There will be a winner-takes-all Game 5 in the National League Division Series (NLDS) after MLB World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers avoided elimination with a 7-2 win over the San Francisco Giants.

The Giants had the chance to book their spot in the NL Championship Series (NLCS) on Tuesday, but they were instead blown away by the Dodgers, who levelled the best-of-five matchup at 2-2.

Mookie Betts and Will Smith homered for the Dodgers in Los Angeles, where ace Walker Buehler gave up just one run on three hits while striking out four batters in 4.1 innings.

The deciding Game 5 will take place at Oracle Park in San Francisco on Thursday.

 

Astros reach fifth straight ALCS

The Houston Astros will face the Boston Red Sox in the American League Championship Series (ALCS) after crushing the Chicago White Sox 10-1. Houston became the third team ever to appear in five successive league championship series. Astros star Carlos Correa tied Albert Pujols for the most playoff RBIs among active players after reaching 54, while Jose Altuve also hit his 19th postseason homer – matching George Springer and future Hall of Famer Pujols for fourth all-time.

 

Houston get to Hendriks and White Sox

On a rough day for the White Sox, closer Liam Hendriks conceded a three-run homer off Altuve in the top of the ninth inning. White Sox team-mate Michael Kopech allowed three runs on three hits in 0.2 innings.

 

Freeman sends Braves through

Freddie Freeman was the hero in Game 4, hitting a two-out home run in the bottom of the eighth inning as the Atlanta Braves came from behind to top the Milwaukee Brewers 5-4 en route to the NLCS. Freeman's 428-foot go-ahead bomb was the furthest opposite-field homer of his career. The Braves will feature in back-to-back championship series for the first time since they advanced to eight straight from 1991 to 1999.

 

Tuesday's results

Houston Astros 10-1 Chicago White Sox
Atlanta Braves 5-4 Milwaukee Brewers
Los Angeles Dodgers 7-2 San Francisco Giants

 

Dodgers at Giants

NL West rivals the Dodgers and Giants will put it all on the line in Thursday's do-or-die showdown. Both teams have won an incredible 107 games this season as the Dodgers prepare to pit Julio Urias against Logan Webb.

Dusty Baker explained how "love" is the secret to public enemy number one the Houston Astros' success after they advanced to their fifth consecutive American League Championship Series (ALCS).

The Astros stormed through to the ALCS thanks to Tuesday's 10-1 rout of the Chicago White Sox – Houston becoming the third team ever to appear in five successive league championship series and the first to do so since the Atlanta Braves featured in eight straight from 1991 to 1999.

Houston have not been popular among opposition teams and fans after the Astros were found to have stolen signs of opposition teams en route to winning the MLB World Series three years ago, as well as for part of the 2018 campaign.

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch were subsequently fired by Houston in January after they were initially suspended for the entire 2020 campaign by the league.

Amid the backlash, the Astros have continued to perform and manager Baker hailed Houston, who will face the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS.

"They've been doing that really since last year," Baker told reporters. "And then it was accentuated this year even more. I don't know if they feed off it necessarily, but we've been constantly bombarded by negatives, you know, especially on the road.

"But these guys, they came in – they come to play, and they love each other. And I remember talking to Bill Russell years ago, a few years ago, and I asked him, man, how did you win all those championships in Boston, and he told me, you know – I thought he was going to say Red Auerbach, you know lot of hard work, but he told me that they loved each other, and they love each other.

"Love can take you to heights you never thought you could get to. And they feed off of each other and pull for each other on a daily basis. And one guy falls down, and the next guy, you know, picks him up. And, boy, this was a heck of a series. It was a downer night before last whenever we played when we got beat pretty badly, but on a daily basis, they don't take one day into the next unless it was good. You know, I love this team, and the city loves them, and that's what counts."

Astros star Carlos Correa tied Albert Pujols for the most playoff RBIs among active players after reaching 54 on Tuesday.

Houston team-mate Jose Altuve also hit his 19th postseason homer – matching George Springer and future Hall of Famer Pujols for fourth all-time.

Baker hailed Correa, saying: "Carlos has been one of the greatest big game players in the history of the Astros and even the history of the game, and I don't hear him talking about it.

"He just wants to play for his team-mates and wants to win. You know, when you win, that puts pressure on the organisation to maybe do something in the future, and this is his home. I've heard him say that many, many times. You know, he grew up in this organisation and grew up in the city of Houston.

"Just like I was talking to him just like me, I grew up with the Braves as a kid, and then you grow into a man, you realise that business is business, but you still got to play with the enthusiasm of a kid, and you play for your teammates, and hopefully that transcends to something good for us in the future."

The Boston Red Sox found more Fenway Park magic Monday, knocking a Tampa Bay Rays team that posted the best record in the American League during the regular season out of the playoffs with a thrilling 6-5 victory. 

Kike Hernandez's sacrifice fly with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning brought home pinch-runner Danny Santana with the winning run in Game 4 as Boston took the Division Series 3-1. 

