was credited with the win after pitching both extra innings, striking out three batters and allowing one unearned run.

Trout goes deep in Angels win

Mike Trout's strong season continued in the Los Angeles Angels' 10-3 win against the Minnesota Twins, hitting his ninth home run of September.

Trout, who is now tied for the fourth-most home runs in the league with 37, finished three-for-four at the plate and scored three times, highlighted by a 416-foot bomb to left-field.

Fellow Angels star Shohei Ohtani also had a strong outing, collecting two hits and an RBI from five at-bats, while Jose Suarez took the win on the mound with two earned runs in five-and-two-thirds innings.

Javier pitches a gem for the Astros

Houston Astros starting pitcher Cristian Javier gave up only one hit in his six innings against the Baltimore Orioles to help his side to a 6-3 road victory.

Javier had a perfect game through four-and-a-third innings before allowing his sole hit of the contest, quickly following it with a double-play to end the inning. That hit was the only baserunner he allowed as he also finished with no walks, and he lowered his ERA for the season down to 2.65.

The Astros are the only team with three starting pitchers who all boast ERAs under 2.70, with American League Cy Young Award favourite Justin Verlander leading the league at 1.82, while the league-leader in quality starts, Framber Valdez, is at 2.69.

Shohei Ohtani further strengthened his MVP case after pitching seven scoreless innings, driving in one run and scoring another as the Los Angeles Angels claimed a 2-1 win over the Seattle Mariners.

The second straight victory for the Angels over the Mariners dropped the latter in the Wild Card standings, and bolstered their star man's case against the New York Yankees' Aaron Judge AL MVP.

Getting on base twice in three at-bats, Ohtani drove in his 89th run of the season. He also lowered his ERA to 2.43.

"I've said it before: He's the most valuable player of our game right now," interim Angels manager Phil Nevin said. "Until somebody can come in and do the things he does on both sides, I don't see it going any other way.

"I love Aaron Judge like a son, but I'll continue to say it: [Ohtani] can take over a baseball game like nobody can."

Ohtani was more modest in his own assessment however, adding: "I don't like to self-critique myself in any way. One thing I could say is, overall, balance-wise, I'm having a better season this year than I had last year."

The two-time All-Star's performance dropped the Mariners two games behind Toronto Blue Jays and a half game off the Tampa Bay Rays, leaving them five ahead of the Baltimore Orioles in the final Wild Card spot. The Angels improved to 63-82 in another disappointing year.

Aaron Judge blasted two home runs to move another few steps closer to history as the New York Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox 7-6 on Tuesday.

The Yankees outfielder delivered his 56th blast in the sixth inning, taking another over the Green Monster in the eighth inning for his 57th of the season.

Judge remains on pace for 65 home runs this season, which would break Roger Maris' American League (AL) and Yankees single-season record of 61 set in 1961. The pair of solo blasts comes after Judge went without a homer across five games.

The 30-year-old also has 10 multi-homer games this season which is one short of the AL record held by Hank Greenberg from 1938.

"I'm out of adjectives," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "Just really impressive what he did."

Gerrit Cole, who came into the game with a 7.13 career ERA as a Yankee at Fenway Park, had 10 strikeouts across six innings.

Xander Bogaerts blasted Cole for a game-tying solo home run in sixth inning, before the game went to extras where Gleyber Torres had a go-ahead three-run double.

Trout misses out on eight-game HR streak

Three-time AL MVP Mike Trout fell one game short of tying the majors record for homering in consecutive games, going 0-for-3 in the Los Angeles Angels' 3-1 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

Trout, who walked on four pitches in his second at-bat, lined out to center on a 3-2 cutter from left-hander reliever Kirk McCarty.

The 10-time All-Star's streak ends at seven games, falling one shy of the record of eight held by Dale Long (1956), Don Mattingly (1987) and Ken Griffey Jr (1993).

Twins pair fall agonisingly short in no-no-bid

Minnesota Twins' pair Joe Ryan and Jovani Moran doubled up but fell agonisingly two outs short in their no-hitter bid in a 6-3 win over the Kansas City Royals.

