The San Diego Padres delivered an unbelievable five-run seventh-inning rally to progress to the NLCS for the first time in 24 years and end the Los Angeles Dodgers' record-breaking season prematurely.

The Padres had lost Game 1 of the NLDS and trailed 3-0 halfway through the seventh inning in Game 4 against the Dodgers, who have dominated them for the past decade and had notched a franchise-best 111-51 regular season.

But San Diego found a way in front of the largest crowd in Petco Park history, booking their maiden NLCS appearance since 1998, where they will take on the Philadelphia Phillies, after they beat the Atlanta Braves 8-3 on Saturday.

Jake Cronenworth delivered a go-ahead two-run single as the Padres rallied with five hits and five runs in the seventh inning after managing only four hits in six innings prior to that.

Freddie Freeman lined a two-run double in the third inning before Will Smith's seventh-inning sacrifice fly for Mookie Betts had put the Dodgers 3-0 up, the latter marking the first run the Padres bullpen had conceded all series.

San Diego responded in a crazy inning, with Austin Nola bouncing to the right side to plate Jurickson Profar, before Kim Ha-seong's left-field line drive drove in Trent Grisham to make it 3-2.

Juan Soto tied the game up with a shot into right field, before Jake Cronenworth's go-ahead two-run double turned the crowd raucous.

Closer Josh Hader struck out Freeman to clinch the win and slay the dragon from down the road at long last.

The defeat ended the campaign for the Dodgers, whose 111 regular-season wins were the fourth-most wins in MLB history and the most by a National League (NL) team since 1906.

Yankees facing elimination after Gonzalez walkoff

Oscar Gonzalez stole the show and the win for the Cleveland Guardians with a two-run single with two outs in the ninth inning to earn a 6-5 win over the New York Yankees and a 2-1 ALDS lead.

Gonzalez hit the walk-off shot when he lined a 1-2 pitch from Clarke Schmidt through the middle to bring home Stevan Kwan and Amed Rosario.

That came after the Yankees had rallied from an early 2-0 deficit as Aaron Judge snapped his postseason skid with a two-run home run. New York had carried a 5-3 lead into the ninth inning.

The Yankees bullpen flopped, meaning they are facing an early exit when the ALDS resumes on Sunday at Yankee Stadium.

Astros advance after Pena ends epic

Jeremy Pena blasted an 18th-inning solo shot to advance the Houston Astros to the ALCS for the sixth straight season, ending an epic 1-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners and completing the sweep.

Luis Garcia closed out six hours and 22 minutes of prolonged postseason action, after Pena sent Penn Murfee into the seats over left-center field with a 415-foot blast.

Mariners starting pitcher George Kirby had been brilliant with five strikeouts across seven innings, but Astros right-hander Lance McCullers Jr overcame illness to send down seven K's across six innings, while Houston's bullpen only allowed five hits and struck out 15.

The game was only the fourth to last 18 innings in MLB postseason history, and the first in postseason history to go scoreless through 17 innings. 

Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker hailed his side for never panicking as they edged an 18-inning epic after Jeremy Pena's homer to sweep the ALCS with a 1-0 win over the Seattle Mariners.

The game was only the fourth 18-inning game in MLB postseason history, and the first in postseason history to go scoreless through 17 innings. It officially lasted six hours and 22 minutes.

The Astros made their own history with the series-sweeping victory, becoming the first team in the MLB to win a playoff series in six straight seasons. Houston also reached the ALCS for a record sixth consecutive time.

That would not have been possible if not for 25-year-old shortstop Pena's 18th-inning solo shot over deep left-center field off a Penn Murfee 3-2 fastball, before Luis Garcia closed it out earning praise from Baker.

"This is some team," Baker told reporters. "These guys they grind and grind and grind. And sooner or later we broke through.

"These guys, they know not to panic. They don't get too excited. They don't get too down. It means a lot."