Earlier in the game, it appeared the Red Sox might cruise to victory. Rafael Devers crushed a three-run homer to spark a five-run third inning for the Red Sox with Rays starter Collin McHugh already out of the game after just two innings. 

But the Rays, who went 100-62 during the regular season, were not done yet. They began chipping away with a run in the fifth, then rookie sensation Wander Franco hit a two-run homer in the sixth. 

Run-scoring hits from Kevin Kiermaier and Randy Arozarena tied the game in the eighth and Kiermaier ensured it stayed that way in the bottom of the inning, gunning down Alex Verdugo with an outrageous throw from center field to third base for a double play that ended a Red Sox threat. 

The reprieve was short-lived for the Rays, as Christian Vazquez led off the bottom of the ninth with a single to left and Christian Arroyo bunted him to third. A misplayed grounder off the bat of Travis Shaw put runners on the corners and Hernandez drove in Santana to set off a wild celebration at the venerable ballpark.

The Red Sox have won eight consecutive games in which they had a chance to clinch a postseason series. Only the Oakland Athletics have a longer such streak, nine in a row between 1973 and 1990. 

Boston will face the Houston Astros or Chicago White Sox in the American League Championship Series. 

 

Longoria, Giants edge Dodgers in Game 3

Evan Longoria's fifth-inning home run off Max Scherzer was the difference as the San Francisco Giants edged the Los Angeles Dodgers 1-0 to put the reigning World Series champions on the brink of elimination. 

Longoria homered on a 0-2 fastball to lead off the fifth, virtually the only blemish for the Dodgers pitching staff as they limited the Giants to just three hits in Game 3. But that was enough, as San Francisco's pitching and defence made it stand up.

Starter Alex Wood and three relievers held the Dodgers to five hits with some significant help from their fielders, as Brandon Crawford in particular made a pair of stellar plays to rob Mookie Betts of hits. 

A Christian Vazquez home run in bottom of the 13th inning gave the Boston Red Sox a 6-4 walk-off win over the Tampa Bay Rays, who believed they had taken the lead in the top half of the inning only to see their hopes dashed. 

Sunday's win gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead in the American League Division Series (ALDS) in the best-of-five series, and Boston can close it out with a victory at Fenway Park on Monday.

That outcome seemed unlikely in the top of the 13th inning after Tampa Bay's Kevin Kiermaier drove a ball off the top of the wall in right field with Yandy Diaz running from first base. 

With Diaz about to round third and head for home, the ball caromed off Boston right fielder Hunter Renfroe's right hip and back over the wall. 

After all six umpires consulted as a group and two of them talked to MLB replay officials afterward, they put Kiermaier at second base and Diaz at third, and Mike Zunino struck out for the fourth time in the game to end the threat with the scored still tied 4-4. 

The umpires made the correct call, with MLB Rule 5.05(a)(8) stating "the batter and all runners shall be entitled to advance two bases" when a fielder deflects a fair ball over a fence, but the Rays felt hard done by considering Diaz would have scored easily on the play.

Umpire Sam Holbrook told reporters afterward it was "very simple from an umpire's standpoint", noting that they would only have been able to exercise their own discretion about where to place the runners if they determined Renfroe knocked the ball out of play intentionally. 

Rays manager Kevin Cash did not argue once umpires explained the situation to him, but his team could not extend the game from there. 

In the bottom of the 13th, Renfroe walked with one out and Vazquez homered to end it, becoming the first Red Sox player to hit a play-off walk-off homer since Marry Ramirez in 2007.

Despite a shaky start in Chicago, the White Sox stayed alive in their best-of-five series with an action-packed 12-6 win over the Houston Astros. 

White Sox starter Dylan Cease recorded only five outs before being pulled from the game as the Astros built a 5-1 lead after the top of the third inning with their eyes on a sweep. 

The Chicago offence suddenly woke up, exploding for five runs in the bottom of the inning on homers by Yasmani Grandal and Leury Garcia, then adding three more the following inning. 

By the time Chicago tacked on an additional three runs in the eighth, every hitter in the White Sox line-up had recorded at least one hit as they scored double-digit runs in a postseason game for the third time in franchise history, after 2005 (14) and 1959 (11).

 

Rays at Red Sox

Tampa Bay (100-62) won five more games than anyone else in the American League (AL) during the regular season, but the Rays' postseason could come to an end with a loss to the Red Sox in Game 4 on Monday. 

The San Francisco Giants shut out the prolific Los Angeles Dodgers led by Logan Webb as they secured a 4-0 win and a 1-0 lead in the National League Division Series on Friday.

The Dodgers, who were shut out just five times in the regular season, could not convert any of their five hits on Friday, while the Giants delivered three home runs.

Seven-time All-Star Buster Posey got the Giants on the board with a two-run blast in the first inning from Walker Buehler, who allowed six hits across six-and-one-third innings.

Buehler still managed five strikeouts on the mound for the Dodgers but he was over-shadowed by Giants right-hander Webb, who tossed down 10 Ks across seven-and-two-thirds scoreless innings.

Kris Bryant, who had three hits to mark an outstanding game, padded the Giants' lead in the seventh inning with a left-field home run from a tiring Buehler.