Rookie Ryan was pulled after seven innings and 106 pitches, with the Twins crowd booing that call, before Moran got through the eighth and attempted to close it out, only to lose the no-no bid with Bobby Witt's RBI double.

The failed bid means there have five no-hit bids lost in the ninth inning this season, which is the most since 2017.

Three-time American League (AL) MVP Mike Trout moved one away from the major league record after homering in his seventh-straight game as the Los Angeles Angels lost 5-4 to the Cleveland Guardians.

The 10-time All-Star drove high to center-field at the top of the fifth inning for a game-tying two-run blast and his 35th home run of the season. Trout crushed a fastball for the third straight game, this time from Konnor Pilkington for a 422-foot drive.

The Angels center fielder is within one blast of the eight-game record, held jointly by Dale Long (1956), Don Mattingly (1987) and Ken Griffey Jr (1993). Trout will get the chance to match the mark on Tuesday against the Guardians.

"That's good company to be in," Trout said. "I'm just putting a good swing on the ball and they're going out."

The win was important for the AL Central-leading Guardians, as Amed Rosario doubled home Steven Kwan in the seventh inning for the go-ahead run.

The Guardians are 74-65, three games ahead of the Chicago White Sox (72-69) who did not play on Monday.

Valdez equals deGrom quality-start record

Left-hander Framber Valdez tied the record with a 24th consecutive quality start as the Houston Astros won 7-0 over the Detroit Tigers.

Valdez's shutout tied New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom (2018) for the all-time single-season streak record since 1913, tossing down 107 pitches with eight strikeouts allowing six hits and one walk.

The Astros pitcher's shutout was almost broken when Willi Castro was called safe at the plate from Yordan Alvarez's throw but that was overturned on replay.

Dodgers secure postseason berth for real

The Los Angeles Dodgers officially clinched their postseason berth with a 6-0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks after the MLB prematurely declared that on Sunday.

The MLB confirmed that an internal error in determining the Dodgers' postseason scenario meant that Dave Roberts' side actually needed one more win to lock in their 10th straight playoffs berth.

Mookie Betts blasted a ninth-inning three-run home run, marking a career-high 34 homers this season for him.

Three-time American League (AL) MVP Mike Trout moved one away from the major league record after homering in his seventh-straight game as the Los Angeles Angels lost 5-4 to the Cleveland Guardians.

The 10-time All-Star drove high to center-field at the top of the fifth inning for a game-tying two-run blast and his 35th home run of the season. Trout crushed a fastball for the third straight game, this time from Konnor Pilkington for a 422-foot drive.

The Angels center fielder is within one blast of the eight-game record, held jointly by Dale Long (1956), Don Mattingly (1987) and Ken Griffey Jr (1993). Trout will get the chance to match the mark on Tuesday against the Guardians.

"That's good company to be in," Trout said. "I'm just putting a good swing on the ball and they're going out."

The win was important for the AL Central-leading Guardians, as Amed Rosario doubled home Steven Kwan in the seventh inning for the go-ahead run.

The Guardians are 74-65, three games ahead of the Chicago White Sox (72-69) who did not play on Monday.

Valdez equals deGrom quality-start record

Left-hander Framber Valdez tied the record with a 24th consecutive quality start as the Houston Astros won 7-0 over the Detroit Tigers.

Valdez's shutout tied New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom (2018) for the all-time single-season streak record since 1913, tossing down 107 pitches with eight strikeouts allowing six hits and one walk.

The Astros pitcher's shutout was almost broken when Willi Castro was called safe at the plate from Yordan Alvarez's throw but that was overturned on replay.

Dodgers officially secure postseason berth

The Los Angeles Dodgers officially clinched their postseason berth with a 6-0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks after the MLB prematurely declared that on Sunday.

The MLB confirmed that an internal error in determining the Dodgers' postseason scenario meant that Dave Roberts' side actually needed one more win to lock in their 10th straight playoffs berth.

Mookie Betts blasted a ninth-inning three-run home run, marking a career-high 34 homers this season for him.

