St Louis Cardinals star Nolan Arenado hit for the cycle on Friday, but it was not enough to get his side over the line as they went down 5-3 against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Both Arenado and teammate Paul Goldschmidt are viewed as MVP candidates this season, and they combined early on to give the Cardinals an early lead. 

In the first inning, Goldschmidt got on base with a single and was driven home by an Arenado triple as the next batter, and then in the third inning after Goldschmidt doubled, Arenado drove him in again with a home run, making it 3-0.

From that point on it would be all Phillies, allowing no runs from just two hits and two walks in the last six innings. The Phillies bullpen would also strike out 10 batters from the Cardinals' last 15 outs as five different relief pitchers collected two strikeouts each.

The fifth inning was the turning point of the contest as Mickey Moniak was able to finally put the Cardinals on the scoreboard with an RBI double, with a Kyle Schwarber RBI ground-out and a Rhys Hoskins sacrifice-fly manufacturing another couple of runs to tie it at 3-3.

Phillies designated hitter Darick Hall maintained an improbable stat, hitting his third home run of the season with a solo shot in the sixth frame. Incredibly, he only has three hits for the season, with all three travelling over the fence.

Arenado also collected the third leg of his cycle in the sixth inning, with a double, meaning he needed a single from his final at-bat to complete the feat. He did so, albeit it with the help of a friendly scoring decision as the third-baseman sailed his throw on Arenado's ground-ball, but it was ruled a hit due to how firmly it was struck.

Hoskins gave the Phillies some breathing room in the seventh with a 406-foot home run, setting up Brad Hand to come in and collect the save.

Brewers beat up the Pirates

The Milwaukee Brewers pounded the Pittsburgh Pirates 19-2 on the road in a game where the visitors had two separate innings with at least seven runs.

Rowdy Tellez finished with five RBIs, Willy Adames collected four RBIs on one swing with his grand slam, while five other Brewers drove in at least one run.

Pirates starter Roansy Contreras was only able to get five outs before he was withdrawn in the second inning, having given up seven earned runs from 52 pitches.

Willy's setting off fireworks in Pittsburgh.

MLB x @DairyQueen pic.twitter.com/55vlZFuPBA

— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) July 2, 2022

Ohtani bangs in sole Angels run

Shohei Ohtani hit his 18th home run of the season, but it would be the only run his Los Angeles Angels would score in an 8-1 beating by the Houston Astros.

Ohtani's deep shot came in the very first inning, giving the Angels a 1-0 lead as the third batter of the game, but they would only collect one more hit the rest of the way as Astros starter Cristian Javier produced a career-best performance.

Javier only gave up one hit in his seven innings, while handing out no walks and striking out 14 batters, which ties the league-wide record for most strikeouts in a single game this season. 

For the second straight day a Pittsburgh Pirates player has hit three home runs in an 8-7 win – this time with Michael Perez starring against the Milwaukee Brewers.

On Wednesday it was Bryan Reynolds hitting three home runs in an 8-7 win against the Washington Nationals, and Thursday's game started in fine fashion for the Pirates at home, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning.

Those runs came first through a monster 431-foot, two-run blast from Oneil Cruz as he continues to make his case as arguably the most exciting youngster in baseball, before Jack Suwinski followed up with a 412-foot solo shot as the very next batter.

The Brewers fought back in the next couple of frames, with Christian Yelich's RBI triple and Omar Narvaez's RBI double helping to even the score at 3-3 in the fourth inning, and that is where Perez began his memorable night.

In the bottom of the fourth, Perez connected on a 377-foot, two-run homer, driving in Suwinski, and with Suwinski on base again in the sixth inning, Perez repeated the act, this time with a 391-foot, two-run smack.

Perez's longest hit of the game came in the eighth frame, extending his side's lead to 8-4 with a 408-foot solo homer.

With his third long ball of the game, Perez matched his season total entering the contest, and the third turned out to be crucial as the Brewers were able to drive in three runs in the ninth inning, ultimately falling short.

