Atlanta Braves reliever Tyler Matzek will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the entire postseason.

Braves manager Brian Snitker confirmed the news prior to Game 2 of the NLDS against the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday.

Matzek had experienced discomfort in his elbow late in the regular season and the Braves have now determined he requires surgery to resolve the injury.

"Hate it for him," Snitker told reporters. "He's struggled with things all year. I don't know, maybe this is the reason.

"I think him going ahead and getting it done and starting the process, I think he feels really good about that."

The 2021 World Series champion has been a valuable member of the Braves bullpen over the past few seasons.

Matzek appeared in 13 postseason games last year, giving up just three runs as the Braves won the World Series title, although he has been less effective this year.

The surgery puts 31-year-old left-hander Matzek's availability for the 2023 season in doubt.

"He's still a young man, can have a really good career as we've seen what he can do," Snitker said.

"I hate it for him that he can't experience this again. But talking to him, when he left to go for the examination, he was in a good place, and I think he felt good about his future and going ahead and taking care of this."

Matzek later tweeted: "Thank you to everyone for the support. Plan to come back stronger after this."

Gerrit Cole pitched brilliantly and Anthony Rizzo cracked the game-sealing home run as the New York Yankees defeated the Cleveland Guardians 4-1 in the first game of the ALDS on Tuesday.

Starting on the mound, Cole pitching six-and-a-third innings, giving up just one run off four hits and one walk, courtesy of a Steven Kwan home run in the third frame.

Harrison Bader replied for the Yankees later in the first inning, becoming the only Yankee to ever hit their first home run for the franchise in a playoff game, after being acquired at the deadline and struggling to find his power down the stretch.

Bader's 406-foot shot was the longest hit of the game, but the one that sent the Yankees fans into raptures came in the sixth inning.

After Jose Trevino's sacrifice-fly gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead, Rizzo came through with a runner on base in the sixth, connecting on a two-run home run to give New York some breathing room.

The Yankees' bullpen was rock solid, not allowing a baserunner in the final two innings to see out the game unscathed.

Likely AL MVP Aaron Judge had a poor outing, finishing with one walk and three strikeouts from his four at-bats, and Josh Donaldson was the only Yankee to register multiple hits, going two-for-two with a walk.

Phillies hang on by the narrowest of margins

The Philadelphia Phillies would have felt great going into the final inning of their Game 1 against the Atlanta Braves leading 7-3, but barely hung on for a 7-6 win after plenty of late drama.

Three RBIs from three Nick Castellanos hits and a pair of RBIs for Alec Bohm helped build a 7-1 Philadelphia lead in the fifth inning, but a two-run double from Travis d'Arnaud later in the fifth and three-run homer for Matt Olson in the ninth cut that lead to one.

Zach Eflin was the man entrusted with closing things out on the mound for the Phillies, but despite giving up three runs with only one out, the Phillies stuck with him, and he delivered the final two outs.

Dodgers ride early runs to Game 1 win

The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Diego Padres 5-3 in Game 1 of the NLDS, but they did not score a run after the third inning.

It looked like it would be a high-scoring contest after Trea Turner hit a home run as the first Dodgers batter of the game, and RBIs to Gavin Lux, Will Smith and Max Muncy had them up 5-0 through three frames.

But once Padres starter Mike Clevinger was removed, their bullpen proved to be impressively stout, pitching six-and-a-third innings of shutout baseball.

Ultimately, the early advantage proved to be enough, as the Padres grabbed three runs back in the fifth inning, but could not make any impression late as Chris Martin and Alex Vesia shut things down out of the Dodgers bullpen.

Houston Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez became the first player in MLB postseason history to hit a walk-off home run while his team trailed by multiple runs as he electrified his home fans in Tuesday's 8-7 win against the Seattle Mariners.

Alvarez, 25, established himself as arguably the best left-handed hitter in the sport this season as he hit 37 home runs while slashing .306/406/613, and with one swing of the bat on Tuesday he wrote his name into the MLB history books.

The Astros were trailing 7-3 after Eugenio Suarez hit the Mariners' second home run of the game in the seventh inning, with J.P Crawford also going deep in the fourth frame. It followed an early-inning onslaught from Seattle, who rode RBI hits from Julio Rodriguez, Cal Raleigh and Ty France to a 4-0 lead through two innings.