Two-time All-Star Justin Turner hit a pair of home runs to help his Los Angeles Dodgers defeat the San Diego Padres 11-2 on Sunday, giving them three consecutive series wins against their California rivals.

It was a bright start for the Padres, who led 2-0 through four innings of action as Joe Musgrove was pitching well and Jake Cronenworth hit a home run – before it all unravelled.

Turner got the first run on the board for the Dodgers with a solo home run in the fifth inning, before Chris Taylor followed suit two batters later to tie the game at 2-2.

A two-RBI, bases loaded single in the next frame from Max Muncy was the end of Musgrove, who finished with four earned runs from six hits and a walk.

But it was just the beginning for the Dodgers, who added six more runs in the seventh inning, capped off with a grand slam from Turner for his second homer of the game and 13th of the season.

Dodgers starter Andrew Heaney gave another good showing as he finished with two earned runs in five innings, striking out six.

After going four-for-five at the plate on Saturday and two-for-three on Sunday, Freddie Freeman now leads the majors in batting average at .331, and he has hit four more doubles (45) than any other player.

The Dodgers are 7-2 in their nine games against the Padres since the All-Star break, opening up a 20-game lead in the NL West.

Ohtani homers again in Angels loss

Shohei Ohtani is now tied for the fifth-most home runs in the league, with his 34th of the campaign coming in a 12-4 loss against the Houston Astros.

Ohtani – who is also seventh in the league for strikeouts as a pitcher (188 in 24 starts) – connected on his big two-run blast as the second batter of the game, but after teammate Andrew Velazquez put the Angels up 3-0 in the second inning, it would be all downhill from there.

The Astros rattled off the next 12 runs in a row, with home runs to Mauricio Dubon, Alex Bregman, Trey Mancini, Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker, extending their lead atop the American League to five-and-a-half games.

Pujols moves into fourth place on all-time home run list

Albert Pujols inched closer to the magical 700 home run mark on Sunday as he launched number 697 to help his St Louis Cardinals come from behind in the last inning to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3.

Trailing 2-0 in the last inning, a Corey Dickerson RBI double cut the margin to one, before Pujols drilled a high fastball 403 feet over the center-field wall.

Retiring at the end of the season, the 42-year-old seemed incredibly unlikely to reach 700 at the All-Star break, but he has since posted one of the best second halves to a season of his career, hitting 11 home runs in 99 at-bats while slashing .343/.400/.737.

Albert Pujols blasted his 696th career home run to move into equal fourth on the all-time homers list as the St Louis Cardinals defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-5 on Saturday.

Pujols levelled the game at the top of the sixth inning with his two-run blast, which moved him closer to the 700-homer mark, but also tied him up with Alex Rodriguez in fourth all-time behind only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).

The 42-year-old is in his final season in the majors, but was less concerned about records and more focused on the win.

"I don't care who I tied," Pujols said. "At the end of the day, it's about tying [the game] for the team and giving them an opportunity to pick up a win... It's pretty special. I think I'm aware of where I am in the history of the game. But at the end of the day, 21 years ago when I make the ballclub, that wasn't something that I was chasing."

Pujols also had a double and a single to round out a strong game, with Nolan Arenado breaking the tie with a three-run double with two outs in the ninth inning.

The National League (NL) Central-leading Cardinals improve their record to 82-58, to remain eight games clear of the Milwaukee Brewers who won 5-1 over the Cincinnati Reds.

Trout makes Angels franchise history

Mike Trout set a franchise record after homering in a sixth consecutive game as the Los Angeles Angels won 6-1 over the Houston Astros.

Trout passed Bonds' mark with a three-run homer at the top of the second inning, bringing up his 34th blast of the season.

Shohei Ohtani was hot on the mound for the Angels, with seven strikeouts, yielding one run on six hits across five innings before exiting early due to a "blister on his right index finger".

Ohtani's 101.4 mph fastball to strike out Kyle Tucker was the fastest strikeout pitch by an Angels pitcher since 2008.

