The Atlanta Braves came out best after an action-packed eighth inning to defeat the San Diego Padres 6-5 on Saturday.

Down 5-2 in the bottom of the eighth following a four-run inning from the Padres, the defending World Series champions responded with a four-run inning of their own to split the opening two games of a three-game series.

Marcell Ozuna scored a home run and Austin Riley hit the go-ahead double in the response to hand the Braves the win, in what has been a sputtering start to the season.

Charlie Morton pitched solidly, striking out nine and giving up two hits over 83 pitches in six innings.

Atlanta have now won four of their past six games to move to a 16-18 record for the season.

Robert ruins Yankees win streak

Luis Robert drove home the winning run in the ninth inning to hand the Chicago White Sox a 3-2 win over the American League East-leading New York Yankees.

The Yankees were relentless at the plate over the opening two games of the series, scoring 25 runs but faced difficulty against Dallas Keuchel, who struck out three and gave up only four hits over 86 pitches.

While New York still hold the best record in baseball at 24-9, the loss ends a five-game winning streak.

Marte mashes Mariners

Patrick Mazeika hit the game-winning home run in the seventh inning, but Starling Marte was the star for the New York Mets in their 5-4 win over the Seattle Mariners.

Marte tripled, doubled, singled and claimed three RBIs from four at-bats for the Mets, who let a 4-0 lead slip when Jesse Winker tied with a three-run home run in the seventh inning.

Batting ninth, Mazeika had the final say however, mashing Andres Munoz inside the right-field foul pole for his second home run in the major leagues.

It was a rare joyous day at the ballpark for Detroit Tigers fans on Friday as future Hall-of-Famer Miguel Cabrera put on a show in their 4-2 home win against the Baltimore Orioles.

There was also a glimpse into the future of the franchise as their brightest young talents came through in big spots.

Cabrera, 39, brought home the game's first run with an RBI double in the third inning, before he doubled his side's advantage when he connected with his second home run of the season from his next plate appearance in the sixth inning.

Later in the sixth inning, exciting 25-year-old Puerto Rican Willi Castro made it 3-0 with his own RBI double, before one of the top prospects in all of baseball, Spencer Torkelson, drove Castro in to make it 4-0.

The Orioles threatened a comeback in the eighth frame as Trey Mancini and Anthony Santander hit a pair of solo home runs, but that would be all as Will Vest came in to collect the save.

It was a great starting pitching performance from Eduardo Rodriguez, who was the Tigers' big off-season signing from the Boston Red Sox, going six complete innings while giving up five hits and four walks for no runs.

Rodriguez has not allowed any more than four runs in any start this season, but this was the first time he was credited with a win, despite it being officially his third 'quality start'.

 

Big-swinging Yankees stay hot

Having their best start to a season since 2003, the New York Yankees banked another win with a 10-4 road victory against the Chicago White Sox.

On the back of a strong start by ace pitcher Gerrit Cole, striking out nine while giving up three runs in six-and-a-third innings, sluggers Joey Gallo, Aaron Judge, Josh Donaldson and Giancarlo Stanton all hit home runs in a devastating demonstration of power.

The win moves the Yankees' league-best record to 24-8. The eight previous times they have had at least 22 wins from their first 30 games, which was the case this season, they have gone on to make the World Series.

Angels debutant pitches a gem

Chase Silseth became the second pitcher in Los Angeles Angels history to go six full innings and allow one or fewer hits in his major league debut as his side shut-out the Oakland Athletics 2-0.

The 21-year-old rookie also gave up just two walks for three total baserunners, while striking out four.

He joins Rudy May, who accomplished the feat in April 1965.

The Houston Astros claimed both games in an impromptu double-header and the eventual three-game sweep, with respective 11-3 and 5-0 victories over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday.

The Astros led 5-1 on Wednesday night against the Twins the battle between two of the American League's divisional leaders, when the game was suspended in the third inning.

The game resumed on the Thursday, with Jose Altuve claimed a home-run and double as well as three RBIs in the 11-3 victory.

In Thursday's regularly scheduled game, Yordan Alvarez homered twice, while Luis Garcia and three relievers combined for only seven hits in the shutout win.

The Astros have now extended their winning streak to ten games, giving up only 11 runs over that period.

Stanton stars in Yankees win

While the AL Central and West leaders battled it out, the AL East-leading New York Yankees defeated the Chicago White Sox 15-7.

Giancarlo Stanton homered twice and scored six RBIs, while the Yankees secured the win on the back of a seven-run eighth inning.