Brandon Crawford, who had 24 home runs across the regular season added, another in the eighth inning, recording his second career post-season homer to add insurance.

 

Astros launch into 2-0 lead

The Houston Astros produced a five-run rally in the seventh inning to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the American League Division Series (ALDS) against the Chicago White Sox with a 9-4 victory.

But the Astros had to come from behind, trailing 4-2 after Luis Robert, who had two runs, three hits and one RBI for the game, touched down at the top of the fifth inning.

Jose Altuve, who had a great defensive game in the field, and Alex Bregman levelled it from a Yuli Gurriel base hit, before the five-run rally in the seventh underlined by Kyle Tucker's two-run shot.

With two out and two on leading 5-4, Carlos Correa's powerful shot to right-field eluded Leury Garcia, driving in two runs before Tucker padded the advantage.

 

Sale loses his puff

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale endured a nightmare first inning, allowing four hits and five earned runs as the Tampa Bay Rays opened up an early 5-2 lead. Sale was pulled after that before the Red Sox launched an admirable fightback in a run-fest 14-6 victory over the Rays to square up their ALDS. Tanner Houck steadied on the mound, with five strikeouts across five innings allowing only one run and two hits.

 

 

Burnes still on fire

Corbin Burnes continued his excellent regular season form in the Milwaukee Brewers' opening game of their NLDS with six scoreless innings and six strikeouts in a 2-1 win over the Atlanta Braves. Burnes, who finished the regular season with an MLB-best 2.43 ERA, set up the victory before Josh Hader closed it out, with Rowdy Tellez scoring a two-run homer in the seventh inning.

 

Saturday's results

Houston Astros 9-4 Chicago White Sox
Milwaukee Brewers 2-1 Atlanta Braves
Boston Red Sox 14-6 Tampa Bay Rays
San Francisco Giants 4-0 Los Angeles Dodgers

 

Dodgers at Giants

The Dodgers will look to bounce back in Game 2 against the Giants, with Julio Urias and Kevin Gausman starting on the mound for the respective sides.

A trio of rookies starred as the Tampa Bay Rays began the road back to the World Series with a 5-0 win over the Boston Red Sox in Game 1 of the American League Division Series (ALDS). 

After posting an AL-best 100-62 record during the regular MLB season, the Rays got standout performances from pitcher Shane McClanahan and hitters Wander Franco and Randy Arozarena as they opened their defence of the AL pennant at Tropicana Field. 

McClanahan scattered five hits in five shut-out innings on Thursday, striking out three without walking a batter in his first postseason start. 

The Rays became the first team in MLB playoff history to have two rookies post an extra-base hit and another rookie toss a scoreless start in the same game, per Stats Perform.

His team-mates gave him run support early, as Franco doubled home a run in the first, then came around to score on a Yandy Diaz single. The 20-year-old phenom would add another double in the seventh.

Nelson Cruz, who at 41 is more than twice as old as his Dominican countryman Franco, went deep in the third for his 18th postseason home run. 

Not to be outdone, the breakout star of the 2020 playoffs – though still technically a rookie – Arozarena added a majestic solo shot to left in the fifth inning, then stole home in the seventh. 

According to Stats Perform, Arozarena is the first player in MLB postseason history to hit a home run and steal home in the same game. 

Tampa Bay will send another rookie to the mound in Game 2 as Shane Baz takes the ball against Red Sox veteran Chris Sale. 

The Houston Astros opened the other ALDS with an emphatic 6-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox as Lance McCullers Jr. was dominant on the mound for the home side. 

McCullers allowed four hits and did not walk a batter in 6.2 shut-out innings while striking out four, making him the first Astros pitcher to go at least that long in a postseason game without a walk since Brandon Backe against the White Sox in the 2005 World Series.

In 15 career postseason games, McCullers has a 2.87 ERA and has struck out 9.62 batters per nine innings. 

Yordan Alvarez entered the game with just 14 hits in 58 postseason at-bats (.241) but he was the hitting star for Houston in Game 1.

The designated hitter reached base three times in four trips to the plate, driving in a run with a double in the third inning and another with a solo homer in the fifth. 

While Alvarez did the heavy lifting, Jose Altuve provided the highlight of the night with a nifty slide to score from third on an Alex Bregman grounder to third base in the third inning. 

Game 2 is Friday in Houston with the Astros sending Framber Valdez to the mound against Chicago's Lucas Giolito. 

 

Dodgers at Giants

Eternal rivals the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants have each won 107 games this season, and they open their National League Division Series (NLDS) with Walker Buehler and Logan Webb on the mound on Friday. 

Jose Abreu tested negative for COVID-19 and is set to link with the Chicago White Sox ahead of their American League Division Series (ALDS) opener against the Houston Astros.

Abreu – the reigning AL MVP – had been dealing with flu-like symptoms and did not travel with the White Sox to Houston on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, White Sox manager Tony La Russa confirmed star Abreu would link up with the team and be a game-day decision for Thursday's Game 1 in the best-of-five series at Minute Maid Park.