The Astros have endured plenty over the past few years in light of the sign stealing scandal, before a period of success under Baker since taking over in January 2020.

Houston lost to the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALCS in 2020, before losing the World Series to the Atlanta Braves in 2021. Baker said their sustained success was all about "excellence".

"Once you've been through it and go through it again and again and again, you expect excellence," he said. "That's what this team expects out of itself."

"We didn’t know who the hero was going to be tonight. We were hoping we'd have somebody and we had somebody in Pena. This whole series it's been different guys. Our pitching staff and our bullpen did a heck of a job during this whole series."

The defeat ended a wild ride for the Mariners, who reached the postseason for the first time in 21 years, and were cheered by their fans at T-Mobile Park after the game despite the defeat.

"We were right there," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "You look at the whole series it really comes down to three swings of the bat.

"I thought our pitching was just off the chart, starting with George Kirby. To fire him out in a must-win game and get seven shutout innings from a rookie, you can't ask for anymore. Great experience.

"The number of young players that played huge roles for us in this series is going to benefit us immensely going forward."

Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker hailed his side for never panicking as they edged an 18-inning epic after Jeremy Pena's homer to sweep the ALCS with a 1-0 win over the Seattle Mariners.

The game was only the fourth 18-inning game in MLB postseason history, and the first in postseason history to go scoreless through 17 innings. It officially lasted six hours and 22 minutes.

The Astros made their own history with the series-sweeping victory, becoming the first team in the MLB to win a playoff series in six straight seasons. Houston also reached the ALCS for a record sixth consecutive time.

That would not have been possible if not for 25-year-old shortstop Pena's 18th-inning solo shot over deep left-center field off a Penn Murfee 3-2 fastball, before Luis Garcia closed it out earning praise from Baker.

"This is some team," Baker told reporters. "These guys they grind and grind and grind. And sooner or later we broke through.

"These guys, they know not to panic. They don't get too excited. They don't get too down. It means a lot."

The Astros have endured plenty over the past few years in light of the sign stealing scandal, before a period of success under Baker since taking over in January 2020.

Houston lost to the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALCS in 2020, before losing the World Series to the Atlanta Braves in 2021. Baker said their sustained success was all about "excellence".

"Once you've been through it and go through it again and again and again, you expect excellence," he said. "That's what this team expects out of itself."

"We didn’t know who the hero was going to be tonight. We were hoping we'd have somebody and we had somebody in Pena. This whole series it's been different guys. Our pitching staff and our bullpen did a heck of a job during this whole series."

The defeat ended a wild ride for the Mariners, who reached the postseason for the first time in 21 years, and were cheered by their fans at T-Mobile Park after the game despite the defeat.

"We were right there," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "You look at the whole series it really comes down to three swings of the bat.

"I thought our pitching was just off the chart, starting with George Kirby. To fire him out in a must-win game and get seven shutout innings from a rookie, you can't ask for anymore. Great experience.

"The number of young players that played huge roles for us in this series is going to benefit us immensely going forward."

Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker compared Yordan Alvarez to Barry Bonds following his latest game-winning heroics in their 4-2 win over the Seattle Mariners in Game 2 of the ALDS on Thursday.

Alvarez blasted a two-run go-ahead homer in the sixth inning at Minute Maid Park, coming after his walk-off blast in Tuesday's 8-7 rally to beat the Mariners.

The slugger's heroics have helped the Astros to a 2-0 lead in the ALDS, having gone four-for-eight with two homers and seven RBIs this series. Alvarez became the first player in postseason history with multiple career go-ahead homers in the sixth inning or later when his team was behind.

Baker, who coached Bonds for a decade at the San Francisco Giants, compared Alvarez to the seven-time National League MVP.

"You don’t go to the bathroom [when he is at bat]," Baker told reporters. "You wait. You hold it until after he hits. It was the same way with Barry Bonds. You don’t talk to anybody. You just pay attention. We've got the same anticipation."