The Pinstripes have now won 16 of their last 18 games, with three games remaining in their road series against the White Sox.

Harper moves to DH as Phillies defeat Dodgers

An injured Bryce Harper still claimed two hits from four at-bats and three RBIs as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-7.

Harper will remain in the Phillies' lineup but will be relieved of throwing duties as the designated hitter, due to a ligament tear in his right elbow.

Zack Wheeler pitched over five innings in his start for Philadelphia, striking out seven and giving up six hits and three runs in 90 pitches.

The Cleveland Guardians saw Wednesday's game against the Chicago White Sox postponed due to several positive tests for COVID-19 in their camp.

MLB will have to reschedule the game due to health and safety protocols, with two matchups in a three-game series between the two already played.

While there have been positive coronavirus tests this season and forced individual absences, this first rescheduling of a game provides added logistical complication in an already-compressed regular season due to a lockout.

According to MLB's Mandy Bell, Guardians manager Terry Francona, bench coach DeMarlo Hale and other clubhouse staff were among those to test positive.

Pending further positive tests, the Guardians will also look to maintain their pitching rotation, coming into Friday's matchup against the Minnesota Twins.

The Cleveland Guardians saw Wednesday's game against the Chicago White Sox postponed due to several positive tests for COVID-19 in their camp.

MLB will have to reschedule the game due to health and safety protocols, with two matchups in a three-game series between the two already played.

While there have been positive coronavirus tests this season and forced individual absences, this first rescheduling of a game provides added logistical complication in an already-compressed regular season due to a lockout.

According to MLB's Mandy Bell, Guardians manager Terry Francona, bench coach DeMarlo Hale and other clubhouse staff were among those to test positive.

Pending further positive tests, the Guardians will also look to maintain their pitching rotation, coming into Friday's matchup against the Minnesota Twins.

The Cleveland Guardians pulled off a spectacular comeback to beat the Chicago White Sox 12-9 on the road in extra innings, as Josh Naylor finished with a remarkable eight RBIs.

After an action-packed first inning, highlighted by Gavin Sheets' three-run home run for Chicago, the White Sox led 4-1.

There would be no more runs over the next five innings as Cleveland's Zach Plesac and Chicago's Michael Kopeck found a nice rhythm, with both starters withdrawn at the beginning of the seventh inning.

This also happened to be when the action picked back up, with the White Sox adding another run via a Tim Anderson double to make it 5-1 going into the eighth.

Naylor collected his own RBI double in the eighth to peg back one run, but the game appeared to be done when the White Sox's AJ Pollock blasted a three-run homer to make it 8-2 with one inning to play.

The Guardians had other ideas, as Andres Gimenez led off the inning with a solo home run, and a pair of errors first allowed Amed Rosario to advance from first base to third, and then brought him home, making it 8-4 with no outs.

After the next two batters were retired, a walk and a single loaded the bases for Naylor to be the hero. Naylor blasted the first pitch he saw over the right-centre wall for a grand slam, tying the game and sending it to extra innings.

Gimenez added a run in the top of the 10th inning, which was matched by Reese McGuire's RBI in the bottom of the frame, forcing an 11th innings.

With two outs, capping off an outrageous day at the plate, Naylor hit a three-run home run, giving him eight RBIs with three hits and a walk from six at-bats.

Stars shine in Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Angels' two MVP hopefuls put on a show in their 11-3 win against the Tampa Bay Rays.

After a fourth-inning solo home run for Tampa Bay's Randy Arozarena, Angels stars Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout collected back-to-back hits later in the inning, setting the table for Jared Walsh to blast a three-run homer.

There was more back-to-back magic in the sixth inning, as Trout stepped up and blasted a two-run home run, before Ohtani came out next and sent a 407-foot shot over the wall at left-centre.

Trout would drive in another run an inning later with his bases-loaded walk, before Ohtani once again followed him in style, bombing a 413-foot grand slam.

Yankees no-hitter broken up late

New York Yankees starting pitcher Nestor Cortes took his no-hit bid into the eighth inning as his side beat the Texas Rangers 1-0.

Through seven complete innings, the score was tied at 0-0, with the Rangers' four base-runners for the game all reaching via walk.

After the first batter of the eighth inning was struck out, Texas' Eli White finally broke up the no-hitter with a base hit to centre-field, before New York's Anthony Rizzo drove in the one and only run for the contest later in the same frame. Cortes finished with 11 strikeouts from his seven-and-a-third innings.

