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 officially secure postseason berth

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.

Two-time All-Star Justin Turner hit a pair of home runs to help his Los Angeles Dodgers defeat the San Diego Padres 11-2 on Sunday, giving them three consecutive series wins against their California rivals.

It was a bright start for the Padres, who led 2-0 through four innings of action as Joe Musgrove was pitching well and Jake Cronenworth hit a home run – before it all unravelled.

Turner got the first run on the board for the Dodgers with a solo home run in the fifth inning, before Chris Taylor followed suit two batters later to tie the game at 2-2.

A two-RBI, bases loaded single in the next frame from Max Muncy was the end of Musgrove, who finished with four earned runs from six hits and a walk.

But it was just the beginning for the Dodgers, who added six more runs in the seventh inning, capped off with a grand slam from Turner for his second homer of the game and 13th of the season.

Dodgers starter Andrew Heaney gave another good showing as he finished with two earned runs in five innings, striking out six.

After going four-for-five at the plate on Saturday and two-for-three on Sunday, Freddie Freeman now leads the majors in batting average at .331, and he has hit four more doubles (45) than any other player.

The Dodgers are 7-2 in their nine games against the Padres since the All-Star break, opening up a 20-game lead in the NL West.

Ohtani homers again in Angels loss

Shohei Ohtani is now tied for the fifth-most home runs in the league, with his 34th of the campaign coming in a 12-4 loss against the Houston Astros.

Ohtani – who is also seventh in the league for strikeouts as a pitcher (188 in 24 starts) – connected on his big two-run blast as the second batter of the game, but after teammate Andrew Velazquez put the Angels up 3-0 in the second inning, it would be all downhill from there.

The Astros rattled off the next 12 runs in a row, with home runs to Mauricio Dubon, Alex Bregman, Trey Mancini, Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker, extending their lead atop the American League to five-and-a-half games.

Pujols moves into fourth place on all-time home run list

Albert Pujols inched closer to the magical 700 home run mark on Sunday as he launched number 697 to help his St Louis Cardinals come from behind in the last inning to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3.

Trailing 2-0 in the last inning, a Corey Dickerson RBI double cut the margin to one, before Pujols drilled a high fastball 403 feet over the center-field wall.

Retiring at the end of the season, the 42-year-old seemed incredibly unlikely to reach 700 at the All-Star break, but he has since posted one of the best second halves to a season of his career, hitting 11 home runs in 99 at-bats while slashing .343/.400/.737.

Albert Pujols blasted his 696th career home run to move into equal fourth on the all-time homers list as the St Louis Cardinals defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-5 on Saturday.

Pujols levelled the game at the top of the sixth inning with his two-run blast, which moved him closer to the 700-homer mark, but also tied him up with Alex Rodriguez in fourth all-time behind only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).

The 42-year-old is in his final season in the majors, but was less concerned about records and more focused on the win.

"I don't care who I tied," Pujols said. "At the end of the day, it's about tying [the game] for the team and giving them an opportunity to pick up a win... It's pretty special. I think I'm aware of where I am in the history of the game. But at the end of the day, 21 years ago when I make the ballclub, that wasn't something that I was chasing."

Pujols also had a double and a single to round out a strong game, with Nolan Arenado breaking the tie with a three-run double with two outs in the ninth inning.

The National League (NL) Central-leading Cardinals improve their record to 82-58, to remain eight games clear of the Milwaukee Brewers who won 5-1 over the Cincinnati Reds.

Trout makes Angels franchise history

Mike Trout set a franchise record after homering in a sixth consecutive game as the Los Angeles Angels won 6-1 over the Houston Astros.

Trout passed Bonds' mark with a three-run homer at the top of the second inning, bringing up his 34th blast of the season.

Shohei Ohtani was hot on the mound for the Angels, with seven strikeouts, yielding one run on six hits across five innings before exiting early due to a "blister on his right index finger".

Ohtani's 101.4 mph fastball to strike out Kyle Tucker was the fastest strikeout pitch by an Angels pitcher since 2008.

Harper breaks home run drought

Bryce Harper snapped a career-worst run of 102 plate appearances without a home run in the Philadelphia Phillies 8-5 victory over the Washington Nationals.