"He caught a bit of the flu," La Russa told a news conference. "He got to the workout [in Chicago] and he had been through a tough night with fever.

"Now we're all brimming with happiness and excitement because his fever broke and he passed the test, which [is] mandatory and he'll be flying back here tonight [Wednesday]."

Abreu – a three-time Silver Slugger and three-time All-Star – batted .261 with 30 home runs and 117 RBIs during the regular season.

The 34-year-old also had a franchise-best slugging percentage of .481 and OPS of .831 in 2021, along with 86 runs and 148 hits from 566 at-bats.

"I think he's the biggest key that we need healthy," White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson added. "But I'm sure you know, we all know, how stubborn he is, and you know he's not going to want to sit out. He's not going to be happy about that."

The White Sox also announced Lance Lynn and Lucas Giolito as their starters for Game 1 and 2 against the Astros.

Chicago finished the regular season at 93-69 to top the AL Central, while the Astros were 95-67 to lead the AL West division.

The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will meet in the American League (AL) Wild Card showdown after winning late to deny the Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners.

Four teams were vying for two AL Wild Card berths on a chaotic finale to the MLB's regular season, with the possibility of a four-way tie.

While the Mariners went down to the Los Angeles Angels 7-3, the Blue Jays crushed the lowly Baltimore Orioles 12-4 to give themselves a chance of forcing a Game 163 as they watched the Yankees and Red Sox contests anxiously.

But the Yankees and Red Sox produced two clutch hits to secure their spot in the play-offs.

Aaron Judge drove home the winning run in the ninth inning of the Yankees' 1-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, while the Red Sox overturned a 5-1 deficit to trump the Washington Nationals 7-5 behind Rafael Devers' two-run homer in the ninth.

 

Giants win NL West on final day

The San Francisco Giants clinched the National League (NL) West title for the first time since 2012 with a 11-4 rout of the San Diego Padres. San Francisco denied World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers thanks to their franchise-record 107th victory of the season, eclipsing the 1904 New York team. The Dodgers topped the Milwaukee Brewers 10-3 to settle for an NL Wild Card meeting with the St Louis Cardinals.

Blue Jays star Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (48) – alongside Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals – and Padres sensation Fernando Tatis Jr. (42) ended the regular season as the home run leaders in their respective leagues. It is the first time in AL-NL history both leagues were led by players aged 22 or younger thanks to Guerrero and Tatis.

Dodgers star Trea Turner became the first NL player to lead the league in hits in back-to-back seasons since Terry Pendleton in 1991 and 1992. On the back of his second grand slam in 48 hours, Turner finished with 195 hits. He also won the NL batting title (.328), ahead of Washington's Juan Soto. Yuli Gurriel (.319) of the Houston Astros claimed the AL title.

Corbin Burnes became the first Brewers pitcher to earn an ERA title, having topped the NL at 2.43, beating Dodgers starters Max Scherzer (2.46) and Walker Buehler (2.47) to the honour. Toronto's Robbie Ray (2.84) led the AL's ERA standings.

 

Injury worries

The Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers all have injury concerns heading into the Wild Card round. Yankees star DJ LeMahieu landed on the injured list due to a hip/groin problem ahead of Sunday's game. Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez exited in the sixth inning with a sprained left ankle. Meanwhile, Dodgers slugger Max Muncy is "very unlikely" to feature in the NL Wild Card Game because of a left elbow injury sustained in the third inning.

 

Guerrero breaks record

Having earned a share of the AL home run title, Guerrero made history. His 48 homers are the most in a season by a player aged 22 or younger, eclipsing Eddie Matthews (47 in 1953).

 

 

Sunday's results

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

 

Yankees at Red Sox

The famous Yankees and Red Sox rivalry will take centre stage for Tuesday's AL Wild Card blockbuster in Boston. Gerrit Cole will face Nathan Eovaldi in a mouth-watering pitching matchup. The winner will face the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL Division Series (ALDS), starting Wednesday.

The American League (AL) Wild Card race is set for a chaotic conclusion after the New York Yankees failed to clinch as the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners all won in MLB action on Saturday.

In New York, the Yankees were prevented from securing their Wild Card berth following a 12-2 rout at the hands of AL East champions the Tampa Bay Rays.

Brandon Lowe hit three home runs to thwart the Yankees, who are now level with the Boston Red Sox atop the AL Wild Card standings heading into Sunday's regular-season finale.

The Red Sox topped the Washington Nationals 5-3, while the Blue Jays and Mariners – who have celebrated 90-plus wins for the first time since 2003 – are a game adrift following respective wins over the Baltimore Orioles (10-1) and Los Angeles Angels (6-4).

There is a chance for a four-way tie if the Yankees (91-70) and Red Sox (91-70) both lose and the Blue Jays (90-71) and Mariners (90-71) win, which would leave the quartet with 91 victories apiece.

The 2021 AL East is the second division ever with four 90-plus win teams (the Rays, Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays) and first time since the split to three divisions per league.