In the eighth, Alex Bregman's two-run homer cut the margin to 7-5, and they were able to get two men on base in the ninth inning to bring Alvarez to the plate with two outs and the game on his bat.

After fouling off a dead-center fastball with the first pitch, Alvarez made no mistake on the second, connecting on a game-winning, 438-foot no-doubter into the second deck at right-field after the Mariners unsuccessfully brought in ace starting pitcher Robbie Ray to get the final out.

Alvarez finished the game three-for-five at the plate with five RBIs, after also hitting a two-run double in the third inning.

The series will remain in Houston for Game 2, before heading to Seattle for Game 3 and Game 4 in the best-of-five battle.

New York Mets manager Buck Showalter defended his decision to have San Diego Padres' pitcher Joe Musgrove checked for a foreign substance in their 6-0 shutout Wild Card series loss on Sunday.

The Mets bowed out of the preseason after their excellent 101-61 regular season, unable to find any answers to Musgrove, who allowed only one hit across seven innings with five strikeouts.

Musgrove became the first pitcher to go seven scoreless innings and allow one or zero hits in a winner-take-all game as the Padres advanced to the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Showalter desperately, and unsuccessfully, tried to get Musgrove pulled out of the game in the sixth inning when he requested umpires check him for a foreign substance, including inspecting his ears.

"I felt like that was best for us right now. Some pretty obvious reasons why it was necessary," Showalter told reporters.

"I love him as a pitcher, always have. He's too good a pitcher… Without getting into a lot of things, the spin rates and other things [were unusual], I get a lot of information in the dugout. We certainly weren't having much luck the way it was going, that's for sure.

"I'm charged with doing what’s best for the New York Mets. However it might make me look, I’m going to do that every time and live with the consequences.

"I'm not here to not hurt somebody's feelings."

Padres manager Bob Melvin was quick to defend Musgrove's character, with the right-hander jeered at times after the incident.

"Questioning his character to me is the part I have a problem with," Melvin said. "I'm here to tell everybody that Joe Musgrove is above board as any pitcher I know and any player I know and unfortunately that happened to him. The reception he got after that was not warranted."

Musgrove understood Showalter's request, claiming that the Mets were getting "desperate". The pitcher gestured at the crowd and the Mets dugout after the sixth inning.

"I figured he was going to do it," he said. "I've seen him do it before, checking the pitcher.

"I get it, they're on their last leg. They're desperate. They're doing everything they can to get me out of the game at that point. It motivated me a bit. It fired me up."

The win means the Padres are into the NLDS for the second time in the last three seasons, while it ends the Mets' season prematurely having seemed destined to be top seed in the NL East for long periods of the season before being overhauled late by the Atlanta Braves, including a series sweep.

"The sport is so gratifying and so many great things happen," Showalter said. "It's just cruel at times like this because I feel for the players, they put so much into it.

"We're such a special group. It's like I just told them, it's not always fair. I don’t think I've ever had such a good blend of good people and good players."

Joe Musgrove and Juan Soto have led the San Diego Padres past the New York Mets and into the NLDS to face the Los Angeles Dodgers after a 6-0 victory on Sunday.

Musgrove allowed only one hit with five strikeouts across seven innings, even having to overcome a desperate call from Mets manager Buck Shoalwater for an umpire check for foreign substances on the pitcher's ears.

The 29-year-old right-hander is the first pitcher to go seven scoreless innings and allow one or zero hits in a winner-take-all game. Musgrove's display means the Padres starting pitchers in this three-game series allowed only three earned runs. All three Padres pitcher used on Sunday only allowed one hit.

The result means the Mets' promising season ends with a 2-1 Wild Card series exit, bowing out of the postseason for the fifth straight time in front of their fans at Citi Field.

Soto, who the Padres acquired in a bumper Deadline Day trade from the Washington Nationals, went two-for-four with two RBIs in the eighth inning to open up the 6-0 lead. It was Soto's fifth career postseason game with multiple RBIs.

"I feel great. It's an amazing moment," Soto said amid the celebrations. "Everybody wants to be in this party. We just make it another step. Why not [win the World Series]. All the way. All the way."

Austin Nola drove in two in the second inning, representing the first hit with two out and a runner in scoring position this series for the Padres.

Trent Grisham equaled Jim Leyritz's franchise record of five consecutive games with an RBI, when he added another run in the fourth inning.

Grisham also hauled in a fine catch just before the wall, with a runner on first, to save a potential run from Mark Canha's fifth-inning shot.