Harper, who had not homered since June 5, slugged an opposite-field game-tying two-run home run in the third inning.

Kyle Schwarber blasted his 37th homer of the year, topping the NL charts, and bringing up his first since August 29.

Albert Pujols blasted his 696th career home run to move into equal fourth on the all-time homers list as the St Louis Cardinals defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-5 on Saturday.

Pujols levelled the game at the top of the sixth inning with his two-run blast, which moved him closer to the 700-homer mark, but also tied him up with Alex Rodriguez in fourth all-time behind only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).

The 42-year-old is in his final season in the majors, but was less concerned about records and more focused on the win.

"I don't care who I tied," Pujols said. "At the end of the day, it's about tying [the game] for the team and giving them an opportunity to pick up a win... It's pretty special. I think I'm aware of where I am in the history of the game. But at the end of the day, 21 years ago when I make the ballclub, that wasn't something that I was chasing."

Pujols also had a double and a single to round out a strong game, with Nolan Arenado breaking the tie with a three-run double with two outs in the ninth inning.

The National League (NL) Central-leading Cardinals improve their record to 82-58, to remain eight games clear of the Milwaukee Brewers who won 5-1 over the Cincinnati Reds.

Trout makes Angels franchise history

Mike Trout set a franchise record after homering in a sixth consecutive game as the Los Angeles Angels won 6-1 over the Houston Astros.

Trout passed Bonds' mark with a three-run homer at the top of the second inning, bringing up his 34th blast of the season.

Shohei Ohtani was hot on the mound for the Angels, with seven strikeouts, yielding one run on six hits across five innings before exiting early due to a "blister on his right index finger".

Ohtani's 101.4 mph fastball to strike out Kyle Tucker was the fastest strikeout pitch by an Angels pitcher since 2008.

Harper breaks home run drought

Bryce Harper snapped a career-worst run of 102 plate appearances without a home run in the Philadelphia Phillies 8-5 victory over the Washington Nationals.

Harper, who had not homered since June 5, slugged an opposite-field game-tying two-run home run in the third inning.

Kyle Schwarber blasted his 37th homer of the year, topping the NL charts, and bringing up his first since August 29.

Shohei Ohtani continues to put forward his case for back-to-back American League (AL) MVP awards as the All-Star pitcher blasted two home runs in the Los Angeles Angels' 10-0 home win against the Detroit Tigers on Monday.

Ohtani, who was also named an All-Star as a batter, hit a double in the first inning, and then connected on a 382-foot, two-run homer with his next at-bat in the third frame.

He was robbed of another hit when his 100mph line drive was caught by the Tigers first-baseman, but there was nothing they could do about his massive 416-foot launch in the seventh inning for his second home run of the game.

Also getting in on the fun was three-time AL MVP Mike Trout, who had a single, a double and a home run as the Angels' two superstars combined to go six-for-nine at the plate with three home runs and two doubles.

Ohtani is now tied for sixth in the majors with 32 home runs this season, while Trout is tied for 10th with 30 home runs. Trout has played 16 games fewer than any other player with 30 homers, and Ohtani is also eighth in the majors for strikeouts as a pitcher (181 in 23 starts).

On the mound, Jose Suarez was spectacular for the Angels, pitching seven scoreless innings while only giving up three hits and one walk, striking out seven.

Judge homers for third consecutive day

Ohtani's biggest challenger for the AL MVP, and the heavy favourite, Aaron Judge hit a home run for the third day in a row to help his New York Yankees defeat the Minnesota Twins 5-2 at home.

Judge's hot streak has now seen him hit five home runs from his past seven games, taking his league-leading tally to 54 – 18 more than any other player. He is now seven home runs away from the Yankees' all-time record of 61 in a season, set 61 years ago, in 1961, by Roger Maris.

His big hit on Monday came at the perfect time, with his two-run homer in the sixth inning breaking a 2-2 tie to put the Yankees up 4-2, allowing Wandy Peralta and Clay Holmes to close the door with sharp pitching out of the bullpen.