 

Urias keeps Dodgers alive in NL West battle

Julio Urias became the first pitcher in his age-24 season or younger to win 20-plus games in a campaign since future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw in 2011 after leading World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers to an 8-3 success against the Milwaukee Brewers. Urias pitched one-run ball into the seventh inning to help the Dodgers (105-56) remain in the hunt for a ninth successive National League (NL) West title after leaders the San Francisco Giants (106-55) lost 3-2 to the San Diego Padres. The 2021 NL West is the first ever division to have two teams with 105 or more wins in a season.

Lucas Giolito and Dylan Cease became the second set of Chicago White Sox team-mates to each record 200-plus strikeouts in a season, joining Tom Bradley (206) and Wilbur Wood (210) in 1971. The White Sox edged the Detroit Tigers 5-4.

 

Blackburn battered

Paul Blackburn was put to the sword as the Houston Astros secured home-field advantage in the AL Division Series (ALDS) with a 10-4 win at home to the Oakland Athletics. A's pitcher Blackburn was tagged for a season-high six runs on seven hits in just two innings.

 

Blue Jays set franchise record

With their 258th home run, the Blue Jays set a new single-season franchise record for homers in the win over the lowly Orioles. Danny Jansen's bomb in the bottom of the fifth inning broke the team's record. Blue Jays star and MVP candidate Vladimir Guerrero Jr. also equalled the record for most home runs in a season by a player aged 22 or younger, joining Eddie Matthews (1953), with his 47th homer. Seven Blue Jays players have 20-plus home runs this season, tying a team record.

 

 

Saturday's results

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

 

NL West title in balance

The NL West champion will be crowned on Sunday as the Dodgers host the Brewers on the final day of the regular season, while the Giants entertain the Padres. The Dodgers must win and hope the Giants lose to tie for the title and force a deciding Game 163 in San Francisco on Monday.

The Toronto Blue Jays kept the American League (AL) Wild Card race wide open after ending the New York Yankees' seven-game winning streak with an entertaining 6-5 victory on Wednesday.

Bo Bichette homered twice as the Blue Jays recovered from blowing a 4-0 lead after the Yankees tied the MLB clash up in the seventh inning midweek.

Bichette's second home run of the game, with scores tied at 5-5 at the bottom of the eighth inning, proved decisive, with the 23-year-old getting a curtain call.

The result improved the Blue Jays to 88-70 to be a game adrift of the second and final Wild Card berth, while the Yankees are 90-68 in the four-team race for two spots, alongside the Boston Red Sox (89-69) and the Seattle Mariners (89-70).

Earlier, Blue Jays star Marcus Semien hit his 44th home run of the season, meaning he has the most homers in a season by a primary second baseman in MLB history.

Bichette and Semien both ticked over 100 RBI for the season, meaning the Blue Jays are the first team with four players (Teoscar Hernandez and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.) with 100-plus RBI in a season since the Atlanta Braves in 2003.

 

Brewers thwarts Cardinals' winning run

The St Louis Cardinals' extraordinary winning streak ended at 17 games after a 4-0 defeat to the Milwaukee Brewers. The Cardinals secured their postseason berth on Tuesday with their 17th straight win but home runs from Daniel Vogelbach and Manny Pina earned the National League (NL) Central division winners the run-ending victory. St Louis' winning streak will go down as the third longest by any team in the expansion area, behind the Cleveland Indians (22 in 2017) and the Oakland Athletics (20 in 2002).

The Braves moved a step closer to securing the NL East title thanks to a 7-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies, with Dansby Swanson starring with a three-hit game including a two-run single in the seventh inning.

AL East champions the Tampa Bay Rays clinched top seed and home-field advantage via a 7-0 shutout of the Houston Astros aided by Ji-man Choi's three-run jack in the fifth inning. The victory also brought up the Rays' 98th for the season, setting a new franchise record.

World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers piled on five runs in the eighth inning to keep pace with the San Francisco Giants for NL seeding courtesy a come-from-behind 11-9 win over the San Diego Padres. The Giants stayed two games clear following a 1-0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Mariners stayed firmly in the AL Wild Card hunt with a 4-2 win over the Athletics. 

Reds season fizzles out

The Cincinnati Reds' promising season has petered out, with the NL Wild Card hopes officially over and a 6-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox underlined that. The Reds managed just four hits for the game, with their only run coming in the ninth inning.

 

Red Sox snap their skid

The Red Sox boosted their AL Wild Card aspirations as they ended their four-game losing span with a 6-0 triumph over the Baltimore Orioles. J.D. Martinez had three RBI, including a 444-foot home run, while Nathan Eovaldi had six scoreless innings and seven strikeouts on the mound.

 

Wednesday's results

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

 

Yankees at Blue Jays

On Thursday, the Blue Jays host rivals the Yankees for the penultimate time in their series in a critical game for the AL Wild Card race. After that, Toronto face the Orioles, while the Yankees meet the Rays.

The St Louis Cardinals extended their remarkable streak to 17 consecutive victories and clinched the second National League Wild Card spot with a 6-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday.

The triumph seals a postseason spot for the Cardinals for the third consecutive year after a franchise-record run.