Adding salt to the wounds for the Brewers was starting pitcher Adrian Houser being forced to leave the game in the third inning due to elbow tightness, with the bullpen going on to give up five runs in the last five-and-two-thirds innings.

Guardians walk it off

The Cleveland Guardians only collected three hits in their 5-3 win against the Minnesota Twins, but they saved the best for last.

Twins pitchers Chris Archer, Tyler Duffey and Jovani Moran combined to hold the Guardians to just one hit through the first seven innings – although Archer did hand out six walks.

The Guardians were able to tie things up at 3-3 in the eighth inning as two runs came home on a fielding error from Carlos Correa, setting the table for Andres Gimenez to be the hero in the bottom of the ninth, connecting on a 411-foot, two-run, walk-off blast. 

Astros beat the Yankees again

The New York Yankees are 6-3 in their past nine games, but all three losses have come against the Houston Astros after Thursday's 2-1 defeat.

Astros starting pitcher Luis Garcia put in an excellent showing, giving up one run in five-and-a-third innings, holding the Yankees to three hits and two walks from 101 pitches, striking out six.

Houston's only scoring play of the game came in the third inning, with Alex Bregman's two-run double, while the Yankees' sole run came from an Anthony Rizzo homer as the last batter before Garcia was withdrawn.

Nine years after being selected as the number one pick in the MLB Draft, Mark Appel finally made his major league debut.

Four days after being promoted from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to the Philadelphia Phillies, Appel took the mound on Wednesday, pitching a scoreless ninth inning in a 4-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves.

"It's pretty surreal," Appel said. "I was trying to hold back the tears. It was emotional. It was special."

The right-hander, who turns 31 on July 15, became the oldest top overall pick to make his major league debut when he stepped foot on the rubber to face Marcell Ozuna at Citizens Bank Park.

He got Ozuna to line out to first baseman Rhys Hoskins on his first pitch for his first out.

"Having perspective and remembering even just two, three years ago," Appel said. "Even if I was just trying to come back, it's never been a straight line for me.

"Even in that whole process, I was lost. I felt like there were times when I was hopeless, that this dream would never happen. So yeah, I was choking back tears."

A native of suburban Houston, Appel was selected first overall by the Astros in the 2013 draft and spent three years in the Astros system before being traded to the Phillies in a multi-player deal in December 2015.

He struggled on the mound and battled through injuries in the minors before announcing in early 2018 that he was retiring, saying he was at peace with the decision to step away.

Three years later, Appel returned to the Phillies organisation but again scuffled at Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2021, posting a 6.06 ERA in 23 appearances – 15 starts.

He came out again this past spring and this time excelled – as a full-time reliever. In 19 appearances out of the bullpen for the Iron Pigs, Appel went 5-0 with a 1.61 ERA and 24 strikeouts over 28 innings.

"This whole year has been so special for me," Appel said. "I was coming in, trying to figure out: where do I fit? What's my role going to be?

"The fact I got to go to Lehigh and learn how to be a reliever and have some success, that was fuel to my fire. I didn't need a call-up for it to be a successful year.

"In that sense, this is all just extra. I'm just really thankful for it. And I'm glad that I'm able to go out and do my best and get to face the world champions from last year. It's pretty surreal."

The second batter Appel faced, William Contreras, singled to centre, but on the next batter, Appel notched his first major league strikeout on a 97 mph fastball to Aam Duvall.

After umpire Quinn Wolcott called strike three, catcher J.T. Realmuto tossed the ball to the Phillies dugout for Appel to keep as a memento of his first major league strikeout.

The inning ended one batter later when Appel got Phil Gosselin to hit into a fielder's choice – a grounder to shortstop Didi Gregorius, who tossed it to Bryson Scott.

Appel threw 10 pitches in all – six for strikes – and when he reached the Phillies dugout upon the completion of the inning, he was congratulated by interim manager Rob Thompson and his team-mates.

"It almost felt like I was being brought into this fraternity of Major League Baseball players," Appel said.

Kyle Tucker led the way to set up strong performances from Yordan Alvarez and Framber Valdez for the Houston Astros, who secured a 9-1 win over the New York Mets on Tuesday.