Debutant pitchers make history

Two pitchers in their very first career start tossed at least six scoreless innings in shutout wins, with Ryne Nelson carrying the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 5-0 win and Hunter Brown delivering for the Houston Astros in a 1-0 result.

Nelson pitched seven innings, striking out seven batters while allowing four hits and one walk. Brown pitched six innings, giving up three hits and one walk while striking out five.

It is the first time in MLB history that two debutant starting pitchers delivered a scoreless outing with at least five strikeouts on the same day.

Aaron Judge stole the show in the New York Yankees' 7-4 win against the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday, blasting yet another home run as he pushes for Roger Maris' 61-year-old record.

Maris hit 61 home runs in the 1961 season, setting a new record for a Yankees player, and with 32 games remaining, Judge is now up to 51. It is the second straight day he has hit a home run, and he has five in his past eight games.

His long-ball proved to be the difference between the two teams, with his three-run shot in the fourth inning extending his side's lead from 4-2 to 7-2.

It was the third Yankees home run of the night after Andrew Benintendi connected as the second batter of the game, giving him his second home run since being traded to New York at the deadline.

Anthony Rizzo followed suit in the second inning with his own solo homer to make it 2-0, before Los Angeles' Max Stassi tied things up later in the frame with a two-run home run.

Judge now has 15 more home runs than second-placed Kyle Schwarber from the Philadelphia Phillies as he makes his case as the AL MVP, while his biggest competitor for the award – the Angels' Shohei Ohtani – finished two-for-four at the plate with a double. 

The Yankees are seven games clear of the Toronto Blue Jays for the AL East lead.

Valdez dishes up another quality start

Houston Astros pitcher Framber Valdez produced a terrific start on the mound to help his side to a 4-2 road win against the Texas Rangers, collecting his league-leading 23rd quality start of the season.

From Valdez's 25 starts this season, 23 have been considered quality starts, meaning at least six innings pitched with no more than three earned runs, and he did it in style.

Valdez ended up pitching eight full innings, striking out eight batters while only allowing two runs, while future Hall-of-Fame teammate Jose Altuve provided run support with his 22nd home run of the campaign.

No other starting pitcher has more than 19 quality starts, with five players on that number – including Valdez's Astros teammate Justin Verlander.

Vladdy stars for the Blue Jays

Toronto Blue Jays star Vladimir Guerrero Jr went three-for-four at the plate with a home run in his side's 5-3 home win against the Chicago Cubs.

Guerrero batted in the Blue Jays' first run with an RBI single in the fifth inning, and after a three-run homer to Teoscar Hernandez in the sixth, Guerrero added a final insurance score with a solo blast in the seventh frame.

On the mound, Kevin Gausman was strong for Toronto, striking out nine batters in his six innings while giving up two runs.

Houston Astros All-Star pitcher Justin Verlander will undergo an MRI Monday after exiting Sunday’s start against the Baltimore Orioles after three innings due to right calf discomfort.

Verlander, the MLB leader in earned run average (1.84), was replaced by Seth Martinez to start the bottom of the fourth inning with the game still scoreless. The 2011 American League MVP struck out six while holding the Orioles to three hits before departing after 60 pitches.

The 39-year-old missed the entire 2021 campaign recovering from Tommy John surgery, but has been healthy throughout this season, having thrown 152 innings while posting a stellar 16-3 record in 24 starts.

"We were glad it wasn’t anything to do with his elbow or arm or anything like that," Astros manager Dusty Baker said following his team’s 3-1 victory. "We’ll just have to wait until he has the imaging [Monday]."

Verlander has anchored a Houston starting rotation that leads the majors in innings pitched and entered the day with a combined 3.09 ERA, which trails only the NL-leading Los Angeles Dodgers for the best in baseball.

The nine-time All-Star is a leading candidate to claim a third career AL Cy Young Award, as his 16 wins are tied for the MLB lead and he’s limited opposing hitters to a .512 OPS while recording 154 strikeouts.

If Verlander is to miss extended time, the AL-leading Astros could return to a five-man rotation after often using six starters following Lance McCullers’ return from a forearm injury earlier this month.