After striking out Daniel Vogelbach to make it one hit through five innings, the Mets desperately called for Musgrove to be checked, yet the umpires found nothing.

Soto drove in two more runs in the eighth inning with a grounder to left-field, before Josh Hader closed out the win.

J.T. Realmuto insisted that "nobody's excited" to play the Philadelphia Phillies after they secured their National League Division Series place with victory over the St Louis Cardinals.

The Phillies advanced to their first NLDS showdown in 11 years, where they will face the Atalanta Braves after defeating the Cardinals 2-0 in the National League Wildcard Series.

Bryce Harper's homer off the first pitch of the second inning set the tone at Busch Stadium, where Aaron Nola's pitching kept the likes of Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado at bay as they prevailed with a game to spare.

"I can promise you, nobody's excited to play the Phillies right now," Realmuto said. "Not one person on this team is surprised. We all expected to be here. This is where we wanted to be to start the season, and we're not done yet.

"We felt like it was our night to begin with and as soon as Bryce [Harper] hit that home run, we felt like we were going to win the game.

"There's a lot of confidence in that dugout right now and with the way Aaron has been throwing the ball, we were confident he and the bullpen were going to hold it down."

Rhys Hoskins also heaped praise on Harper following his "MVP-type" display, revealing he was a man on a mission upon arriving in the locker room. 

"The first thing Bryce told me today is we are not losing this game," Hoskins added. "Then he goes out and hits a home run in his first at-bat. That's MVP-type stuff right there. It was awesome."

Defeat for the Cardinals abruptly brought the curtain down on the glittering careers of Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina, who boast 21 All Star appearances between them.

Manager Oliver Marmol was disappointed not to give the decorated duo a more fitting send-off, saying: "Everybody in that clubhouse is feeling it right now. It's a tough one.

"When you know it's Yadi's last year and Albert's last year, there's this extra motivation to deliver for them and do something special and allow that story to end with a championship, so it's obviously disappointing. But it's where we're at."

The Toronto Blue Jays were still in shock as John Schneider and his players sought to reflect on a remarkable defeat to the Seattle Mariners that ended their season.

Toronto, the fourth seed in the American League, had lost their Wild Card opener at home to the Mariners on Friday but appeared on course to level the series the following day.

The Blue Jays led 8-1 at the end of the fifth inning, with Seattle needing to become just the third team to overturn a seven-run deficit in a postseason game.

But that was exactly what they did, with four runs in each of the sixth and eighth innings to win 10-9 and advance to the ALDS.

"Baseball sucks sometimes, and this group will be back in the exact same spot very, very soon," Schneider said. 

"Sometimes when you think you have an advantage, you don't win."

The interim Blue Jays manager gathered his thoughts more effectively than Teoscar Hernandez, whose two home runs proved in vain.

Hernandez is only the third Blue Jay to hit two homers in a single postseason game, although all three examples have now come in defeats that saw Toronto eliminated (also Jose Bautista vs the Kansas City Royals in the 2015 ALCS, Danny Jansen vs the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2020 Wild Card).

"Nothing goes through my mind," Hernandez said. "Every little thing that happened in the game, it's just incredible the way it happened.

"I mean, we were winning by seven runs. It sucks, but at the end, it's baseball, and we have to eat it, go home, think about it and get ready for next year."

While heartbreaking for the Blue Jays, the win continued the Mariners' Cinderella story, bringing playoff baseball back home to Seattle for the first time since 2001.

A 21-year postseason drought had been the longest such active run in any of the four major American sports.

"It's a credit to our players not quitting," said manager Scott Servais. "Just keep grinding through it.

"We've talked about doing the little things, just get on base, and that's what you saw. Nobody tried to hit a homer. It was just 'keep the line moving'. And all of a sudden, big things happen."

The Seattle Mariners launched the biggest road comeback in playoff history to advance to the ALDS after completing a Wild Card sweep over the Toronto Blue Jays with a 10-9 win.

The Mariners, in their first postseason campaign since 2001, trailed 8-1 at the bottom of the fifth inning before four runs in each of the sixth and eighth.

Down 9-6 in the eighth, J.P. Crawford hit a blooper to center, landing between center-fielder George Springer and shortstop Bo Bichette, who collided, allowing three runners to score and tie the game up.

Adam Frazier came up with the game-winning RBI double in the ninth inning, hitting to right-field to drive in Cal Raleigh.