Tucker crushed a three-run home run off Carlos Carrasco at the top of the first inning, with the Astros taking the eventual 4-0 lead.

Leading the team for batting average (.321) and OBP (.415), and the major leagues for OPS (1.082), Alvarez reached base five times in claiming three hits and two RBIs.

In contrast to Carrasco for the Mets, Valdez was solid on the mound, striking out five and giving up six hits to pitch eight scoreless innings, with Enoli Paredes cleaning up in the last.

The Astros claimed the third of five games in this six-game New York stand with the win, before heading back to Houston to play the American League-leading Yankees.

Sears scorches A's in Yankees win

The Yankees maintained their lead in the American League (AL) and extended their record for the season to 55-20, defeating the Oakland Athletics 2-1.

J.P. Sears was in impressive form in only his second major league start, limiting the A's to three hits, while striking out and walking one each over 78 pitches, before he was pulled during the sixth inning.

Jose Trevino provided early support with an RBI single in the first off Frankie Montas, before Marwin Gonzalez homered in the second.

Polanco returns as Twins, Guardians split double-header

Jorge Polanco drove in three runs in his first game back from injury, as the Minnesota Twins claimed a 6-0 win in Tuesday's second game against the Cleveland Guardians.

Having lost 3-2 in the early game, the Twins restored their lead over the Guardians in the AL Central to three games, with Polanco scoring a two-run home run off rookie Konnor Pilkington in the second inning.

Byron Buxton claimed his 20th home run for the season, going long off Anthony Castro in the ninth inning. Jose Miranda also connected in the sixth inning for the Twins.

New York Yankees star Aaron Judge continued to mount his case for AL MVP on Sunday as he crushed a three-run, walk-off home run to complete a 6-3 comeback win against the Houston Astros.

All the momentum was with the Astros early coming off Saturday's meeting where they became the first team in 19 years to hold the Yankees hit-less, and they added to that history to begin this contest.

Jose Altuve gave the Astros a 1-0 lead with a first-inning home run, before the road team jumped ahead 3-0 with a two-RBI single to Maurcio Dubon in the fourth frame.

The Yankees did not have a hit through six-and-a-third innings – making it a streak of 52 at-bats without a hit, the longest dry spell by any team since 1974.

Giancarlo Stanton finally broke the seal with a 436-foot solo homer in the seventh frame, before D.J. LeMahieu tied things up with a two-run shot an inning later.

Neither team was able to find a run in the ninth, forcing extra innings, where Michael King was able to keep the Astros from scoring, setting up Judge to connect on the walk-off winner in the bottom of the 10th.

Judge is the current favourite for AL MVP, and the home run was his 28th of the season – six more than any other player.

Yankees starting pitcher Nestor Cortes put in a solid performance, striking out seven batters in five innings while conceding three earned runs from five hits and two walks.

Astros starter Jose Urquidy was even better, allowing just one run from one hit through seven complete innings.

With the win, the Yankees move their league-best record to 53-20, leading the second-placed New York Mets by six-and-a-half games.

McClanahan shows Cy Young quality

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Shane McClanahan has emerged as the top choice for the AL Cy Young Award as the league's most outstanding pitcher, and he dominated the Pittsburgh Pirates in his side's 4-2 win.

McClanahan struck out 10 batters, holding the Pirates to one run from four hits and no walks through his seven full innings.

His dominance was rewarded, keeping the Rays tied at 1-1 until the seventh inning when they would finally find their rhythm and string together three consecutive two-out hits to make sure McClanahan had the lead before he was withdrawn, and was thus credited with the win.

White Sox issue Cease and desist to Orioles offense

Chicago White Sox ace Dylan Cease was at the top of his game on what turned out to be a great Sunday for star pitchers, striking out a career-high 13 batters in a 4-3 home win against the Baltimore Orioles.

His 13 strikeouts in seven complete innings was one shy of this season's most strikeouts in a game, set by Miami Marlins star Sandy Alcantara when he sat down 14 batters against the Atlanta Braves last month.

