The Los Angeles Dodgers became the first National League (NL) side in 113 years to reach 110 wins in a single season after rallying for a 6-4 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday.

The last NL side to achieve that fear were the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1909. The Dodgers better their record still, with four regular-season games remaining.

The Dodgers also became just the seventh side in MLB history to record 110 wins in a single season, joining the 2001 Mariners (116), 1906 Cubs (116), 1998 Yankees (114), 1954 Cleveland (111), 1927 Yankees (110) and 1909 Pirates (110).

It was not easy this time, trailing 4-1 entering the seventh inning before a patient batting performance where they drew five straight walks, before Cody Bellinger's sacrifice fly tied the game.

Joey Gallo's sac fly put the Dodgers ahead in the eighth inning before Bellinger's RBI single padded the win.

The victory was the Dodgers' 47th comeback of the season, improving their overall record to 110-48.

Swanson steps up as Braves edge Mets

Dansby Swanson underlined his quality in the big moments with a game-changing two-run blast from Max Scherzer in the Atlanta Braves' crunch 4-2 win over the New York Mets in the NL East battle.

Trailing 2-1 at the bottom of the fifth inning with one out on a 3-2 pitch, Swansby blasted Scherzer over center field to homer for the second consecutive day.

The result means the Braves (99-59) lead the NL East by one game with four remaining, sitting ahead of the Mets (98-60).

Padres slug three home runs

Jake Cronenworth, Manny Machado and Juan Soto all crushed homers as the San Diego Padres sliced their magic number to one with a 5-2 win over the Chicago White Sox.

At 1-1 at the bottom of the sixth inning, Cronenworth deposited a slider from Cy Young hopeful Dylan Cease for a two-run blast over right field.

The Padres' win, combined with the Milwaukee Brewers' 4-3 loss to the Miami Marlins was significant in the NL Wild Card race.

San Diego are in the second slot with a 87-71 record, while the Brewers are fourth at 84-74, either side of the Philadelphia Phillies (85-73) who beat the Washington Nationals 8-2 after Kyle Schwarber's leadoff blast.

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.

New York Mets right-hander Max Scherzer has been placed on their 15-day injured list with a "left oblique irritation" retroactive to Saturday.

The eight-time All-Star was sidelined earlier this year for almost seven weeks with a left oblique injury but the Mets had hoped he would return to finish the season strong.

Scherzer said it was not a "significant injury", with Mets manager Buck Showalter expecting him to miss one or two starts as part of a series of roster moves for the side.

"That's the first and foremost thing - this is not a significant injury," Scherzer said.

"This is more that I'm going to miss one start - we knew that - and then once the ball's out of my court, the team's gotta do what they gotta do for roster moves.

"I don't have one specific spot that you can point to where that hurts. It's just general fatigue on the whole left side."

Three-time Cy Young Award winner Scherzer has a 9-4 record this season, with a 2.26 ERA.

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.

Max Scherzer delivered 11 strikeouts across seven innings to cap a perfect day for the New York Mets who swept their divisional double-header with the Atlanta Braves on Saturday.

The Mets got past the Braves 8-5 in the matinee game, followed by a 6-2 victory in the evening led by Scherzer's impressive outing.

The wins were critical in the National League (NL) East where the Mets improved to a 69-39 record ahead of the reigning world champions at 64-45.

Scherzer was at his vintage best for the Mets, amid tension given the Braves had recently closed in on Mets in the race for first place ahead of the five-game series.

"This is what you play the game for," Scherzer said. "You play to face the best, especially deep in the season. You grind it out here in the NL East."

Scherzer's 11 KS means he sits fourth on the all-time MLB list for most 10 or more strikeout games by a pitcher with 109, behind Nolan Ryan (215), Randy Johnson (212) and Roger Clemens (110).

Yankees shut out as Montgomery stars

Jordan Montgomery came back to haunt his former employers only days after being traded as the St Louis Cardinals defeated the New York Yankees 1-0.

Montgomery pitched five scoreless innings for the Cardinals who triumphed courtesy of Paul Goldschmidt's first-inning run driven in by Nolan Arenado.

The Cards new left-handed pitcher, who was involved in the trade deal for Harrison Bader, only managed one strikeout but only allowed two hits and a walk.