In addition to McCullers, Houston still has 2022 All-Star Framber Valdez, Luis Garcia, Jose Urquidy and Cristian Javier as healthy available starting options.

Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander added to his already convincing case for the American League Cy Young Award as he pitched six innings without allowing a hit in his side's 4-2 win against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday.

Verlander, 39, is almost guaranteed to finish top-five in voting for best pitcher in the league for the ninth time in his career, and he showed why against the Twins as he struck out 10 while also allowing no walks.

He was pulled after six innings and 91 pitches with a no-hitter intact, before former Astros player Carlos Correa broke it up as he collected a hit from the very first pitch thrown by reliever Ryne Stanek.

Despite some late struggles by Astros bullpen arm Hector Neris, allowing a pair of runs in the ninth inning, the early offense highlighted by Alex Bregman's two-run home run was enough to get the job done.

Mauricio Dubon and Trey Mancini drove in a run each for the Astros, while rookie Jeremy Pena collected a couple of hits and Bregman went three-for-four.

With this performance, Verlander now leads the majors in wins (16-3), ERA (1.87) and walks-plus-hits-per-inning, or WHIP (0.85).

The win moves the Astros to 79-45, giving them a three-game buffer over the Yankees for the best record in the AL.

Yankees break streak of six consecutive series losses

The New York Yankees have finally rediscovered some form after a miserable month, winning their two-game series against local rivals the New York Mets as Frankie Montas pitched his best game in pinstripes in the 4-2 victory.

Montas, who arrived in a trade from the Oakland Athletics at the deadline, pitched five-and-two-thirds innings while giving up two runs from six hits and a walk after struggling in his first few starts in a Yankees uniform.

After four scoreless innings to open the game, Aaron Judge put the first run on the board with his league-leading 48th home run of the season, launching a 453-foot bomb. He now has 14 more home runs than second-placed Kyle Schwarber (34) from the Philadelphia Phillies.

Phillies win on a walk-off

The Philadelphia Phillies blew their lead in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds, but it only set up a thrilling 7-6 walk-off win for the home fans.

Leading 5-4 heading into the final frame, closing pitcher Brad Hand was not able to finish off the job, as a fielding error and an infield single allowed two runners on base, who were both driven in by a pinch-hit RBI triple to T.J. Friedl.

In response, a lead-off walk to Jean Segura led to the tying run as Bryson Stott's RBI double made it 6-6, before pinch-hitter Nick Maton was the hero with a walk-off base hit.

The red-hot Atlanta Braves have now won 10 of their past 11 games after defeating the Houston Astros 6-2 on Friday, with their top-three batters combining for seven hits.

After two scoreless innings to begin the game, the Braves' big-three delivered, with singles to Ronald Acuna Jr and Dansby Swanson followed by a three-run home run to National League MVP candidate Austin Riley.

It was Riley's 31st dinger of the season, which ties him for third in the majors, and his 267 total bases trails only New York Yankees superstar Aaron Judge (285).

The Astros fought back in the fifth inning as Kyle Tucker launched a 445-foot solo moon shot, and Jose Altuve delivered an RBI single later in the same frame to cut the margin to 3-2.

But an inning later the Braves re-established their dominance, as Swanson came through with a two-run double, and Matt Olson's sacrifice fly made it 6-2.

The Atlanta bullpen was flawless after coming in to relieve Kyle Wright, who was credited with his 15th win of the season for giving up two runs in six complete innings, striking out seven.

In relief, Collin McHugh and Kenley Jansen combined to allow just one hit and no walks from the final three innings, striking out five of the 10 batters they faced.

The Braves own the third-best record in the National League at 74-47, five-and-a-half games back from the New York Mets (77-43) and nine games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers (81-36).

Yankees cold streak continues

The New York Yankees have not won a series since July, and they will not win their current slate against the Toronto Blue Jays after dropping the first two of the four-game series, getting shut out 4-0 on Friday.

Blue Jays ace Kevin Gausman was at the top of his game, making it through seven complete innings while only allowing four hits and one walk, striking out seven.

The most significant swing of the bat came from Teoscar Hernandez, who sent Jameson Taillon's pitch 421 feet over the center-field wall in the fourth inning, while Vladimir Guerrero Jr became the youngest in Blue Jays history to reach 500 hits.