The comeback was the joint second biggest in MLB postseason history, and the largest rally to clinch a postseason series.

Seattle now progresses to the ALDS where they will face the Houston Astros.

"To go to the World Series, you have to go through Houston,'' Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "They're really good. We understand that. We're really good.''

Phillies floor Cards to end Pujols' career

Albert Pujols' decorated career ended as the St Louis Cardinals bowed out following a 2-0 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies after Bryce Harper's second-inning home run.

Pujols went two-for-four, managing a hit with his final at-bat, but could not produce the heroics to lift the Cardinals, with their leading home-run hitter Paul Goldschmidt struggling throughout. Pujols ends his career with 703 home runs, the fourth most of all-time.

Aaron Nola was excellent for the Phillies on the mound, with six strikeouts across six-and-two-thirds scoreless innings, allowing only four hits.

The Cleveland Guardians completed a sweep over the Tampa Bay Rays with a 1-0 win after Oscar Gonzalez homered in the 15th inning.

Vintage deGrom helps Mets stay alive

The New York Mets stayed alive with a 7-3 victory over the San Diego Padres to square up their Wild Card series.

Jacob deGrom starred with eight strikeouts across six innings, while Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso homered in the first and fifth innings respectively.

With the Mets leading 3-2 in the seventh, Jeff McNeil managed a two-run double. Brandon Nimmo was important too, going three-for-four with one RBI.

The San Diego Padres began their postseason in style, making history in their 7-1 win on the road against the New York Mets in Game 1 of their NL Wild Card series on Friday.

With Max Scherzer starting on the mound for the Mets, the Padres clobbered four home runs off him in the first four-and-two-thirds innings. It was the first time in the Mets' 89-game playoff history they had conceded four home runs in a single game.

They were hit by Josh Bell in the first inning, followed by Trent Grisham in the second inning, before Jurickson Profar and Manny Machado both went deep in the fifth to spell the end of Scherzer's night.

The Mets were able to hit one homer of their own in the bottom of the fifth inning, but that would be the last run of the game as both bullpens pitched four scoreless frames to close the show.

Yu Darvish pitched a gem for the Padres, giving up one run from six hits and no walks in seven complete innings, striking out four batters.

New York will host Game 2 on Saturday, and Game 3, if necessary, on Sunday.

Phillies produce stunning comeback to steal Game 1

The Philadelphia Phillies trailed 2-0 heading into the last inning, and came away with a 6-3 road win against the St Louis Cardinals.

There were no runs from either team in the first six innings as Zack Wheeler pitched six-and-a-third innings for two hits and one walk, while Jose Quintana also gave up only two hits and one walk in five-and-a-third.

A two-run Juan Yepez homer in the seventh gave the Cardinals a late lead, but the Phillies would catch fire in the ninth with three hits, two walks, a hit-by-pitch and a sacrifice-fly in a six-run onslaught.

The Phillies' Jean Segura was the only player with multiple hits, with his second coming in the last frame with bases loaded to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead, and they never looked back.

Castillo shuts out the Blue Jays

Competing in their first postseason appearance since 2001, the Seattle Mariners are one win away from advancing to the NLDS after a 4-0 shutout win away against the Toronto Blue Jays.

After being secured in a trade at the deadline, starting pitcher Luis Castillo justified the hefty package the Mariners parted way with by throwing seven-and-a-third innings of scoreless playoff baseball, giving up six hits and no walks.

With the bat, the man who hit the memorable home run to secure their playoff berth, Cal Raleigh, stayed hot with a two-run bomb in the first inning, while Eugenio Suarez collected the other two RBIs.

Ramirez, Bieber come up big for the Guardians

Every run from the Cleveland Guardians' 2-1 win against the Tampa Bay Rays came from two swings in the sixth inning, with Cleveland stars Jose Ramirez and Shane Bieber producing match-winning performances.

On the mound, Bieber pitched seven-and-two-thirds innings, allowing three hits and one walk while striking out eight batters, but a Jose Siri home run in the sixth inning had the Rays leading 1-0.

That lead was quickly erased later in the same inning, with an Amed Rosario single setting up Jose Ramirez for a two-run home run that would end up being the difference.

Cleveland will have a chance to move on to the NLDS with a win in tomorrow's Game 2 in front of their home fans.

Albert Pujols has revealed he almost cut short his final season in baseball before going on the hot hitting streak that took him past 700 home runs.