With the bat, the White Sox jumped ahead in the second inning courtesy of a two-run Gavin Sheets homer, and they held that lead throughout.

This is shaping up to be a season to remember for the New York Yankees, but they made history for all the wrong reasons on Sunday.

The Yankees, who boast the best record in the major leagues in 2022, had been held to a combined no-hitter by the Houston Astros in Saturday's 3-0 defeat at Yankee Stadium.

But rather than come out firing in the teams' next meeting the following day, the Yankees threatened to suffer the ignominy of a stunning second consecutive no-no.

Jose Urquidy frustrated the home team for 6.1 innings before Giancarlo Stanton finally made good contact and homered 436 feet to center field.

That was the Yankees' first hit since the eighth inning of Friday's 3-1 home loss to the Astros, a streak of 52 consecutive at-bats – the longest run by a batting team without a hit since at least 1974.

It also tied the record for the most at-bats without a pitching team allowing a hit over the same period.

The Astros matched the feats of the 2012 Los Angeles Angels against the Minnesota Twins and Toronto Blue Jays and the 2014 Los Angeles Dodgers against the Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds.

Houston own the only two no-hitters against the Yankees this century, with Saturday's hitless game following a 2003 no-no at Yankee Stadium.

Houston Astros pitchers Cristian Javier, Hector Neris and Ryan Pressly combined for a stunning no-hitter in their 3-0 win over the New York Yankees on Saturday.

Javier set career highs for pitches (115) and strikeouts (13) after walking Josh Donaldson on a full count in the first at-bat, before Astros manager Dusty Baker brought Neris in to start the eighth inning.

Pressly, who gave up the game-tying three-run home run to Aaron Hicks in Thursday's loss to the Yankees, retired three-straight in the ninth for his 15th save out of 18.

Astros rookie JJ Matijevic gave the Astros the lead in the seventh inning with his second homer in the major leagues, sending Gerrit Cole deep over right-field.

Jose Altuve followed that up with a home run of his own in the eighth but Yuli Gurriel added an RBI single in the ninth, as the Astros took their second game of three in the high-profile four-game series.

Harper breaks thumb as Appel makes Phillies roster

While Mark Appel's promotion to the Philadelphia Phillies' roster was the main topic pre-game, nine years after he was selected in 2013 MLB Draft, it was overshadowed by Bryce Harper's broken thumb in their 4-2 win over the San Diego Padres.

The reigning National League MVP will be out indefinitely after a wild fast-ball from Padres starter Blake Snell tagged him on the left hand.

Alec Bohm and JT Realmuto led the way in Harper's absence, with Bohm claiming two hits and RBI from four at-bats and Realmuto's home run off Snell setting up a three-run fifth inning.

Archer and Twins combine for one-hitter

Chris Archer was instrumental as the Minnesota Twins claimed top spot in the American League Central, as they secured a 6-0 victory against the Colorado Rockies.

On a limited pitch count, Archer gave up just one hit and struck out five over 78 pitches in five innings, before Jharrel Cotton, Griffin Jax and Tyler Thornberg shut the Rockies out.

Leading the major leagues in batting average (.347) and OBP (.426), Luis Arraez claimed two hits and an RBI from five at-bats to help secure the win, moving the Twins to 40-33 for the year.

Houston Astros manager praised his pitching staff for a Saturday he will "never forget" after they combined for a no-hitter against the New York Yankees for the first time in nearly two decades.

Astros starter Cristian Javier led the way for seven innings in the win, notching up a career-high 13 strikeouts while shutting down the best team in baseball.

The no-hitter is the 14th in Astros franchise history and the third combined no-hitter for the club.

Javier walked Josh Donaldson on a full count in the first inning, then retired 17 consecutive batters before Donaldson reached on an error in the seventh. Baker pulled Javier at a career-high 115 pitches at the end of the inning.

"The whole thing about pitching is control, control, control," Baker said. "Everybody talks about velocity all the time, but the velocity without command and control is no good.