Harper breaks home run drought

Bryce Harper snapped a career-worst run of 102 plate appearances without a home run in the Philadelphia Phillies 8-5 victory over the Washington Nationals.

Harper, who had not homered since June 5, slugged an opposite-field game-tying two-run home run in the third inning.

Kyle Schwarber blasted his 37th homer of the year, topping the NL charts, and bringing up his first since August 29.

Albert Pujols blasted his 696th career home run to move into equal fourth on the all-time homers list as the St Louis Cardinals defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-5 on Saturday.

Pujols levelled the game at the top of the sixth inning with his two-run blast, which moved him closer to the 700-homer mark, but also tied him up with Alex Rodriguez in fourth all-time behind only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).

The 42-year-old is in his final season in the majors, but was less concerned about records and more focused on the win.

"I don't care who I tied," Pujols said. "At the end of the day, it's about tying [the game] for the team and giving them an opportunity to pick up a win... It's pretty special. I think I'm aware of where I am in the history of the game. But at the end of the day, 21 years ago when I make the ballclub, that wasn't something that I was chasing."

Pujols also had a double and a single to round out a strong game, with Nolan Arenado breaking the tie with a three-run double with two outs in the ninth inning.

The National League (NL) Central-leading Cardinals improve their record to 82-58, to remain eight games clear of the Milwaukee Brewers who won 5-1 over the Cincinnati Reds.

Trout makes Angels franchise history

Mike Trout set a franchise record after homering in a sixth consecutive game as the Los Angeles Angels won 6-1 over the Houston Astros.

Trout passed Bonds' mark with a three-run homer at the top of the second inning, bringing up his 34th blast of the season.

Shohei Ohtani was hot on the mound for the Angels, with seven strikeouts, yielding one run on six hits across five innings before exiting early due to a "blister on his right index finger".

Ohtani's 101.4 mph fastball to strike out Kyle Tucker was the fastest strikeout pitch by an Angels pitcher since 2008.

Harper breaks home run drought

Bryce Harper snapped a career-worst run of 102 plate appearances without a home run in the Philadelphia Phillies 8-5 victory over the Washington Nationals.

Harper, who had not homered since June 5, slugged an opposite-field game-tying two-run home run in the third inning.

Kyle Schwarber blasted his 37th homer of the year, topping the NL charts, and bringing up his first since August 29.

Shohei Ohtani continues to put forward his case for back-to-back American League (AL) MVP awards as the All-Star pitcher blasted two home runs in the Los Angeles Angels' 10-0 home win against the Detroit Tigers on Monday.

Ohtani, who was also named an All-Star as a batter, hit a double in the first inning, and then connected on a 382-foot, two-run homer with his next at-bat in the third frame.

He was robbed of another hit when his 100mph line drive was caught by the Tigers first-baseman, but there was nothing they could do about his massive 416-foot launch in the seventh inning for his second home run of the game.

Also getting in on the fun was three-time AL MVP Mike Trout, who had a single, a double and a home run as the Angels' two superstars combined to go six-for-nine at the plate with three home runs and two doubles.

Ohtani is now tied for sixth in the majors with 32 home runs this season, while Trout is tied for 10th with 30 home runs. Trout has played 16 games fewer than any other player with 30 homers, and Ohtani is also eighth in the majors for strikeouts as a pitcher (181 in 23 starts).

On the mound, Jose Suarez was spectacular for the Angels, pitching seven scoreless innings while only giving up three hits and one walk, striking out seven.

Judge homers for third consecutive day

Ohtani's biggest challenger for the AL MVP, and the heavy favourite, Aaron Judge hit a home run for the third day in a row to help his New York Yankees defeat the Minnesota Twins 5-2 at home.

Judge's hot streak has now seen him hit five home runs from his past seven games, taking his league-leading tally to 54 – 18 more than any other player. He is now seven home runs away from the Yankees' all-time record of 61 in a season, set 61 years ago, in 1961, by Roger Maris.

His big hit on Monday came at the perfect time, with his two-run homer in the sixth inning breaking a 2-2 tie to put the Yankees up 4-2, allowing Wandy Peralta and Clay Holmes to close the door with sharp pitching out of the bullpen.