The Mariners understandably opted to walk Alvarez in the eighth inning when trailing 3-2, but that allowed Jordan Pena to shuffle to second base. Alex Bregman proceeded to line to right-field, with Pena adding a fourth run on Mitch Haniger's arm.

"That was some Barry Bonds-type stuff there," Baker added. "I mean, that's the ultimate respect. I've seen that a bunch of times, but not in a long time since Barry Bonds.

"Bregman rises to the occasion, too. That's why I have Bregman hitting behind Yordan, because all you need in that situation is a base hit."

Mariners manager Scott Servais' decision to intentionally walk Alvarez came down to his form in this series.

"Obviously, he has done some damage against us in this series," Servais said. "He's hot right now. You've got to recognize that.

"I think you kind of game plan in how you want to go through their lineup and the guys you want to be careful with."

Thursday's loss marks the second time the Mariners, making their first postseason appearance in 21 years, have let a lead slip in the ALDS.

"You've got to finish it out, no question," Servais said. "It's difficult to do that on the road in the playoffs. You've got to make the pitches, you've got to make the plays. You've got to give the other team credit if they're able to come back."

The Astros have a 6-1 franchise series record when taking a 2-0 lead in the postseason, with their lone loss coming in 1981 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Houston will secure their sixth straight AL Championship Series berth with victory in Seattle in Game 3 on Saturday.

Yordan Alvarez was the hero again for the Houston Astros with a go-ahead two-run homer in a 4-2 win over the Seattle Mariners which opened up a 2-0 ALDS lead on Thursday.

Alvarez, who delivered a walk-off three-run homer in the Astros' 8-7 Game 1 victory, took center stage in the sixth inning with his side down 2-1 with a runner on, when he blasted Luis Castillo deep over left-field.

The Astros slugger, who hit 37 homers in the regular season, became the first player in major league postseason history to hit multiple career go-ahead homers in the sixth inning or later when his team was trailing.

The Mariners opted to walk Alvarez in the eighth inning, shuffling Jeremy Pena to second base, enabling Alex Bregman to pad the lead with an RBL single from reliever Andres Munoz. Pena beat right-fielder Mitch Haniger's arm to home plate on Bregman's shot.

Kyle Tucker had launched a second-inning roof-scraping solo homer to have the Astros up 1-0 early, but Mariners pitcher Luis Castillo gave up little, retiring after seven innings with seven strikeouts, allowing five hits and three runs.

After second baseman Jose Altuve's brilliance in the field with a leaping throw to close the third inning, Seattle claimed the lead with two runs in the fourth, with Carlos Santana driving in Eugenio Suarez who got home when pitcher Framber Valdez threw it away at home plate.

Dylan Moore's first-up line drive to right drove in Mitch Haniger to put the Mariners up 2-1, before Alvarez intervened with his two-run shot in the sixth.

The Astros issued seven walks but still won, with Ryan Pressly striking out Ty France for the save. Starting pitcher Valdez had six K's in five-and-two-third innings, allowing four hits.

The Mariners will host their first postseason game in 21 years when the series resumes on Saturday, although they will be facing elimination.

Yankees-Guardians postponed

MLB confirmed that Game 2 of the New York Yankees-Cleveland Guardians' ALDS would be postponed due to the forecast of sustained inclement weather.

The game will instead be played at Yankee Stadium on Friday, with the hosts looking to open up a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series. Game 3 remains scheduled for Saturday in Cleveland.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Phillies floor Cards to end Pujols' career

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

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

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

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

Vintage deGrom helps Mets stay alive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Braves complete turnaround to clinch NL East

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

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

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

AL seeds locked in as Verlander stars for Astros

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

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

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

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

Philadelphia Phillies slugger Kyle Schwarber hit his 41st and 42nd home runs of the season in his side's 9-8 loss against the Atlanta Braves on Sunday.