"That was the key, getting ahead of the hitters. And he was getting ahead of some pretty good hitters, real good hitters over there. So, boy, that's a day that he'll never forget. Nor us, either."

Hector Neris encountered some drama in the eighth inning, walking Aaron Hicks and DJ LeMahieu before sitting down Joey Gallo and Aaron Judge to get out of the jam.

"I said, 'I have to get it for my team, I have to get it for Javy," Neris said post-game.

Ryan Pressly finished the feat with a flawless ninth inning, blocking out the memory of Thursday’s outing against the Yankees, in which he allowed a three-run home run in a 7-6 loss.

"I lost a lot of sleep [Thursday] night," Pressly said. "I was pretty upset with myself and felt like I let the team down. I wanted to come out here and show my teammates that they can trust me and go out there and take care of business."

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole nearly match Javier’s effectiveness, not allowing the game’s first run until a JJ Matijevic solo home run with two outs in the seventh.

Cole tossed seven innings in all, allowing four hits and just the one run. New York relievers Michael King and Lucas Luetge each gave up a run in the 3-0 Astros victory.

"The cold, hard truth is we got outpitched and outplayed," Cole said. "Magical day for them."

Mark Appel could be about to end his long, long wait to play in the major leagues after being called up by the Philadelphia Phillies.

Appel is joining the Phillies after the team put Connor Brogdon on the COVID injured list, according to MLB.com and The Athletic.

The 30-year-old pitcher is yet to make a single MLB appearance, despite being taken with the first overall draft pick by the Houston Astros in 2013.

That was the third time Appel had been selected – and second time in the first round – but the first time he was signed.

However, Appel never played for the Astros and was traded to the Phillies after the 2015 season, having struggled in the minor leagues.

He was designated for assignment in 2017 and announced his retirement in 2018, admitting he could "probably" be considered "the biggest draft bust".

Yet Appel returned to the Phillies last year and could now get his opportunity in place of Brogdon. The team are in the middle of a four-game series against the San Diego Padres.

Appel is one of four first overall picks never to have made it to MLB, along with Steve Chilcott, Brien Taylor and Brady Aiken.

The Astros also selected Aiken – in 2014, when Appel was still a part of the organisation – but a bonus dispute saw him become the first number one pick to be left unsigned since Tim Belcher in 1983.

Aiken was drafted again in 2015 by the Cleveland Indians, this time 17th overall, yet he still did not play and was released last year.

A big performance from New York Mets star Francisco Lindor helped his side conquer the Miami Marlins and their ace pitcher Sandy Alcantara 5-3 away from home.

Lindor struck in the very first inning, grinding out an eight-pitch at-bat before connecting on a 404-foot solo home run to center-field.

It was also a poor beginning to the game for Mets starter Taijuan Walker, giving up four consecutive base hits to the Marlins' first four batters, but he was able to get out of the first inning only conceding one run to keep things tied. 

Alcantara, who is the favourite to win the Cy Young Award as most outstanding pitcher in his conference, found his footing through the middle stages, not allowing a baserunner through the second, third and fourth inning.

He only gave up two hits and no walks through the first five innings, but the second hit – courtesy of Mark Canha in the fifth – also travelled over the fence, giving the Mets a 2-1 lead.

Just like the first frame, the Marlins did not allow the Mets to finish the inning in the lead, tying it at 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth through a Jorge Soler RBI groundout.

The sixth inning is where the Mets won the game, with an infield single to lead-off, followed by a bunt for a hit, and then a fielding error to load the bases with no outs.

Lindor cashed in, with a bases-clearing, three-run double to bust the game open, opening up a winning break that the Mets bullpen was able to defend.

Alcantara ended up pitching seven complete innings, giving up four earned runs from five hits and no walks, doing enough to remain as one of four starting pitchers with an ERA still under 2.0 this season (1.95, giving up 23 earned runs in 106.1 innings).

Walker was credited with the win, coming back from his rough start to work through six innings, giving up three runs and striking out five.