The New York Yankees came through in the ninth inning to win a hard-fought pitching duel 3-2 against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Yankees pitcher Jordan Montgomery was strong through five innings, conceding two runs from six hits and no walks, striking out five. For the Blue Jays, Ross Stripling gave up two runs from five hits and no walks in four innings.

It was a scoreless first three frames, before the Yankees finally found the breakthrough when Gleyber Torres stepped up to the plate with Josh Donaldson on first base and two outs, sending a blast over the right-field wall to make it 2-0.

The lead was short-lived, as George Springer led off the bottom of the fourth with a base hit, before coming home with Bo Bichette's double to left-field. Bichette was then brought home by Matt Chapman's two-out base hit, tying the game at 2-2.

It would be another four scoreless innings as both bullpens, particularly the Blue Jays', were lights out, not allowing the Yankees another baserunner until the ninth inning.

Giancarlo Stanton led off the last frame with a single to center-field, before he was withdrawn from the game, replaced by speedy pinch-runner Tim Locastro in a game-winning decision.

Locastro instantly stole second base, breaking up what would have been a double-play when the next batter up grounded out, and made his way into scoring position in the process. 

Aaron Hicks' strikeout brought Torres back to the plate with two outs, and he delivered once again, sending a base hit to right-field to bring Locastro to home plate for a 3-2 lead.

Yankees closer Chad Green closed the door in style, striking out two of the three batters he faced to collect the save.

Angels batters issued Cease and desist 

Chicago White Sox ace Dylan Cease pitched a gem in his side's 3-0 shutout win against the Los Angeles Angels.

Cease got through seven complete innings in 93 pitches, striking out 11 while conceding just one hit and no walks.

He did not have to wait long for run-support either, as the White Sox jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning after A.J. Pollock and Jake Burger drove in one each.

Pitchers put on a show in St Louis

Kansas City Royals starter Zach Greinke only allowed three hits, no walks and one run in his six innings, but was still credited with the loss as his side went down 1-0 against the St Louis Cardinals.

Steven Matz was even better for the Cardinals, pitching six scoreless frames, conceding four hits and no walks.

Paul Goldschmidt put the Cardinals ahead with a solo home run in the opening inning, for the first and last run of the night. 

Five New York Mets pitchers combined on Friday to throw the franchise's second ever no-hitter, beating the Philadelphia Phillies 3-0.

Tyler Megill got things started for the Mets, pitching five innings for three walks and five strikeouts before being withdrawn after 88 pitches.

Megill was replaced by Drew Smith, who struck out four of the five batters he faced, issuing one walk before he was then replaced by Joely Rodriguez for the seventh frame.

Seth Lugo came in to finish off the eighth inning, setting the table for closer Edwin Diaz to finish the job. The Mets' second no-hitter comes nearly 10 years after their first, when Johan Santana did it by himself in June 2012.

Diaz struck out all three batters in the ninth inning, becoming the first player to ever strike out every batter he faced to close out a no-hitter. It was also the first time since 1990 that the first no-hitter of the season was a combined effort.

It was a scoreless game on both sides until the fifth inning when Jeff McNeil's base hit brought home Eduardo Escobar and Mark Canha, with Pete Alonso's solo home run an inning later giving the Mets their winning margin.

Aaron Nola was no slouch on the mound for the Phillies, with nine strikeouts through six complete innings to go with three earned runs from seven hits and no walks.

The win moves the Mets' record to 15-6 – the best in the MLB.

Showtime for Shohei in Chicago

Just one game back in the standings from the Mets, the Los Angeles Angels claimed another stylish win as they defeated the Chicago White Sox 5-1.

It was a terrific pitching performance from the Angels staff as starter Jimmy Herget was pulled after just three innings, with six relievers combining to hold the White Sox scoreless the rest of the way.

With the bat, Shohei Ohtani made sure fans did not have to wait long to get their money's worth, sending a high fastball on a 3-1 count back over the pitcher's head and over the center-field wall. It was the Angels' second homer of the opening frame after Taylor Ward hit a lead-off bomb to start the game.

Guardians win back-and-forth thriller

In a game with five lead changes, the Cleveland Guardians prevailed 9-8 against the Oakland Athletics.

A Jose Ramirez solo home run gave the Guardians a 1-0 lead in the first inning, but it was short-lived as the Athletics responded with four runs in the bottom of the frame, with three coming home on a 407-foot Sean Murphy home run.