Schwarber connected on his first of the day as the Phillies' very first batter, and he did it again with his next at-bat in the third inning for a pair of solo shots. He is second in the league in home runs, trailing only Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees.

While the Phillies got two RBIs from their lead-off hitter, the Braves got three from theirs, with Dansby Swanson leading the way for Atlanta offensively.

Swanson finished three-for-six, including a massive 417-foot two-run home run in the fourth inning to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 lead.

After a pair of sacrifice-flies from Phillies Bryce Harper and Alec Bohm in the fifth inning, William Contreras tied things at 6-6 in the eighth inning when he came home to score on a wild pitch, sending the game to extra innings.

In extras, after a scoreless 10th inning, hits to rising stars Ronald Acuna Jr and Michael Harris II drove in a run each, and the Phillies were only able to claw one back.

Braves reliever Jackson Stephens was credited with the win after pitching both extra innings, striking out three batters and allowing one unearned run.

Trout goes deep in Angels win

Mike Trout's strong season continued in the Los Angeles Angels' 10-3 win against the Minnesota Twins, hitting his ninth home run of September.

Trout, who is now tied for the fourth-most home runs in the league with 37, finished three-for-four at the plate and scored three times, highlighted by a 416-foot bomb to left-field.

Fellow Angels star Shohei Ohtani also had a strong outing, collecting two hits and an RBI from five at-bats, while Jose Suarez took the win on the mound with two earned runs in five-and-two-thirds innings.

Javier pitches a gem for the Astros

Houston Astros starting pitcher Cristian Javier gave up only one hit in his six innings against the Baltimore Orioles to help his side to a 6-3 road victory.

Javier had a perfect game through four-and-a-third innings before allowing his sole hit of the contest, quickly following it with a double-play to end the inning. That hit was the only baserunner he allowed as he also finished with no walks, and he lowered his ERA for the season down to 2.65.

The Astros are the only team with three starting pitchers who all boast ERAs under 2.70, with American League Cy Young Award favourite Justin Verlander leading the league at 1.82, while the league-leader in quality starts, Framber Valdez, is at 2.69.

The Baltimore Orioles gave their fans a glimpse into an exciting future as starting pitcher Dean Kremer and rookie catcher Adley Rutschman delivered in a 6-0 win against the Houston Astros.

Houston entered the contest with a seven-game lead atop the American League standings, but they were no match for Kremer in what ended up being the first complete game shutout of his career.

Kremer, 26, is in the midst of a breakout season, with nine scoreless innings against the Astros bringing his ERA to 3.07 from 114 innings this year – a sharp improvement from his 7.55 ERA in 53 innings a season ago.

Overall, Kremer allowed four hits and two walks in the complete game, and he received some solid run support from another young star on his team.

Rutschman, 24, would be considered a strong chance for Rookie of the Year if Seattle Mariners phenom Julio Rodriguez had not already locked up the award, and the young catcher finished three-for-three at the plate on Friday.

He singled in his first at-bat, followed by a solo home run in the fourth inning, and a double in the seventh.

With the win, the Orioles are now three games behind the Mariners in the race for the last AL Wildcard spot.

The wrong Aaron homers for the Yankees

Aaron Judge remains one home run away from the American League and New York Yankees' single-season record, but his side emerged 5-4 victors against the Boston Red Sox with the help of his namesake.

It was Aaron Hicks doing the damage for the Yankees, hitting a solo home run in the third inning and an RBI single in the fifth to score the first two runs, before Gleyber Torres' two-run single doubled their advantage to 4-1.

A three-run homer to Boston's Alex Verdugo tied things at 4-4 in the sixth inning, but All-Star catcher Jose Trevino tacked on the winner for the Yankees with a single in the eighth inning.

Judge finished one-for-four with a single and two strikeouts.

