Last season's World Series runners-up the Tampa Bay Rays made it two from two to start the 2021 MLB season with a 6-4 come-from-behind victory over the Miami Marlins on Friday.

Trailing 4-2 at the top of the ninth, Joey Wendle stepped up for a three-run homer to turn the game on its head.

Diego Castillo closed it out on the mound, backing up their 1-0 Opening Day win over the Marlins.

The Houston Astros were winners again, triumphing 9-5 over the Oakland Athletics with Alex Bregman hitting back-to-back home runs across the first two games and producing a two-run performance on  Friday.

Jose Altuve's speed was on show when he scored on a pop-up in the infield after Kyle Tucker's fly ball off the wall.

Chad Pinder pulled the As back into the game with a two-run homer at the bottom of the seventh but the Astros rounded it out with three runs in the ninth.

 

Bauer power, Mercedes drives White Sox

Trevor Bauer struck out 10 hitters in a superb first start for the Los Angeles Dodgers in their 11-6 victory over the Colorado Rockies, who had beaten the World Series champs on Opening Day.

He almost completed a no-hitter at Coors Field after six tight innings before the Rockies scored six runs in the seventh.

Yermin Mercedes went five from five, including four RBIs, in his first career start as the Chicago White Sox won 12-8 against the Los Angeles Angels.

Eric Hosmer continues to impress for the San Diego Padres, blasting a homer to right field and totalling three hits in their 4-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks as they moved to 2-0.

Hosmer made some history with the Padres too, becoming the first player with three hits in each of their opening two games of a season.

 

Puffed-out furry field invader

The Dodgers-Rockies game was interrupted by an intruder when a cat bounded its way on to the field. It is not the first time this has happened in MLB,  but the lowlight was how puffed out the feline looked after their sprint.

 

First grand slam of 2021

Last season's American League MVP Jose Abreu registered the first grand slam of the new season, hitting to right-center to clear the bases for the White Sox.

 

Friday's results

Baltimore Orioles 3-0 Boston Red Sox
Tampa Bay Rays 6-4 Miami Marlins
Los Angeles Dodgers 11-6 Colorado Rockies 
Chicago White Sox 12-8 Los Angeles Angels 
Houston Astros 9-5 Oakland Athletics  
San Diego Padres 4-2 Arizona Diamondbacks 
San Francisco Giants 6-3 Seattle Mariners

Tomorrow

There's a full 14-game slate on Saturday with Hosmer's Padres out to make it 3-0 against the Diamondbacks.

World Series champions Los Angeles Dodgers were humbled on the Opening Day of the new Major League Baseball season 8-5 by the Colorado Rockies on Thursday.

The Dodgers had 14 stranded runners throughout the game while Cody Bellinger hit a ball into the stands which did not count as a home run on a strange afternoon.

With crowds returning to MLB, the Dodgers were unable to get off to a flying start.

"Honestly, we just didn’t play a good baseball game," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "All the way around, we didn’t play well."

In the Houston Astros' first game back playing in front of crowds since their cheating scandal emerged they were jeered and boed in an 8-1 win on the road against the Oakland Athletics.

Back-to-back home runs from Michael Brantley and Alex Bregman in the eighth put the Astros out of sight and silenced the crowd.

 

Trout lifts Angels, Mariners mighty comeback

Mike Trout flexed his muscle as the Los Angeles Angels rallied to beat the Chicago White Sox 4-3. At the bottom of the eighth, a visibly pumped Trout's hit gave him an RBI and tied the game. Shohei Ohtani then got on the board after an error by second baseman Nick Madrigal.

The Seattle Mariners trailed 6-1 in the eighth inning against the San Francisco Giants before mounting a remarkable fightback and eventually prevail 8-7. The winning run came when Jake Fraley walked with the bases loaded.

The New York Yankees' bats let them down as they were beaten 3-2 by the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Tampa Day Rays shut out the Miami Marlins in a 1-0 win earned by Austin Meadows' solo home run in the ninth.

 

Bellinger denied by mix-up

Bellinger was denied his first homer of the new season in a moment of confusion, when team-mate Justin Turner, who was on first base, thought Bellinger had been caught in the outfield and ran back. Bellinger's hit was actually fumbled by Raimel Tapia over the fence so when Turner reversed and passed by the left-hander that made him out and resulted in only an RBI single.

 

First homer of season

Detroit Tigers hitter Miguel Cabrera claimed the maiden homer of the new season in driving snow, which left him confused, sliding into base just in case it had not cleared the fence.

 

Thursday's results

Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 New York Yankees
Detroit Tigers 3-2 Cleveland Indians
Milwaukee Brewers 6-5 Minnesota Twins
Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 Chicago Cubs
Philadelphia Phillies 3-2 Atlanta Braves
Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 Miami Marlins
St Louis Cardinals 11-6 Cincinnati Reds
Colorado Rockies 8-5 Los Angeles Dodgers
San Diego Padres 8-7 Arizona Diamondbacks
Kansas City Royals 14-10 Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels 4-3 Chicago White Sox
Houston Astros 8-1 Oakland Athletics 
Seattle Mariners 8-7 San Fransisco Giants 

 

Dodgers to bounce back

The Dodgers will look to bounce back from their opening day loss on Friday on the road again versus the Colorado Rockies.