The momentum shifted again in the third inning as an Andres Gimenez grand slam pushed the Guardians back ahead 5-4, but once again the Athletics answered straight back, scoring the next four runs to lead 8-5.

Cleveland had the last laugh in the seventh inning, as a Ramirez double brought two runs home to trim the deficit to one, before a two-run Josh Naylor homer made it 9-8, allowing Emmanuel Clase to close things out with the save.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are the only team remaining in the MLB without five losses, with Sunday's 10-2 win against the San Diego Padres moving their record to 11-4.

It was another near-spotless start for Dodgers ace and future Hall-of-Famer Clayton Kershaw, conceding just one run and four base runners in five complete innings.

Padres starter Sean Manaea is a Cy Young award contender in his own right, but he did not have his best outing against a formidable Dodgers line-up, conceding six earned runs in just over four innings.

The runs were started with a Justin Turner sacrifice-fly to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead in the opening inning, before Freddie Freeman smashed a 425-foot home run to score two more runs in the third frame.

Los Angeles' Cody Bellinger hit a solo home run of his own the next inning, and then went again with a three-run bomb in the fifth to increase the margin to 8-1.

Buxton blasts in extra innings

Minnesota Twins center-fielder Byron Buxton hit the longest walk-off home run in the MLB Statcast era to defeat the Chicago White Sox 6-4 in extra innings.

Buxton was the hero on two occasions on Sunday, tying the game at 3-3 in the seventh inning with a 366-foot home run that barely made it over the wall, before leaving no doubt in the last at-bat of the game.

After the White Sox went up 4-3 in the top of the 10th inning, Buxton stepped to the plate trailing by one, with two runners on base. His 469-foot, three-run blast is the longest game-winner since at least 2015 when Statcast began tracking.

Cole and Rizzo lead Yankees to Guardians sweep

Gerrit Cole bounced back from his poor start against the Detroit Tigers as the New York Yankees beat the Cleveland Guardians 10-2, claiming a sweep of their three-game series.

Not even lasting two innings against the Tigers - the shortest start of his career - Cole pitched into the seventh against the Guardians, striking out nine and allowing only four hits over 92 pitches.

Anthony Rizzo's two-run home run in the first inning tied him for the American League lead with five. It was the Yankees' fifth win in the past six, heading into a three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles, who sit bottom in the AL East.

Miguel Cabrera will have to wait for another day to reach 3,000 career hits, as the Detroit Tigers beat the New York Yankees 3-0 on Thursday.

Cabrera was intentionally walked in the eighth inning and it was received with a loud chorus of boos at Comerica Park, forcing the 39-year-old and Detroit fans to wait, with the future Hall-of-Famer on 2,999 career hits.

Detroit led 1-0 and had runners on second and third when Yankees manager Aaron Boone motioned for reliever Lucas Luetge to walk Cabrera. Austin Meadows then scored with a two-run double to put the Tigers 3-0 up and secure the win.

Michael Pineda conceded just three hits in 60 pitches over five innings in his home debut for the Tigers, with Gregory Soto claiming the last four outs for his third save of the season.

Jordan Montgomery conceded three hits and one run in 86 pitches through six innings.

Guardians sweep White Sox

The Cleveland Guardians claimed early bragging rights in the AL Central, completing a three-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox with a 6-3 victory.

Only making his return this week from a fractured leg sustained last June, Josh Naylor had two hits and two RBIs, scoring an RBI single in the fifth and a double in the seventh.

Franmil Reyes hit his first home run of the season at an ideal time for the Guardians, scoring a two-run shot off Dylan Cease with two out in the third inning.

Carrasco carries Mets over Giants

A day after Carlos Rodon dominated from the mound, Carlos Carrasco answered back for the New York Mets as they defeated the San Francisco Giants 6-2.

The 35-year-old Venezuelan pitched into the eighth inning, giving up only four hits and claiming seven strikeouts in 91 pitches.

Francisco Lindor had three hits from five at-bats including a solo home run, as the Mets notched up three wins from this four-game series with the Giants.

The Chicago White Sox maintained the best record in the American League, defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 on Saturday.

White Sox closer Liam Hendriks came up big in the ninth inning, leaving the bases loaded after intentionally walking Rays pinch-hitter Choi Ji-man, with Michael Kopech throwing a solid opening five innings

Jose Abreu also hit his first home run for the season, going long off Corey Kluber to also get Tim Anderson home and give the White Sox a 2-1 lead coming into the fifth inning.