McKenzie strikes out 14 in Guardians win

The Cleveland Guardians may be unearthing their ace of the future as 25-year-old starter Triston McKenzie struck out 14 batters in his side's 5-2 win against the Chicago White Sox.

McKenzie, standing at six-foot-five, has the seventh-best WHIP (walks and hits per inning) in the majors, and has now struck out at least six batters in four of his past six starts, including an eight-inning, 12-strikeout, shut-out performance against the Detroit Tigers last month.

With the bat, Cleveland's most valuable player Jose Ramirez hit his 23rd home run of the season, and rookie Steven Kwan collected an RBI triple to raise his batting average to over .300 for the season. 

Albert Pujols produced a career-first as he blasted his 690th home run with a pinch-hit grand slam in the St Louis Cardinals' 13-0 win over the Colorado Rockies on Thursday.

The 42-year-old slugger, who will retire at the end of this season, came off the bench to deliver the slam at the bottom of the third inning to extend the Cards lead to 10-0.

The 374-foot blast was Pujols' 11th home run of the season and his 16th career grand slam, tying him with Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Dave Kingman at 10th overall, but it was his first ever as a pinch-hitter.

Pujols drove in five for the game, with two hits from three at-bats, as the Cards flexed their muscle with their fourth win in a row and 12th from their past 13 games.

The victory improved the Cards' record to 66-51, to lead the Milwaukee Brewers (63-54) by three games in the National League Central division.

Right-hander Adam Wainwright helped shut out the Rockies on the mound with seven strikeouts across seven innings, allowing only three hits.

Bregman career-high in Astros barrage

Alex Bregman led the way as the Houston Astros made an emphatic statement with a 21-5 barrage over the Chicago White Sox.

Bregman had a 12-total base day, going four-for-six at-bats with two home runs and two doubles, with a career-high six RBIs.

Houston scored in seven of the nine innings and tied a franchise record with 25 hits, while the 21 runs was joint second-most in Astros history.

Springer and Vlad lead Jays past Yankees

George Springer and Vladimir Guerrero Jr starred to lead the Toronto Blue Jays to a 9-2 win over the slumping New York Yankees in a key victory for their American League Wild Card hopes.

Springer went five-for-five with two runs and one RBI, while Guerrero blasted a three-run homer in a five-run second inning as the Jays improved to 63-54.

Jose Berrios impressed on the mound with nine strikeouts across six-and-two-third innings, allowing two runs as the Yankees lost for the 13th time in their past 17 games.

In one of the most anticipated pitching duels of the season, the top-two American League Cy Young Award favourites went head-to-head as Dylan Cease's Chicago White Sox beat Justin Verlander's Houston Astros 4-3 on Tuesday.

The White Sox struck first in the second inning as they were able to rattle off four hits, with Josh Harrison's infield single driving in the first run of the game.

Houston were quick in their response, jumping ahead 2-1 an inning later after back-to-back doubles from Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker, and after a couple of scoreless innings, Astros star Jose Altuve made it 3-1 with the game's only home run to lead off the fifth frame.

Cease departed after the fifth inning, finishing with three earned runs from six hits and three walks, striking out four in what was not his best showing.

Verlander was the sharper of the two stars early, conceding just one run through six complete innings, but the Astros were punished for sending him back out for the seventh as he gave up a two-run double to pinch-hitter Gavin Sheets, tying the game at 3-3.

In the eighth frame, after a walk to Eloy Jimenez and a single to Jose Abreu, Yoan Moncada came through with an RBI base hit to grab the decisive lead, with Australian closer Liam Hendriks shutting the door for his 27th save of the season.

Out of the entire league, Verlander owns the second-best ERA at 1.95, while Cease is third at 2.09. Both trail Miami Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara (1.92).

Brewers beat the Dodgers in walk-off fashion

There were fireworks in the Milwaukee Brewers' 5-4 extra-innings win against the Los Angeles Dodgers, with all six runs scored in regulation coming via home runs before a walk-off hit from Victor Caratini.