Nola, Hoskins dominate the reigning champions

Aaron Nola and Rhys Hoskins were at the peak of their powers to help the Philadelphia Phillies to a dominant 9-1 home win against the reigning World Series champion Atlanta Braves.

Already leading 2-0 in the second inning, Hoskins stepped up to the plate and added two more runs with a double, and he chipped in another two with a homer in the fourth inning on his way to final figures of three-for-four with four RBIs.

On the mound, Nola was terrific, striking out eight batters in six scoreless innings, allowing four hits and three walks.

The New York Mets clinched their place in the MLB postseason for the first time since 2016 with Max Scherzer securing his 100th career win in a 7-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday.

The 38-year-old Mets right-hander, reinstated from the injured list, struck out nine across six innings where he threw 68 pitches. Scherzer was pulled after six innings with a perfect game intact, with the Mets opting not to risk injury to the three-time Cy Young Award winner on his return from an oblique issue.

The win means the Mets have booked a postseason berth, guaranteed at least a spot in the National League (NL) Wild Card Game, holding a 94-55 record.

Pete Alonso's three-run homer in the fourth inning headlined five runs against NL Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes.

The Mets will be making only their 10th postseason appearance in the franchise's 61-season history.

"This is what you play the game for," Scherzer said. "You play to get into the postseason. There's a lot of ways for it not to work out. For us to be able to find a way to get into the postseason, that's awesome. That's what we celebrate. That's what you play the game for.

"We have a lot of things in front of us. We understand that. But you got to celebrate the good times, too."

Astros clinch fifth AL West title in six years

The Houston Astros secured the American League West title for the first time in the past six seasons with a 4-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Jose Altuve's leadoff home run set the tone for the Astros, while Luis Garcia gave up two hits and four walks in five innings with four strikeouts as Houston claimed their 16th shutout.

The Astros also won for the eighth time in nine games ahead of their sixth straight postseason. Houston are assured of a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Kershaw dominates Diamondbacks

Clayton Kershaw tossed down 10 strikeouts as the Los Angeles Dodgers toppled the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-2.

The Dodgers, who have already clinched the NL West, saw Joey Gallo blast a second-inning homer, before Chris Taylor's three-run blast opened up a 5-0 lead.

But Kershaw grabbed the headlines, managing to strike out at least 10 batters with no walks in a game for the 27th time in his career.

Aaron Judge seems determined to end any discussion about who the American League MVP is, slugging his 58th and 59th home runs of the season in the New York Yankees' 12-8 road win against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Judge now has 20 home runs more than any other player this season, and he is two home runs away from both the Yankees' and American League's single-season record of 61 – set 61 years ago in 1961 by Roger Maris. With his 59th, he set a new Yankees and American League record for a right-hander.

It was a massive day for Judge, who finished four-for-five at the plate, also adding a two-run double in the ninth inning to give his side some breathing room.

In a game where the two teams combined for 28 hits, Anthony Rizzo and Oswaldo Cabrera both collected three each for the Yankees, while Tyrone Taylor and Kolten Wong had three each for the Brewers, including a home run each.

It was a mediocre start on the mound for Yankees ace Gerrit Cole, giving up four runs in five innings while striking out eight batters, but he was still credited with the win as the Yankees never surrendered their lead after he left the game.

The win moves the Yankees' record to 88-58, leaving them with a five-and-a-half game lead over the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL East, while they remain seven-and-a-half games behind the Houston Astros for the best record in the American League.

Soto shines in Padres win

Juan Soto has been in a slump for the past month, but he began to break out of it with three hits in the San Diego Padres' 6-1 away win against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Soto, 23, was acquired by the Padres in a blockbuster trade at the deadline that saw the Washington Nationals receive one of the biggest hauls in the history of the league, but he is yet to live up to his hefty price.

After just 10 hits in the past month (10-of-74, .135 batting average), Soto went three-for-four on Sunday with a walk, a single, a double and a home run. It was his first home run of September.