The Cardinals become the third team in the expansion era to win 17 straight within a season, behind only the 2017 Cleveland Indians (22) and the 2002 Oakland Athletics (20).

St Louis were forced to come back from a multi-run deficit for the sixth time during their streak after Luis Urias' two-run blast in the fourth inning.

The Cards responded immediately, with Adam Wainwright's bunt helping Harrison Bader tag to level it up.

Avisail Garcia's error from Tyler O'Neill's base hit allowed Paul Goldschmidt home, before home runs from Jose Rondon and Nolan Arenado sealed the win and another postseason berth.

Morton fires Braves past Phillies

Charlie Morton had 10 strikeouts as the Atlanta Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 to edge a step closer to the clinching a fourth consecutive NL East title.

The result means the Braves (84-72) are 3.5 games ahead of the Phillies (81-76).

In the battle for the NL West title, the San Francisco Giants (103-54) produced a four-run sixth-inning rally to win 6-4 over the Arizona Diamondbacks, while the Los Angeles Dodgers (101-56) survived a late scare to win 2-1 against the San Diego Padres.

The Seattle Mariners kept alive their hopes of reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2001 with a 4-2 win over the Oakland Athletics, with Mitch Haniger hitting his 100th career homer.

The Houston Astros stayed 4.5 games ahead of the Mariners with a 4-3 walk-off win over the Tampa Bay Rays, where J.T. Chargois walked the last two runs.

Salvador Perez claimed the outright lead for home runs in the majors with his 47th for the season in the Kansas City Royals' 6-4 over the Cleveland Indians.

Wind out of Red Sox's sails

The Boston Red Sox fluffed a 2-0 lead in a must-win game in the AL Wild Card race, going down 4-2 to the lowly Baltimore Orioles. Chris Sale had six strikeouts and none earned through five innings before the Orioles flipped the game on its head, leaving the Red Sox unstable at 88-69, marginally ahead of the Mariners (88-70) and the Toronto Blue Jays (87-70).

Stanton's hot streak continues

Giancarlo Stanton crushed an improbable 421-foot three-run home run as the New York Yankees secured a critical 7-2 win over the Blue Jays in the AL Wild Card hunt. In-form Stanton now has 13 RBI in his past four games, with his seventh-inning homer opening up a four-run lead for the Yankees in a crucial game. Stanton has also homered in four straight games.

Tuesday's results

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

Phillies at Braves

The Phillies get another chance to keep alive the race to win the NL East division when they face the Braves in the second game of their three-game series on Wednesday.

Mitch Haniger hit two home runs and drove in six as the Seattle Mariners rallied from an early deficit to rout the Oakland Athletics 13-4 Monday. 

Seattle's eighth win in their last nine brought the Mariners (87-70) within 1.5 games of the Boston Red Sox for the second American League (AL) wild-card spot, with the Toronto Blue Jays in between. 

The evening started off poorly for the Mariners as Oakland's Seth Brown hit a three-run homer in the first inning, but Seattle ran away with the game in the fourth. 

The Mariners put up five in that frame, capped by Haniger's three-run homer off Deolis Guerra, to take an 8-4 lead. 

Two innings later, Haniger did it again, hitting his 37th of the year to put the game out of reach. 

According to Stats Perform, Haniger is the third player to hit at least that many home runs a year after missing an entire season, following Ted Williams (38 in 1946) and Willie Mays (41 in 1954). 

The Athletics (85-72) still have a chance at the postseason, but they now sit 3.5 games back of the Red Sox. Monday's defeat officially eliminated Oakland from contention in the AL West, where the Houston Astros can wrap up the title Tuesday with a win over the Tampa Bay Rays and a Mariners loss. 

 

Votto homers twice as Reds stay alive

The Cincinnati Reds kept their miniscule postseason hopes alive for one more day, crushing the Pittsburgh Pirates 13-1 as Joey Votto hit two home runs to give him 35 on the season. Nick Castellanos, Eugenio Suarez and Jonathan India also homered for the Reds (82-75), who will be eliminated with their next loss or the St Louis Cardinals' next win. 

Yasmani Grandal and Eloy Jimenez homered for the Chicago White Sox, who nearly blew a six-run lead late but held on to defeat the Detroit Tigers 8-7. 

 

Another tough outing for Marquez

Colorado Rockies pitcher German Marquez headed to the All-Star Game in July with a 3.36 ERA, but has seen that number inflate throughout a difficult second half to sit at 4.40 after he allowed four runs in five innings in a 5-4 loss to the Washington Nationals. 

 

Sibling rivalry heats up in Cleveland

Cleveland Indians outfielder Bradley Zimmer got the better of his older brother Kyle, smashing a solo homer off the Kansas City Royals pitcher in the eighth inning of an 8-3 Cleveland victory. It was the fourth time in MLB's modern era that one brother has homered off another. Joe Niekro was the last to do it, hitting one against brother Phil on May 29, 1975. 