Brewers Willy Adames and Christian Yelich went deep, while Joey Gallo, Mookie Betts and Chris Taylor all hit solo shots for the Dodgers to have things tied at 3-3 after nine innings.

After a scoreless 10th frame, Justin Turner was able to drive in a run to give the Dodgers a 4-3 lead, but closing pitcher Craig Kimbrel was not able to finish things off on the mound, giving up a hit and a walk to load the bases, setting up Caratini for the game-winning knock.

Ray strikes out 10 in Mariners win

Reigning AL MVP Shohei Ohtani and heavy favourite for AL Rookie of the Year Julio Rodriguez combined for six hits as the Seattle Mariners ran away late to beat the Los Angeles Angels 8-2.

Mariners starting pitcher and reigning Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray looked back to his best after an inconsistent start to the season, striking out 10 batters while giving up two runs in six innings.

Rodriguez, who made waves as he approached record-breaking numbers in last month's Home Run Derby, finished three-for-five at the plate with a home run, while Ohtani was three-for-four, including a triple, after striking out eight batters on the mound yesterday.

Aaron Judge homered for the 46th time this season to bring up his 100th RBI, but the New York Yankees lost again, beaten 3-2 by the Boston Red Sox in extras on Friday.

Judge cleared the green monster at the top of the third inning with a 429-foot blast to put the Yankees up 2-0.

The home run was 46th for the season, meaning he is equal with Babe Ruth (1921) for homers in the first 113 team games in MLB history. Barry Bonds is the only player to better both, with 48 in 2001.

J.D. Martinez brought in Alex Verdugo to make it 2-1 in the fourth inning, before Martinez sent the game to extras with a ninth-inning RBI with Xander Bogaerts scoring.

In extras, Tommy Pham was the hero for the Red Sox at the bottom of the 10th inning with a shot down the third-base line allowing Christian Arroyo to score.

The result means the Yankees' recent woes continue, sitting 71-42 at the top of the American League (AL) East, with the Red Sox last in that division with a 56-58 record.

 

Soto returns to D.C. to rousing reception

Juan Soto returned to the capital for the first time since his trade from the Washington Nationals to the San Diego Padres earlier this month, receiving a heroes' welcome.

Soto registered his first hit against his former team in the fifth inning, before the Padres piled on seven runs in the frame to open up an 8-0 lead.

Jefferson Profar and Soto scored from Manny Machado's two-run RBI. Soto, who went 2-6, drove in an RBI in the fifth as the Padres ran away 10-5 winners.

 

Mets' winning run halted by walk-off Phillies

The presence of Max Scherzer was not enough to prevent the Philadelphia Phillies from snapping the New York Mets' six-game win streak in a 2-1 walk-off defeat.

Scherzer pitched across seven innings with six strikeouts and nine hits, his second most this season. The Mets right-hander did not walk anyone and only allowed one earned run.

The game went to extras, before Bryson Stott got home from Alec Bohm's sacrifice fly to right fielder Starling Marte, who thundered in a throw but catcher Tomas Nido could not complete the out on the hop.

The American League-leading Houston Astros announced on Friday that outfielder Michael Brantley has undergone season-ending surgery on his right shoulder.  

Brantley originally went on the injury list with shoulder discomfort on June 27, but general manager James Crick announced that the five-time All-Star underwent an arthroscopic labral repair.  

The 35-year-old outfielder hit .288 with five home runs and 26 RBI in 64 games this season.  

Brantley’s absence has opened up extra playing time for 27-year-old Chas McCormick, who has started 68 games in the outfield this season and hit .269 in July with an .865 OPS.  

Brantley began his career with a 10-year stint in Cleveland but has played for Houston since 2019. In 379 games with the Astros, Brantley is batting .306 with an .832 OPS.  

The 72-41 Astros hold a commanding 11-game lead over the Seattle Mariners in the American League West and recently surpassed the slumping New York Yankees for the top record in the AL.  

Framber Valdez threw seven shutout innings as the Houston Astros moved a half-game ahead of the New York Yankees in the race for top seed in the American League (AL) with a 7-3 win over the Texas Rangers.

Martin Maldonado and Alex Bregman both homered for the Astros as manager Dusty Baker returned to the dugout after missing five games due to COVID-19.