The St Louis Cardinals great was mired in dismal early-season form, collecting just four homers in the first three months, but he added 20 in the remainder of the campaign.

Pujols failed to go deep once in June, which is when he began to doubt himself, questioning whether he should stick with it to the end of the season.

The 42-year-old will sign off on his MLB career after the playoffs, with the Cardinals hosting the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday, in the opening game of their best-of-three wildcard round tussle.

His haul of 24 home runs for the season is Pujols' best tally since 2016, when he hit 31, and it justifies the decision to play on after questioning whether he could justify continuing his career.

"There were some times when I [asked] myself that, many times," Pujols told MLB.com.

Pujols said that by early July, he had "figured something out". A homer in an 11-8 loss to the Phillies on July 7 stopped the rot.

He joined only three others in history in passing 700 career home runs: Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).

Pujols said: "When you have good people around you and they are encouraging you and you realise that God has opened so many doors for you, man, it puts things back into perspective.

"I decided, 'I'm going to stick with it!'.

"I knew sooner or later it was going to come and turn around for me, because it can't be like it was all year long."

The Cardinals finished the regular season with a 93-69 record, and Pujols is hoping they have saved the best for last.

He said: "It's my last year and I want to go out with my best. And my best is winning a championship."

The Los Angeles Angels may have missed the 2022 playoffs, but interim manager Phil Nevin has been hired by the franchise permanently.

The Angels announced a one-year contract for Nevin prior to Wednesday's season-ending 3-2 loss to the Oakland Athletics.

Nevin had started the season as third-base coach and took over on an interim basis in June after Joe Maddon was fired amid a franchise-record 14-game losing streak.

The 51-year-old was officially hired after meeting with general manager Perry Minasian on Tuesday.

"It certainly means a lot," Nevin said. "It wasn't exactly how I envisioned these things happening, but I know I've been given a heck of an opportunity with some special people that I've created relationships with now for the last six, seven months."

Nevin enjoyed a 46-60 record after taking over from Maddon, who had led the Angels to a 27-29 start to the 2022 season.

"I had a lot of great experiences the last four months, or really the entire season," Nevin said. "A lot of times when you're given this opportunity for the first time, you’re walking into a place where they're rebuilding or expectations are low for a while.

"But we have some of the best players in the world. And I know we’re going to have a good support group around them. I know the common narrative is 'if we're healthy we can do this'. We have a lot of talented guys in that room and on our staff."

Nevin earned praise from Angels star pair Mike Trout, who hit his 40th home run of the 2022 season against the A's, and Shohei Ohtani.

"It's been great. The guys in this clubhouse trust and rely on him," Trout said. "Nev knows the game. He's worked hard to get here, and it means a lot to him."

Ohtani added via a translator: "I felt like he was kind of thrown into the situation. I felt like he did as well as he could, got us as many wins as possible. I felt like players were with him and gave him all their best."

The Los Angeles Dodgers are heading into the playoffs on the right foot after a convincing 6-1 home win against the Colorado Rockies in their regular season finale on Wednesday.

With the win, the Dodgers finished the season 111-51, setting a new franchise record as they totaled the fourth-most wins in MLB history and the most by a National League (NL) team since 1906.

The NL record is held by the Chicago Cubs from 1906 with 116 wins. The Dodgers' 111-win season is the equal fourth best in MLB history.

It was a stylish final outing for Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, who gave up one run from one hit and one walk in his five innings, striking out nine batters. 

At the plate, Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman did all he could in his last-gasp attempt to win the National League batting title, going three-for-four with a home run to raise his batting average to .325 – finishing .001 behind the New York Mets' Jeff McNeil (.326).

Fellow All-Star Trea Turner also hit a home run for the Dodgers as he went two-for-four with three RBIs, and center-fielder Cody Bellinger collected a deep-ball of his own as five of the Dodgers' six runs scored via home runs.

The Dodgers will play the winner of the Wild Card game between the Mets and the San Diego Padres in the NLDS.

Arraez wins the AL batting title

Luis Arraez risked losing the American League (AL) batting title by suiting up in the Minnesota Twins' 10-1 win against the Chicago White Sox.

Arraez came into the day with the lead at .315, with his only threat, Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees at .311 and not playing on the final day.

But fittingly, Arraez did not record an out, collecting two walks and a double before being pulled. 