Astros snap Yankees' home streak

The New York Yankees lost at home for the first time in their past 16 games at Yankee Stadium as the Houston Astros got the job done 3-1.

Both teams finished with five hits, and both teams had all their scoring come from a single home run in the sixth inning, but while Giancarlo Stanton's homer was a solo shot, Kyle Tucker's was a three-run blast after a double from Alex Bregman and a walk to Yordan Alvarez.

It was a terrific outing for Astros ace Justin Verlander, pitching seven complete innings for four hits and one walk.

Devers, Pivetta and the Red Sox stay hot

The Boston Red Sox have now won 17 of their past 21 games after a 6-3 road win against the Cleveland Guardians.

Nick Pivetta shined on the mound, giving up two runs in seven innings, allowing nine hits, but no walks.

With the bat, AL MVP candidate Rafael Devers delivered with a 411-foot solo home run to put the Red Sox ahead in the second inning, before Carlos Arroyo's two-run shot in the seventh frame finally gave Boston some breathing room.

An explosive first inning and some big hitting from Yordan Alvarez lifted the Houston Astros to a 5-3 home win against the New York Mets on Wednesday.

It was a clash between two of the best teams in baseball, with the Mets entering the contest leading the National League at 45-25, and the Astros second in the American League at 42-25.

In a rough start for Mets pitcher Carlos Carrasco, the Astros started the game with a walk to Jose Altuve, followed by an RBI double to Michael Brantley, and then home runs to both Alex Bregman and Alvarez to lead 4-0 after the first four batters.

The Mets were able to pull one run back in the third, when Dominic Smith was brought home by a Brandon Nimmo sacrifice-fly, but Alvarez took that run straight back in the next inning when he crushed the longest hit of the game with a 412-foot homer to right-field.

Starling Marte's RBI double in the sixth inning cut the margin to 5-2, and Pete Alonso's sacrifice-fly brought home Marte for one more run, but that would be the last run of the game as both bullpens held out down the stretch.

Alonso's RBI was his league-leading 66th of the season – only Jose Ramirez (62 RBIs) and Paul Goldschmidt (58) have more than 52 this season as Alonso continues to put a gap on the field.

Astros starting pitcher Luis Garcia was credited with the win after giving up three runs in five innings, striking out five, and Ryan Pressly collected his 14th save of the season to close it out.

Wacha wins it for Boston

The Boston Red Sox rode a quality start from pitcher Michael Wacha to a 6-2 home win against the Detroit Tigers.

Wacha pitched six full innings as the Red Sox moved to an 8-2 record over the past 10 games, giving up two runs from hits and two walks, striking out seven in a terrific 98-pitch outing.

After giving up a two-run homer to Javier Baez in the first inning, the Boston pitching staff held the Tigers scoreless the rest of the way.

With the bat, exciting youngster Jarren Duran tied the game in the third inning with a two-run double, before Rob Refsnyder scored another two with his home run in the next at-bat.

Hays hits for the cycle

Baltimore Orioles centre-fielder Austin Hays hit for the cycle in his side's 7-0 home win against the Washington Nationals.

Batting lead-off, Hays opened the game with an infield single, and connected on a 405-foot home run in his next plate appearance in the third inning.

An inning later, he collected the toughest leg of the cycle when the right-hander sliced a drive into the right-field corner for a triple, and he completed the feat in his fourth at-bat with a two-run double to deep centre-field.

This all took place before the game was called off in the seventh inning due to persistent rain.

Yordan Alvarez hit a two-run home run and Kyle Tucker had three RBIs to give the Houston Astros an 8-2 win over the New York Mets in Tuesday's high-profile interleague matchup.

Jose Altuve and Jose Siri contributed solo home runs for Houston, who have only gone 6-4 over their past 10 games.

Altuve and Alvarez, who missed Sunday's win over the Chicago White Sox with injury, set up a 3-0 lead in the third inning, connecting off Trevor Williams. Tucker's three-run double extended the lead to 7-0, effectively securing the victory.

With the win, the Astros moved to 42-25 and only trail the New York Yankees in the American League, while the Mets lead the National League with a record of 45-25.