In what's been an off opening for Abreu despite the hot start for the team overall, the two-run homer came at an ideal time, taking him to six hits out of 28 at-bats so far this season.

The White Sox have now won six of their past seven, leading the AL Central with a 6-2 record - their best start since 2016.

Pache propels A's to win in Toronto

Cristian Pache hit a go-ahead home run in the ninth inning as the Oakland Athletics broke a six-game losing streak in Toronto, coming up 7-5 winners against the Blue Jays.

Pache launched the 1-0 pitch from Julian Merryweather into the right-field bullpen for his first home run of the season and only the second of his career.

The Blue Jays' Matt Chapman and Zack Collins homered on consecutive pitches from Domingo Avecedo in the sixth inning to cut the 5-2 deficit, but the A's eventually held out to move to 5-4 for the season.

Bogaerts bounces back as Red Sox shut out Twins

Xander Bogaerts and Alex Verdugo each hit two-run home runs as Tanner Houck helped keep the Minnesota Twins scoreless, with the Boston Red Sox winning 4-0.

Houck allowed just two hits and three walks while striking out four in just over five innings, while Twins starter Sonny Gray threw just 31 pitches, along with allowing the homer to Verdugo in just the second inning.

Bogaerts sent the Red Sox on their way in the third inning, crushing reliever Josh Winder's pitch over the famous Green Monster.

Juan Soto made history with his 100th career home run in the Washington Nationals' 16-4 loss to world champions, the Atlanta Braves, on Tuesday.

Soto, 23, became the youngest player in franchise history to reach 100 career home runs with a moon shot at the top of the sixth inning.

The homer, which travelled 451 feet according to Statcast to right-center field, was the fourth longest of his career.

"It just comes to me. I never tried to hit a homer, or anything like that," Soto told reporters. "I’m one of the guys who just tries to hit singles every day. So for me to become consistent hitting homers, it’s just impressive and it tells how good I’ve been working on my body and everything."

Soto is the seventh active player to blast 100 homers at age 23 or younger, having first homered as a 19-year-old in 2018.

The Braves ultimately got the win after 10 runs in three innings to open up a 10-1 lead after four innings, but Soto finished with two hits, one run, one walk and one RBI.

Ozzie Albies, who finished with three hits, two runs and three RBIs, blasted his first homer of the 2022 season in the fourth inning.

Giancarlo Stanton continued his remarkable home-run hitting form against the Boston Red Sox as the New York Yankees won 4-2 on Saturday.

Yankees slugger Stanton homered for the sixth consecutive game against the Red Sox, hitting the go-ahead two-run homer to left center field in the sixth inning.

Boston had gone ahead in the second inning from Alex Verdugo's two-run homer, before Anthony Rizzo equalled the feat in the fourth inning to level the game up.

The victory means the Yankees have begun the new season with a 2-0 start, ahead of the third and final game of their series against the Red Sox on Sunday.

"I can’t say it’s the rivalry or anything," Stanton said about his record against the Red Sox. "I’m doing my homework and getting the ball over the plate."

 

Dodgers offense shut down

The Los Angeles Dodgers struggled on offense as they slumped to a 3-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies, who were sparked by an eighth-inning Connor Joe homer.

Rockies closer Daniel Bard shut down the Dodgers in the ninth inning to round out the win, striking out Justin Turner, Edwin Rios and Cody Bellinger.

Austin Barnes had two hits and an RBI for the Dodgers, while Mookie Betts had an eighth-inning RBI single to tie the game up, before Joe's go-ahead blast.

 

Alonso hits career-first grand slam

Pete Alonso clubbed a fifth-inning grand slam to lead the New York Mets past the Washington Nationals 5-0. That marked 27-year-old's first career grand slam and comes after Alonso had been left with a bloodied lip after being struck by a Mason Thompson fastball earlier in the series.

The benches cleared in the Chicago Cubs' 9-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers after tempers flared between the division rivals when right-hander Keegan Thompson hit Andrew McCutchen in the hip with a fastball.

Dylan Cease stepped in for the Chicago White Sox with eight strikeouts across five innings in their 5-2 win over the Detroit Tigers. Cease remarkably boasts a 9-0 record against the Tigers in 10 starts.

 

Saturday's results

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

 

Astros at Angels

The Los Angeles Angels take on the Houston Astros in the final game of their thrilling four-game series, with Shohei Ohtani potentially back on the mound after being rested for the past two games.

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."

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