Opening Day.

A term synonymous with baseball across the United States and the globe. For fans, it is nothing short of a national holiday.

The highly anticipated start to the season on April 1 is an occasion steeped in history, with tradition front and centre.

This year's Opening Day means more than most. It is the latest signal of American life and sport returning to normal amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The coronavirus pandemic led to an enforced break and a reduced 60-game regular season schedule behind closed doors, with a limited number of fans allowed to attend the playoffs as the Los Angeles Dodgers went on to end their 32-year World Series drought.

But 2021 will see the return of the usual 162-game calendar and more importantly, spectators in the stands. All but one of the 30 teams will start at reduced capacity – the Texas Rangers hosting a full house for their home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays.

As America's pastime begins anew, we preview the upcoming season, in which the Dodgers look to defend their World Series crown, using Stats Perform data.
 

Kershaw gears up for a franchise-record start

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw – entering the final season of his three-year, $93million deal – will be on the mound when the Dodgers open their title defence against the Colorado Rockies.

It will be Kershaw's ninth Opening Day start – the most in franchise history – after injuries prevented him from beginning the 2019 and 2020 campaigns, the eight-time All-Star getting the nod ahead of Walker Buehler and high-profile recruit Trevor Bauer, the reigning National League (NL) Cy Young winner.

Future Hall of Famer Kershaw boasts a 5-1 record on Opening Day, with a 1.05 ERA (6/51.2), 59 strikeouts and eight walks. The 2014 NL MVP's only loss came in his previous start in 2018 as he allowed eight hits and one earned run, while tallying seven strikeouts in six innings against the San Francisco Giants.

Since 1913, when ERA became an official stat, Kershaw has managed the lowest Opening Day figure among pitchers with six starts – 1.05. The 32-year-old's ERA is ahead of Bob Feller (1.21), Jim Palmer (1.40), Hal Newhouser (1.41) and Walter Johnson (1.51).

As for the star-studded Dodgers, they are 74-62 (.544) all-time on Opening Day, winning nine of their 10 season openers since 2011, losing only in 2018.

Their 9-1 (.900) Opening Day record over this stretch is the best in the league, ahead of the Houston Astros (8-2), Baltimore Orioles (8-2), Seattle Mariners (7-3), Detroit Tigers (7-3) and New York Mets (7-3).
 

All eyes on Tatis and Padres

Fernando Tatis Jr. heads into the 2021 season fresh off signing his eye-popping 14-year, $340m contract with the San Diego Padres.

The Padres – winners of two NL pennants – are pinning their hopes on MLB's new poster boy delivering a first World Series to San Diego.

Tatis won a Silver Slugger award last year, having hit .277 with 17 home runs and 45 RBIs in the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season.

The powerful 22-year-old is the first player in MLB history to have at least 35 home runs and 25 stolen bases within the first 150 games of his career.

Tatis – the youngest Padres player to debut on Opening Day (20 years and 85 days) in 2019 – became the fastest player in franchise history (24 team games) to reach the double-digit home run mark in a season in 2020 after hitting his 10th and 11th homers in August.

In the postseason, Tatis homered twice against the St Louis Cardinals in October, becoming the youngest Padre to ever homer in a playoff game (21 years and 273 days) and the third-youngest player in MLB history to homer twice in a postseason match, behind Carlos Correa (21 and 20 days old) and Andruw Jones (19 years, 180 days old).

When it comes to on-base plus slugging, Tatis stacks up well. Since 1920, Tatis (150.8) is only behind Juan Soto (153.9 – 2018-20), Albert Pujols (159.3 – 2001), Jimmie Foxx (160.0 – 1925-29), Ted Williams (161.5 – 1939-40) and Trout (165.0 – 2011-13) for highest OPS-plus up until the age of 21.

Across his two Opening Day appearances, Tatis has three hits in seven at-bats and two runs while slugging at .571. The Padres will be hoping he can improve on that when they host face the Arizona Diamondbacks.

By comparison, Philadelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper and New York Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton love Opening Day.

Harper – the 2015 NL MVP and six-time All-Star – has nine hits, five homers and six runs in eight appearances, while 2017 NL MVP Stanton has 13 hits, four homers, 10 runs and 12 RBIs through 10 games.

Blue Jays recruit George Springer, a World Series winner with the Astros, has also impressed on Opening Day following five hits, three homers and six RBIs in six games.
 

Can Abreu and Freeman go back-to-back?

Chicago White Sox star Jose Abreu was crowned the American League's best in 2020.

Becoming the 28th player to win both the MVP and Rookie of the Year in his career, Abreu beat Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians and Yankees star DJ LeMahieu.

Abreu – the fourth White Sox player to win the award – was second in MLB with 19 home runs and fourth in the AL with a .317 batting average.

Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves trumped Dodgers star Mookie Betts and Padres sensation Manny Machado to the NL honour.

Freeman's 1.102 OPS was the second highest in MLB, trailing only Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto, while he led the majors with 51 runs scored and was second in the NL in batting average (.341), on-base percentage (.462) and slugging percentage (.640).

Does it bode well for the pair in 2020?

In a season after winning the MVP award, a player averages 135.9 hits, 21.5 homers, 80.5 runs and 79.5 RBIs with a slugging percentage of .516.

There have been 13 players to win back-to-back MVPs; 11-time All-Star Miguel Cabrera (AL) was the last to do so in 2012 and 2013. The most recent player in the NL was Albert Pujols (2008-09).
 

The end of Cleveland as we know them

After 106 years, this will be the last season the franchise will be known as the Indians, following the example of the NFL's Washington Football Team, who dropped their Redskins nickname in 2020 amid a long-time controversy.

Since 1915, Cleveland have won two World Series – in 1920 and 1948 – with their current streak of 71 seasons without a World Series title the longest active run in the majors.

In 1954, Cleveland went 111-43 (.721) in the regular season, before being swept in the World Series by the Giants. It stands as the highest single-season win percentage in AL history, and the best by any MLB team in the past 100 years.

Cleveland have had a winning record in each of the past eight seasons (2013-20), making them one of four MLB teams with an active streak of eight-plus (also Yankees 28, Cardinals 13, Dodgers 10). It is tied for the second-longest streak of winning seasons in franchise history (10 straight 1947-56; eight in a row 1994-2001).

Three Cleveland players have won the AL MVP Award – George Burns (1926), Lou Boudreau (1948) and Al Rosen (1953) – while five have claimed the AL Cy Young Award: Gaylord Perry (1972), C.C. Sabathia (2007), Cliff Lee (2008), Corey Kluber (2014 and 2017) and Shane Bieber (2020).

The Miami Marlins have made Kim Ng the first female general manager in MLB history.

Miami announced the historic hire on Friday, with Ng believed to be the first woman hired as a general manager in any of the four men's major sports leagues in North America.

"I entered Major League Baseball as an intern and, after decades of determination, it is the honour of my career to lead the Marlins as their next general manager," Ng said.

"We are building for the long term in South Florida, developing a forward-thinking, collaborative, creative baseball operation made up of incredibly talented and dedicated staff who have, over the last few years, laid a great foundation for success.

"This challenge is one I don't take lightly. When I got into this business, it seemed unlikely a woman would lead a major league team, but I am dogged in pursuit of my goals.

"My goal is now to bring championship baseball to Miami. I am both humbled and eager to continue building the winning culture our fans expect and deserve."

Ng has over 30 years of experience in MLB having worked with the Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers, serving as assistant general manager for the latter two.

Since 2011, Ng has worked as senior vice president of baseball operations for MLB.

She now takes the reins of the Marlins front office after a 2020 season that saw them reach the playoffs for the first time since their 2003 World Series win.

The Marlins went 31-29 in a campaign shortened by the coronavirus pandemic, beating the Chicago Cubs in the National League Wild Card Series before being swept by the Atlanta Braves in the Divisional Series.

Tampa Bay Rays boss Kevin Cash was named American League (AL) Manager of the Year for 2020, while Miami Marlins counterpart Don Mattingly reeled in National League (NL) honours.

Cash was crowned the AL's best after leading the Rays to their first division title since 2010 and first MLB World Series appearance in 12 years.

An AL Manager of the Year finalist in 2018 and 2019, Cash received 22 of the 30 first-place American League votes for 126 points, ahead of the Chicago White Sox's Rick Renteria (61) and Toronto Blue Jays skipper Charlie Montoyo (47).

"When I think about this award, it feels like a team award," Cash, whose Rays fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the showpiece clash, said. "I feel like it's an organisational award, because it's really your staff and your players have to buy in.

"We've taken our lumps for a couple years, and it looks like we're starting to turn the corner a little bit."

"I do think it's an organisational award," Cash, who became the second Rays skipper to win the award, joining Joe Maddon (2008 and 2011), continued. "But it certainly means a lot to me personally.

"When you look at these awards, there's only two that are given out every year, and to be recognised as one of the better ones on that given season means that a lot of things went your way."

In the NL, Mattingly and the Marlins capped a remarkable season with a managerial gong.

Mattingly received 20 of the 30 first-place votes after guiding the Marlins to their first playoff appearance in 17 years, despite a coronavirus outbreak that threatened to derail their campaign.

He became the third Marlins manager to receive the honour, along with Jack McKeon (2003) and Joe Girardi (2006), following Miami's run to the NL Division Series.

Mattingly is also the fifth individual to claim both the MVP Award and Manager of the Year title, joining Don Baylor, Frank Robinson, Kirk Gibson and Joe Torre.

"As I look back to the season, I think about all the people that paid the price for this," Mattingly, who beat Jayce Tingler of the San Diego Padres to the award, said.

"It starts at home with my wife and my little five-year-old. I didn’t see 'em for 110 days."

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 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.

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