 

Monday's results

Chicago White Sox 8-7 Detroit Tigers
Cincinnati Reds 13-1 Pittsburgh Pirates
Cleveland Indians 8-3 Kansas City Royals
Washington Nationals 5-4 Colorado Rockies
Seattle Mariners 13-4 Oakland Athletics

 

Yankees at Blue Jays

The hottest remaining postseason race will be in the spotlight as the New York Yankees (89-67) look to continue the momentum from their sweep of the Red Sox as they open a three-game series at the Toronto Blue Jays (87-69).

The New York Yankees are in pole position in the American League (AL) Wild Card race thanks to a sweep of rivals the Boston Red Sox on Sunday.

An eighth-inning rally fuelled the Yankees to a 6-3 victory over the Red Sox and a sixth consecutive win in MLB.

Giancarlo Stanton hit a two-run homer, while Aaron Judge doubled home two runs as the Yankees seized control from the Red Sox in the AL Wild Card chase.

Stanton became the first Yankees player with 10-plus RBI in a three-game series at Fenway Park, according to Stats Perform. The previous record for a Yankee was held by Joe DiMaggio and Hideki Matsui (nine).

With the three-game sweep, the Yankees (89-67) now lead the Red Sox (88-68) by one game for the top AL Wild Card berth with six games remaining, while the Toronto Blue Jays (87-69) are two games adrift following their 5-2 success against the Minnesota Twins.

 

Brewers crowned NL Central champs

The Milwaukee Brewers secured their second National League (NL) Central title in four years following an 8-4 win at home to the New York Mets. Willy Adames led the way with a two-run homer and three RBI.

Shohei Ohtani boosted his MVP credentials with a dominant display, despite the Los Angeles Angels losing 5-1 to the Seattle Mariners. After two triples on Saturday, two-way star Ohtani struck out 10 batters, while giving up just one run and five hits in seven innings without a walk. He is the first player to combine for multiple triples and 10-plus strikeouts in back-to-back team games since Chief Bender in 1905, per Stats Perform.

The St Louis Cardinals celebrated their 16th straight win by topping the Chicago Cubs 4-2. St Louis' franchise-record streak is the longest in MLB since the Cleveland Indians won 22 games in a row in 2017. The Cardinals are the first NL team to win 16 successive games since the New York Giants in 1951.

World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers have won 100 games in a season for the eighth time in franchise history. The Dodgers blanked the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-0.

 

Phillies' streak ends

The Philadelphia Phillies had their five-game winning streak snapped in a 6-0 shutout against the Pittsburgh Pirates. In a blow to their playoff hopes, Phillies starter Hans Crouse gave up a home run on his first major league pitch. The 23-year-old allowed two hits and walked four batters in three innings.

 

A's walk it off

Mark Canha's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning saw the Oakland Athletics edge the AL West-leading Houston Astros 4-3 in a walk-off success.

 

Sunday's results

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

 

Athletics at Mariners

Monday is a battle between two teams still chasing a Wild Card spot in the AL. The Mariners (86-70) are two games behind the Red Sox, who occupy the second and final berth, while the Athletics (85-71) are three games off the pace. Chris Flexen will toe the mound for the Mariners, with A's pitcher Cole Irvin set to start.

The streaking St Louis Cardinals made history with their 15th successive victory, an 8-5 win against the Chicago Cubs in MLB action on Saturday.

St Louis set a franchise record by extending their winning run to 15 games behind a rallying effort, eclipsing the 14-game streak in 1935.

Harrison Bader, Tyler O'Neill and Paul DeJong homered for the in-form Cardinals, who hold the second National League (NL) Wild Card spot.

The Cubs led 4-2 after four innings before a three-run seventh ignited the Cardinals away at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

"It's an incredible feeling. It's a complete elation of knowing every time we come to the field that we're going to win," said Cardinals centerfielder T.J. McFarland said.

"It's that confidence – I don't want to say arrogance – but it's almost that motivation every time we come to the field, we're expecting to win, and we're rising to the occasion when we need to."

 

Rays crowned AL East's best again

For the second straight season, the Tampa Bay Rays clinched the American League (AL) East crown. The high-flying Rays made sure of the title via a 7-3 victory at home to the Miami Marlins.

Shohei Ohtani became just the second player in history with at least 45 homers, 20 stolen bases and six triples in a season, after Willie Mays in 1955. Ohtani hit consecutive triples to inspire the Los Angeles Angels to a 14-1 demolition of the Seattle Mariners, who had their six-game winning streak snapped.

Brandon Belt homered twice as the NL West-leading San Francisco Giants set a franchise record for home runs in a season during their 7-2 win over the Colorado Rockies. The Giants have homered 236 times in 2021, surpassing the 235 hit in 2001. San Francisco hold a two-game lead over World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers, who were upstaged by the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-2.

The Toronto Blue Jays – two games adrift in the AL Wild Card chase – beat the Minnesota Twins 6-1 behind Marcus Semien. The Blue Jays star tallied his 43rd home run of the season – tying the record for most single-season homers by a second baseman in MLB history, alongside Davey Johnson (1973).