Meanwhile, on the mound, Yu Darvish was excellent for the Padres, striking out eight batters in six scoreless innings while allowing only one hit and one walk.

Alvarez stays red-hot for the Astros

Other than Judge, there is arguably not a hotter hitter in the league right now than Yordan Alvarez, who notched another four RBIs in the Houston Astros' 11-2 home win against the Oakland Athletics.

While Soto had only 10 hits in 30 days before Sunday, Alvarez is now on a 10-game hitting streak, and he has 13 hits from his past six games after a pair of doubles against the Athletics.

In any other year, Alvarez would be considered a real chance to win AL MVP, as he boasts the third-most home runs in the league (37), the second-best slugging percentage (.630) and the third-best on-base percentage (.407) – but he trails Judge in all three categories.

On the mound, Framber Valdez gave up two earned runs in six innings, giving him his league-leading 26th 'quality start' of the season. No other pitcher has more than 23.

Three home runs in the first inning ended up being not enough for the Houston Astros as they went down 8-5 at home against the Oakland Athletics on Saturday.

After Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez hit three home runs on Friday, he followed it up with another one less than 24 hours later, giving him six from his past six games.

But Alvarez was not one of the Astros to go deep in the first inning, with Aledmys Diaz, Kyle Tucker and Trey Mancini all taking turns hitting balls over the fence to jump out to a 4-1 lead before registering their third out.

From that point on, Athletics starting pitcher Cole Irvin tightened the screws, holding the Astros scoreless through the next six innings to allow his side a chance to fight back.

Oakland showed some power of their own in the middle frames, with Chad Pinder hitting a 348-foot wall-scraper to right field, before Seth Brown was much more convincing with his three-run, 432-foot launch in the fifth inning.

A double in the seventh inning gave Brown his fourth RBI, making it 7-5, with Alvarez's eighth-inning shot proving to be just a consolation.

It was Alvarez's 37th home run of the season, leaving him alone in third place league-wide, although he is still 20 home runs off leader Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees.

Woodruff dominates the Yankees

Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Brandon Woodruff put on a show at home against the New York Yankees, striking out 10 batters in eight innings on the way to a 4-1 win.

Woodruff allowed just one run – a solo home run to Josh Donaldson in the fourth inning – as only six Yankees reached base in the contest, with five hits and one walk.

With the bat, the majority of the damage was done by rising star Willy Adames, who became the second shortstop in the majors to hit 30 home runs this season with his three-run shot in the third inning. The other shortstop to hit 30 homers is Corey Seager, who was recently rewarded with a massive 10-year, $325million contract extension by the Texas Rangers.

Acuna carries the Braves

Ronald Acuna Jr drove in all four of the Atlanta Braves' runs in their 4-3 home win against the Philadelphia Phillies.

After two scoreless innings to begin the contest, Acuna broke the deadlock with a two-run, 427-foot bomb over the right-field wall, and then drove in another two runs with his next at-bat in the fourth inning when he doubled with two runners on base.

Both sides received solid starting pitching performances, with Philly opting to ride their ace Aaron Nola deep into the game, letting him pitch seven full innings, while the Braves pulled Jake Odorizzi after allowing just one run in four-and-two-thirds innings, although he threw only seven fewer pitches than Nola's 99.

Albert Pujols was the star of the show on Friday night as he moved one step closer to becoming the fourth player to ever hit 700 home runs, connecting on number 698 in the St Louis Cardinals' 6-5 win against the Cincinnati Reds.

An RBI ground ball from Jonathan India, a two-run double from Jake Fraley and an RBI single from Aristides Aquino gave the Reds a 4-1 lead heading into the sixth inning, where sparks would fly.

The stars delivered for the Cardinals to rally back from the deficit, with NL MVP favourite Paul Goldschmidt leading off the inning with a double, before fellow NL MVP candidate Nolan Arenado drove him home with a single, bringing Pujols to the plate.