Debutant pitchers make history

Two pitchers in their very first career start tossed at least six scoreless innings in shutout wins, with Ryne Nelson carrying the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 5-0 win and Hunter Brown delivering for the Houston Astros in a 1-0 result.

Nelson pitched seven innings, striking out seven batters while allowing four hits and one walk. Brown pitched six innings, giving up three hits and one walk while striking out five.

It is the first time in MLB history that two debutant starting pitchers delivered a scoreless outing with at least five strikeouts on the same day.

Shohei Ohtani became the first player in American League/National League history to record 10 wins on the mound and 30 home runs after his go-ahead blast in the Los Angeles Angels' 3-2 triumph over the New York Yankees.

The Angels two-way star homered at the bottom of the sixth inning off Gerrit Cole with two runners on and his side trailing 2-0.

Ohtani's three-run shot means he has three homers in his past four games and delivered the winning blast for the second time in the three-game series against the Yankees.

He also became the first Japanese-born player with multiple 30-homer seasons, after blasting 46 home runs last year.

Aaron Hicks had made a leaping catch on the wall in the first inning to deny Ohtani, who had four at-bats for his three RBI.

Left-hander Patrick Sandoval allowed two runs on three hits over seven innings for the Angels, while the Yankees move to 79-52.

Nimmo robs Turner with unbelievable catch

Brandon Nimmo plucked one of the catches of the season to rob Justin Turner a game-tying homer in the New York Mets' 2-1 triumph over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

At the top of the seventh inning, Turner blasted Jacob deGrom over his head to deep center field where a leaping Nimmo produced his moment of magic.

Starling Marte hit a two-run homer, while DeGrom was typically stingy with nine strikeouts across seven innings and only three hits, before Edwin Diaz closed it out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Valdez dishes up another quality start

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

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

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

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

Vladdy stars for the Blue Jays

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

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

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

Aaron Judge blasted his 50th home run of the season, but Shohei Ohtani had the decisive say as the Los Angeles Angels beat the New York Yankees 4-3 on Monday.

With scores locked at 2-2 at the bottom of the fifth inning, Ohtani delivered a two-run blast down right-center field from a Frankie Montas splitter in the zone.

The 398-foot home run was Ohtani's 29th of the season, boosting the two-way star's American League (AL) MVP case, with Judge likely to be his strongest opposition.

Judge produced his 434-foot solo shot over left-center field at the top of the eighth inning to halve the deficit and bring up his 50th home run for the season.

The slugger became just the seventh player to hit 50 home runs before September in AL or National League (NL) history.

Judge also became only the 10th player in MLB history to register multiple 50-home run seasons. Only three Yankees have achieved that feat; Judge, Babe Ruth (four) and Mickey Mantle (two).

"It's just another number," Judge said. "It's great, but I'm kind of upset about the loss."

The defeat leaves the Yankees with a 78-51 record having lost their last three games.

Pujols edges past Bonds all-time milestone

Albert Pujols moved a step closer to 700 career home runs and surpassed the record held by Barry Bonds in the St Louis Cardinals' 13-4 win over the Cincinnati Reds.

Pujols' two-run blast came in the third inning from Reds left-hander Ross Detwiler, bringing up his 694th-career home run.

The blast also tagged his major league record for the 450th different pitcher for a home run, breaking the all-time mark that had been tied with Bonds .

Padres overcome delays for key NL win

The San Diego Padres boosted their NL Wild Card aspirations with a hard-fought 6-5 win over the San Francisco Giants in a game full of delays, including an injury to home plate umpire Marvin Hudson as well as stadium lighting issues.

Brandon Drury's two-run first-inning home run set the Padres on their way before the delays, with three eighth-inning runs keeping the Giants alive, before Nick Martinez closed it out.

The Padres improved to 71-59 to firm up the third NL Wild Card spot, with the Giants back at 61-66. The Milwaukee Brewers, who beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-5 on Monday, split the pair at 68-59.

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