 

Padres eliminated from playoff contention

Fernando Tatis Jr. and the San Diego Padres will not feature in the postseason following a 10-8 loss to the Atlanta Braves after 10 innings. Jorge Soler's go-ahead double eliminated the Padres from playoff contention. San Diego held a one-game lead for the second NL Wild Card berth on September 9 before spiralling out of form and out of the playoff mix.

 

Stanton slam boosts Yankees in Wild Card race

The New York Yankees moved into a tie with the Boston Red Sox for the AL Wild Card lead after Giancarlo Stanton's grand slam fuelled a 5-3 victory.

 

Saturday's results

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

 

Blue Jays at Twins

The Blue Jays (86-69) will continue their Wild Card quest away to the Twins (69-86) on Sunday. Toronto ace Alek Manoah is set to start, with Minnesota's Jax Griffin to toe the mound.

The St Louis Cardinals continued their remarkable run of form, matching a franchise record amid the team's 14-game unbeaten streak in MLB.

On Friday, the streaking Cardinals swept their doubleheader with the Chicago Cubs 8-5 and 14-2 to equal St Louis' record for most consecutive victories, set in 1935.

St Louis reinforced their hold on the second National League (NL) Wild Card spot after improving to 85-69 this season.

Tyler O'Neill homered twice in the day, including a three-run shot with the Cards leading 3-2 in the second inning of the later game.

Lars Nootbaar hit two of the five homers in the evening game, helping the Cardinals complete the Cubs sweep.

"I've said it since even the offseason, day one of Spring Training and at any point in time I get the opportunity to talk about this group," said Cardinals manager Mike Shildt. "It's a special group."

Yankees move clear of Jays in Wild Card race, Franco extends streak

The New York Yankees claimed a critical win in the American League (AL) Wild Card battle, defeating rivals the Boston Red Sox 8-3 after plundering seven runs in the opening three innings. Giancarlo Stanton delivered a flat three-run homer in the third inning as part of his four-RBI performance which underlined the Yankees' win over the AL Wild Card leaders.

The Yankees – enjoying a four-game winning streak – enhanced their playoff hopes after the Toronto Blue Jays went down 3-1 to the Minnesota Twins. The Blue Jays are 85-69, level with the red-hot Seattle Mariners and two games adrift of the Yankees (86-67) in the race for the second AL Wild Card berth.

Tampa Bay Rays rookie Wander Franco returned and continued his historic 40-game on-base streak as the AL East leaders blanked the Miami Marlins 8-0. Reinstated from the 10-day injured list, Franco's streak is the second longest in AL-NL history by a player aged 20 or younger, only three games short of the all-time record set by Frank Robinson in 1956. Franco also broke a tie with Johnny Damon (2011) for the second longest overall on-base streak in franchise history.

A.J. Pollock took a super catch on the fence and hit a two-run home run as World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers won 4-2 over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Fernando Tatis Jr. hit his 41st home run of the season with a game-winning shot in the San Diego Padres' 6-5 triumph against the Atlanta Braves. The Braves would win the second game 4-0 with Max Fried sending down his second career shutout.

 

A's hammer Astros bullpen

The Houston Astros' bullpen had a difficult day in their 14-2 loss to the Oakland Athletics. With Zack Greinke on the IL, Brandon Bielak started but lasted three innings, allowing four hits and three runs. But the real damage came late, with Yimi Garcia, Brooks Raley and Seth Martinez copping the brunt as the A's piled on 11 runs in the seventh and eighth innings.

 

Giants reach rare century

The San Francisco Giants became the first time to reach 100 wins this season, eclipsing the Colorado Rockies 7-2 to improve their record to 100-54. It marks the first time since 2003 the high-flying Giants have reached triple figures in the win column, and eighth time in franchise history. Brandon Belt and Mike Yastrzemski also became the first pair of Giants team-mates with 25-plus home runs in a season since 2006.

Post the 100 win graphic pic.twitter.com/p7sEyoHzpj

— SFGiants (@SFGiants) September 25, 2021

 

 

Friday's results

St Louis Cardinals 8-5 Chicago Cubs
Texas Rangers 8-5 Baltimore Orioles
Philadelphia Phillies 8-6 Pittsburgh Pirates 
Cincinnati Reds 8-7 Washington Nationals
Tampa Bay Rays 8-0 Miami Marlins
New York Yankees 8-3 Boston Red Sox
San Diego Padres 6-5 Atlanta Braves 4-0
Kansas City Royals 3-1 Detroit Tigers
Chicago White Sox 1-0 Cleveland Indians
St Louis Cardinals 12-4 Chicago Cubs
Milwaukee Brewers 5-1 New York Mets
San Francisco Giants 7-2 Colorado Rockies
Minnesota Twins 3-1 Toronto Blue Jays
Seattle Mariners 6-5 Los Angeles Angels
Oakland Athletics 14-2 Houston Astros
Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2 Arizona Diamondbacks
Atlanta Braves 4-0 San Diego Padres

 

Yankees at Red Sox

On Saturday, the Red Sox and the Yankees will meet again in their crucial AL series which will go a long way towards determining Wild Card spots. Nick Pivetta is set to start for the Red Sox, while the Yankees will likely counter with Nestor Cortes.

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