It was the first of nine straight games against the Mets and Yankees, with a trip to New York following this two-game stand at home.

Yaz stands up in Giants win

Mike Yastrzemski returned to form with an important two-run double, propelling the San Francisco Giants to an 8-7 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

Claiming only one hit from his previous 16 at-bats, the 31-year-old drove Collin McHugh deep into right-field, putting the Giants up 8-7.

The Giants moved ahead of the reigning World Series champions in the Nationa League standings with the win, claiming their eighth win in the past 11 games.

Gimenez gets Guardians up over Twins

The Cleveland Guardians moved to the top of the AL Central standings, beating the Minnesota Twins 6-5 in 11 innings.

Leading the major leagues with a .362 batting average, Guardians' lead-off hitter Luis Arraez hit a three-run home run in the seventh, sending Eli Morgan over right-center field.

Andres Gimenez hit the important RBI single in the 11th, as Emmanuel Clase earned his 16th save in 18 attempts. The Guardians' 35-28 record (.556) now inches them ahead of the Twins on 38-31 (.551).

In a battle between two of the best teams and best pitchers in the majors, Nestor Cortes' New York Yankees prevailed 4-3 at home against Shane McClanahan's Tampa Bay Rays.

McClanahan is the current favourite to win the AL Cy Young Award while Cortes is close behind, and they both put on spectacular performances in Wednesday's top fixture.

It was a rocky start for McClanahan, who was punished in the very first inning by American League MVP favourite Aaron Judge, connecting on his league-leading 25th home run of the season to make it 1-0. Nobody else has hit more than 18 home runs.

That was the only earned run McClanahan would give up, although a fielding error in the fifth inning and an intentional walk set up a three-run Kyle Higashioka blast to give the Yankees a 4-0 lead.

McClanahan finished with seven strikeouts in six complete innings, allowing three hits and two walks.

Cortes held the Rays scoreless through five innings, eventually getting pulled in the sixth after the visitors finally got their first run on the board via a Manuel Margot RBI double.

Choi Ji-man's RBI base hit in the eighth inning cut the margin to 4-2, and Rene Pinto followed suit as the very next batter to make it 4-3. Clay Holmes was able to hold his nerve in the ninth frame to secure the save and the win for the Yankees.

After their performances, McClanahan (1.84 ERA) and Cortes (1.94 ERA) are two of only seven starting pitchers this season to allow fewer than two runs per nine innings.

The win moves the Yankees' league-leading record to 46-16 – six games clear of the New York Mets in second (41-23).

Astros' immaculate showing

The Houston Astros pitched two immaculate innings in their 9-2 road win against the Texas Rangers to retain the fourth-best record in the majors at 39-24.

After the Astros piled on six runs in the opening frame, including two-run doubles from both Yordan Alvarez and Martin Maldonado, Houston starter Luis Garcia took control.

In the second inning, Garcia struck out all three batters, throwing just nine pitches, with all being strikes, for a rare immaculate inning.

Incredibly, the feat was repeated in the seventh frame by Astros reliever Phil Maton, who also collected his three strikeouts in nine pitches. It is the first time in MLB history that a team has thrown two immaculate innings in the same game.

Phillies win in last-gasp walk-off

Philadelphia Phillies catcher Garrett Stubbs was the hero in his side's 3-1 home victory against the Miami Marlins.

Kyle Gibson was terrific on the mound for the Phillies, giving up one run from seven hits and no walks, pitching eight full innings and striking out six – but his team trailed 1-0 going into the ninth frame.

After a lead-off strikeout, Alec Bohm singled, and J.T. Realmuto walked, but another strikeout meant Stubbs was the last chance to make something happen – and he duly responded.

From the fifth pitch of his at-bat, with two strikes, Stubbs connected on a hanging slider and sent it over the fence for a game-winning three-run homer. It is the Phillies' 11th win from their past 13 games.

St Louis Cardinals pitcher Miles Mikolas fell agonisingly short of a career-first no-hitter as his side won 9-1 over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday.