On the very first pitch, Pujols crushed a no-doubt home run sailing well over the left-field wall to tie things up, with his 427-foot shot travelling further than any ball he hit at this year's Home Run Derby, and leaving him with two required to reach 700. Only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) have hit more.

Kyle Farmer put the Reds back ahead with his own solo home run in the seventh inning, but later in that inning Goldschmidt and Arenado would combine again, with back-to-back doubles scoring a pair of runs to take a 6-5 lead.

Cardinals closer Ryan Helsley came in to finish the job, and he did it in style, striking out all three batters from only nine pitches for a rare immaculate inning. It was only the third immaculate inning in Cardinals history.

Alvarez hits 1329 feet worth of home runs

Yordan Alvarez was in rare form for the Houston Astros in their 5-0 shut-out win against the Oakland Athletics, hitting home runs in each of his first three at-bats to deliver a win in Justin Verlander's return from injury.

The AL Cy Young Award favourite made his way back from the 15-day injured list to throw five hitless innings, striking out nine batters and only allowing one walk.

Helping him out with the bat, Alvarez hit a 434-foot home run in the first inning, followed by a 431-foot shot in the third inning, and from the first pitch of his third at-bat he did it again, blasting the longest ball of the night with a 464-foot nuke to center-field.

With his three homers, Alvarez is now tied for the third most in the majors with 36, although he remains 21 behind league-leader Aaron Judge (57).

Yankees blow a five-run lead

The New York Yankees led 5-0 in the second inning against the Milwaukee Brewers before going down 7-6 on a walk-off hit from Garrett Mitchell.

After the Yankees jumped out to their big early lead, Willy Adames pegged back four of the runs by himself, with a three-run homer in the second inning and an RBI double in the fourth.

A fielding error in the eighth inning allowed the Brewers to take a 6-5 lead, before Josh Donaldson collected his third RBI of the game with a solo home run to tie things in the last frame.

But Yankees closer Clay Holmes could not force extra innings, giving up two hits and two walks, capped off by Mitchell's game-winning single.

Three-time American League (AL) MVP Mike Trout moved one away from the major league record after homering in his seventh-straight game as the Los Angeles Angels lost 5-4 to the Cleveland Guardians.

The 10-time All-Star drove high to center-field at the top of the fifth inning for a game-tying two-run blast and his 35th home run of the season. Trout crushed a fastball for the third straight game, this time from Konnor Pilkington for a 422-foot drive.

The Angels center fielder is within one blast of the eight-game record, held jointly by Dale Long (1956), Don Mattingly (1987) and Ken Griffey Jr (1993). Trout will get the chance to match the mark on Tuesday against the Guardians.

"That's good company to be in," Trout said. "I'm just putting a good swing on the ball and they're going out."

The win was important for the AL Central-leading Guardians, as Amed Rosario doubled home Steven Kwan in the seventh inning for the go-ahead run.

The Guardians are 74-65, three games ahead of the Chicago White Sox (72-69) who did not play on Monday.

Valdez equals deGrom quality-start record

Left-hander Framber Valdez tied the record with a 24th consecutive quality start as the Houston Astros won 7-0 over the Detroit Tigers.

Valdez's shutout tied New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom (2018) for the all-time single-season streak record since 1913, tossing down 107 pitches with eight strikeouts allowing six hits and one walk.

The Astros pitcher's shutout was almost broken when Willi Castro was called safe at the plate from Yordan Alvarez's throw but that was overturned on replay.

Dodgers secure postseason berth for real

The Los Angeles Dodgers officially clinched their postseason berth with a 6-0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks after the MLB prematurely declared that on Sunday.

The MLB confirmed that an internal error in determining the Dodgers' postseason scenario meant that Dave Roberts' side actually needed one more win to lock in their 10th straight playoffs berth.

Mookie Betts blasted a ninth-inning three-run home run, marking a career-high 34 homers this season for him.

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