Incredibly, it is the third-best batting average from Arraez's four years in the league, posting a .334 in 2019 before going .321 on a small sample size in 2020. His 'down' year in 2021 was still a very strong .294.

Ohtani, Trout end the season in fitting fashion

As has been the story of their time with the Los Angeles Angels, both Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout were excellent, but could not stop their team from losing 3-2 against the Oakland Athletics.

Ohtani only gave up one run from one hit and one walk in his five innings on the mound, lowering his ERA for the season to a magnificent 2.33. It is the sixth-lowest ERA in the league, while he is also 11th in home runs hit with 34.

He went one-for-four with a single at the plate, while Trout hit his 40th home run of the season to finish tied for third in the majors. No other player in the top 15 has played fewer than 130 games, while Trout played 119.

In a feel-good story, after announcing his retirement, Oakland's Stephen Vogt hit a home run with his last ever swing on a day where his children were allowed to do his introduction over the PA system at the start of the game.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Braves complete turnaround to clinch NL East

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

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

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

AL seeds locked in as Verlander stars for Astros

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

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

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

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

History-maker Aaron Judge admits finally breaking Roger Maris' American League single-season home run record is a "big relief" after launching his 62nd blast against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday.

Judge's lead-off homer for the New York Yankees surpassed Maris' 61-year record, having matched the mark last Wednesday, going five games without a homer leading up.

The Yankees outfielder's 62nd home run for the season came in their penultimate regular season game, putting him seventh all-time for homers in a single season.

Judge had already exceeded Babe Ruth's mark from 1927 of 60 home runs in a season, before getting past Maris with 61 from 1961.

"It's a big relief," Judge said. "I think that everyone can sit back down in their seats and watch the ball game, you know? But it's been a fun ride so far.

"Getting a chance to do this, with the team we've got, the guys surrounding me, the constant support from my family whose been with me through this whole thing, it's been a great honor.

"Getting a chance to have my name next to someone as great as Roger Maris, Babe Ruth, those guys, is incredible."

Judge's pursuit of his 62nd home run has felt like a circus with the anticipation surrounding him every time he was at bat, from both the dugout and the stands.

The outfielder's teammates gathered at the home plate after his historic home run to congratulate him, before receiving a standing ovation from the Texas crowd.

"Pretty surreal," Judge said. "Just like in Toronto, it was pretty awesome, having their support. I think, in Texas, they were a little more excited, they could finally exhale.

"At home, in the dugout, I can see right in and see all the guys sitting at the top steps. Here on the road, they are behind me, so I didn't see the 40-plus people sitting in the dugout.

"To finally see them run out on the field, and get a chance to hug them all, that's what it's about for me."

Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole, who made his own history with a franchise record 257th strikeout in a single season, was glowing in praise of Judge.

"Even just to tie the record, let alone break it is a bit surreal," Cole said. "And obviously, on a night like tonight, it's just like, 'Woah'… It's hard to put into words."

Judge has hit the most home runs in a single season of any center fielder in MLB history, previously 56 held by Hack Wilson (1930) and Ken Griffey Jr (1997 and 1998).

The Yankee's latest blast means he is 16 homers ahead of the MLB's next best, Kyle Schwarber with 46. Judge's 16-homer lead is the largest since Jimmie Foxx's 17-homer margin over Ruth from 1932.

Judge's 62 home runs have totaled a distance of 25,520 feet which is nearly five miles, and a single-season record since Statcast started tracking that in 2015, exceeding teammate Giancarlo Stanton's 2017 mark of 24,641 feet.

Aaron Judge is officially the home run king after blasting his 62nd homer to break Roger Maris' long-standing mark for the American League's (AL) single-season record.

The New York Yankees outfielder crushed the historic homer into left field in the first inning of Tuesday's game on the road against the Texas Rangers, their penultimate regular-season game.

Judge had matched Maris' 61-homer AL and Yankees record last Wednesday with a blast against the Toronto Blue Jays.

However, the Yankee had endured 23 plate appearances or five games since without a home run but he broke the drought early from Rangers pitcher Jesus Tinoco.

Maris' record had stood since 1961, edging Babe Ruth's previous record of 60 in 1927.

Only three players have scored more homers in a single season for any franchise than Judge; Barry Bonds (73 in 2001), Mark McGwire (70 in 1999 and 65 in 1999) and Sammy Sosa (66 in 1998, 64 in 2001, 63 in 1999). Those three players all achieved the feat during the steroid era.

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