Mikolas came within one strike of the rare feat, achieved only 10 times in Cardinals' history, with two outs and two strikes against the Pirates in the ninth inning.

It was Cal Mitchell who denied Mikolas in his no-no bid with a center-field hit that eluded Harrison Bader by inches and bounced over the wall.

Mikolas tossed down a season-high 129 pitches throughout the game, with six strikeouts.

"It kinda stinks to not finish that out," Mikolas said after the game. "I don’t have one yet. I've got friends who have one, it would’ve been nice to join that conversation but I can't say enough about our defense. I kinda feel like I let them down."

Mikolas overshadowed Mike Goldschmidt who had a four-hit, two-homer and five-RBI display in the second game of the double-header.

Goldschmidt sits atop the National League (NL) rankings for batting average (.349) and on-base plus slugging (1.073). He is second in the NL for RBIs (56) and tied for second for home runs (16).

The Cardinals won both games, triumphing 3-1 in the earlier match-up, with Yadier Molina reaching 14,865 putouts which is the most by a catcher in MLB history.

 

Voit leads Padres' turnaround against Cubs

The Chicago Cubs' slide continued despite boasting a 5-0 lead heading into the sixth inning as Luke Voit turned things around for the San Diego Padres in a 12-5 win.

Willson Contreras enjoyed his 10th career multi-home run game to help the Cubs lead 5-0 before Voit's two-run blast narrowed the gap, followed by another two runs in the sixth for the Padres.

Voit emptied the bases in the seventh inning, finishing the game with five RBIs along with his two hits and two runs from six at-bats.

 

Astros launch with eighth-inning rearguard

The Texas Rangers blew their shot at a fourth consecutive win after poor fielding cost them in the eighth inning, losing 4-3 to the Houston Astros.

The Rangers were leading 3-0 in the eighth when third baseman Ezequiel Duran misplayed, allowing Jose Altuve to get home despite a mix-up between bases from Alex Bregman's hit.

Two batters later, with Michael Brantley having added a second run, Kyle Tucker hit a two-run blast to clinch a 4-3 victory for the Astros. Tucker extended his active hitting streak to 13 games.

The Houston Astros and Yordan Alvarez have agreed to a six-year, $115million extension that will keep the 2019 American League Rookie of the Year under team control through 2028, according to multiple reports.

MLB.com reports the deal will pay Alvarez $7m in 2023, $10m in 2024, $15m in 2025 and $26m per season over the final three years of the contract. It also contains a $5m signing bonus.

The contract, which ESPN reports to be the largest ever for a player primarily used as a designated hitter, encompasses all of Alvarez's arbitration-eligible seasons as well as his first three years of free agency.

It is also the fifth-largest extension in MLB history for a player yet to reach arbitration, behind Fernando Tatis Jr. (14 years, $340m), Wander Franco (11 years, $182m), Buster Posey (eight years, $159m) and Mike Trout (six years, $144.5m).

Alvarez earned the large payday by emerging among the game's premier power hitters since breaking into the majors in June 2019. The 24-year-old has produced a .287 average with 75 home runs, 217 RBIs and a .947 OPS over 278 career games.

The Cuba native enters Friday's play second in the AL with 14 homers, fifth in slugging percentage (.574), sixth in OPS (.941) and eighth in RBIs (31).

Alvarez set a major league rookie record by amassing a 1.067 OPS while batting .313 with 27 homers and 78 RBIs in just 87 games to be named the AL's top newcomer in 2019.

After knee surgeries limited him to only two games in the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign, he bounced back to record 33 homers and 104 RBIs in 2021 and was voted MVP of the AL Championship Series after leading Houston past the Boston Red Sox for a spot in last year's World Series.

Alvarez joins 2017 AL MVP Jose Altuve, third baseman Alex Bregman and starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. as core players the Astros have signed to large multi-year contracts in recent years.

Houston were unable to retain two other key contributors to their 2017 world championship run, as outfielder George Springer signed with Toronto following the 2020 season and shortstop Carlos Correa signed with Minnesota this past offseason.

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