Valdez had eight strikeouts across seven innings, allowing only four singles and a walk, earning his third win.

The result improved the Astros to 72-41, sitting ahead of the slumping Yankees who did not play on Thursday and possess a 71-41 record.

"It was outstanding to be back, especially when you come back with the win and come back with Framber throwing the game that he threw," Baker said.

"He pitched an outstanding game. He's very serious about his work and was very composed."

Surging Orioles slip in Wild Card race

The in-form Baltimore Orioles missed a chance to surge into the AL Wild Card spots after going down 4-3 to the Boston Red Sox.

The O's were off to a 7-1 start in August and looked to preserve that with a three-run sixth-inning to square up the game, before Eric Hosmer's decisive go-ahead RBI double.

With the win, the Red Sox snap a four-game losing streak, while it leaves the O's at 58-53, behind the Tampa Bay Rays (58-52) for the third AL Wild Card spot.

Goldschmidt and Arenado fire but Cards beaten

The battle for top spot in the National League (NL) Central division rages on after the St Louis Cardinals were toppled 8-6 by the Colorado Rockies.

The Rockies piled on six runs in the seventh inning, headlined by back-to-back home runs from Brendan Rodgers and Ryan McMahon, while Paul Goldschmidt had three hits including his 27th home run of the season.

Nolan Arenado also homered for the Cards, who hold a 61-50 record, marginally ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers at 60-50 in the NL Central. The Cards have won eight of their past 10.

The Houston Astros received a big boost from new recruit Trey Mancini as he blasted a pair of home runs, punctuated by a grand slam, in his side's 9-3 away win against the Cleveland Guardians on Friday.

Mancini, who was acquired from the Baltimore Orioles this past week, has now hit a home run in each of his two starts for his new club. In doing so, he became the first player in the modern era to hit a home run in his first two starts for his first two teams, after also accomplishing the feat back when he began with the O's.

He struck first in the second inning, tying the game at 1-1 after Amed Rosario hit his own home run to begin the game for the Guardians, and Mancini's second home run of the game came with bases loaded in the third frame for the first grand slam of his career.

Arguably the best hitter in baseball this season Yordan Alvarez went two-for-five and notched his 73rd RBI for the season – the seventh most in the league – and his future Hall-of-Fame teammate Jose Altuve tallied one RBI from his three hits.

On the mound, Framber Valdez secured his 18th consecutive 'quality start' – defined by a pitcher going at least six innings while conceding three or fewer runs – finishing with three earned runs from seven hits and three walks in his six-and-a-third innings.

He now leads the league with 19 quality starts, and his streak of 18 consecutive is the longest since Jacob deGrom rattled off 26 in a row beginning in May 2018.

The win moves the Astros' record to 70-38 – one game behind the New York Yankees for the best record in the American League.

Yankees, Holmes blow late lead 

The New York Yankees led nearly the entire game before eventually falling 4-3 to the St Louis Cardinals, courtesy of a blown save from All-Star reliever Clay Holmes.

Josh Donaldson drove in a pair of runs for the Yankees, while AL MVP favourite Aaron Judge collected two hits and came home to score twice, giving their side a 3-2 lead heading into the eighth inning.

Determined to take no risks, the Yankees brought in Holmes an inning early to try and get to the ninth inning with their lead still in tact, but it was not to be as Holmes conceded a walk and two hits, the second being a two-run double from Paul deJong to steal the lead.

Cardinals closer Ryan Helsley made no such mistakes, closing the door and collecting the save.

Gibson produces near-perfect start for the Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Kyle Gibson had a perfect game through six innings in his side's 7-2 win against the Washington Nationals.

Gibson retired the first 18 batters he faced, striking out three as he relied on strong fielding behind him to accumulate quick outs. His bid for a perfect game was eventually broken up by a hit-by-pitch to begin the seventh frame, and a single from the next batter ended the no-hitter.

He finished with one earned run from two hits and one walk in eight complete innings, while Kyle Schwarber hit his 34th home run of the season to help on the offensive side of the ball. Only Judge has more home runs this season than Schwarber.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.