Dodgers edge divisional rivals

Max Muncy's fifth-inning go-ahead three-run blast helped the Los Angeles Dodgers topple the San Diego Padres 8-3 in their National League (NL) West battle.

The Dodgers were trailing 3-2 at the time, but Muncy's intervention turned the tide. The Dodgers extend their lead in the NL West with a 74-33 record compared to the Padres who are 61-49.

The home run was Muncy's 11th for the season. Will Smith also had a solo home run, to finish with three hits with two runs and three RBIs.

Despite missing a pair of National League MVP candidates, the St Louis Cardinals rode a big performance from future Hall-of-Famer Albert Pujols to a 6-1 away win against the Toronto Blue Jays.

With both Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado unavailable for their side's trip to Toronto due to their vaccination status, it was a combination of new blood and a blast from the past as they made it look easy.

40-year-old starting pitcher Adam Wainwright was at the peak of his powers, giving up just five hits and no walks for one earned run in seven innings, striking out eight batters. 

While Wainwright controlled the contest with the ball, 42-year-old Pujols made noise with the bat, knocking a single in his first at-bat, a double in his second try, and then a massive 439-foot, three-run homer with his third trip to the plate. It was longer than any home run Pujols hit in this year's Home Run Derby.

Rookie Nolan Gorman – 20 years younger than Pujols – also went deep with a solo home run, while he and 24-year-old Lars Nootbaar were two of five Cardinals to collect multiple hits.

Blue Jays star Vladimir Guerrero Jr finished two-for-four at the plate, while ace pitcher Kevin Gausman struggled in one of his worst performances of the season. 

Gausman gave up five runs in less than five innings, allowing eight hits and a walk with his six strikeouts.

Mets walk-off against Yankees

The New York Mets threatened to waste a spectacular start from pitcher Max Scherzer, but ultimately got the job done in the bottom of the ninth inning to defeat the New York Yankees 3-2 in walk-off fashion.

Pete Alonso's solo home run in the second inning and Francisco Lindor's RBI single in the third frame were the only runs before Max Scherzer was withdrawn, having pitched seven shut-out innings.

As soon as Scherzer was removed, the Yankees came back with a two-run homer from Gleyber Torres, but Eduardo Escobar led off the ninth inning with a double, setting up Starling Marte to be the hero and drive him in with a base hit.

J-Rod does it again for the Mariners

Rookie All-Star Julio Rodriguez showed once again why he is one of the most exciting young talents in all of baseball, blasting a three-run home run to give his Seattle Mariners a 4-2 home win against the Texas Rangers.

Rodriguez, 21, stepped up to the plate in the seventh inning with two runners on base, trailing 2-1, and he connected on a 419-foot no-doubter over the left-field wall to snatch back the lead.

This season, Rodriguez leads all rookies in hits (96), runs (54), home runs (17), RBIs (53), and stolen bases (21).

New York Mets star pitcher Max Scherzer appeared back to his best in Monday's 4-1 win against the reigning champion Atlanta Braves in his second game back from injury.

Scherzer, who struck out 11 batters against the Cincinnati Reds last week in his return from six weeks on the sidelines, was a match-winner against the Braves, striking out nine while only allowing three hits and no walks in seven innings.

The Mets jumped out to a lead in the third inning through Pete Alonso's RBI double, before Alonso came around to score and make it 2-0 off Luis Guillorme's ground-out.

Those would be the only two runs from the first six innings, with Atlanta's one and only run coming from a solo homer in the seventh inning from Austin Riley as Scherzer approached 90 pitches, ultimately finishing his day with 93.

Guillorme drove home his second run in more emphatic fashion in the eighth inning, with his solo home run giving the Mets a 3-1 buffer, before Alonso collected an RBI ground-out in the last frame to seal the win.

Alonso's two RBIs give him a league-leading 72 for the season – six more than any other player – with Colorado Rockies first-baseman C.J. Cron and Cleveland Guardians third-baseman Jose Ramirez tied for second on 66.

With the win, the Mets move to 54-33 for the season, giving them the second-best record in the National League, three games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Mikolas deals on the mound for Cardinals

The St Louis Cardinals came from some early adversity to comfortably defeat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-1 at home, with Miles Mikolas pitching a strong seven innings.

Mikolas' day started in bumpy fashion, giving up a first-inning home run to Rhys Hoskins, but the Phillies would score no more runs the rest of the way as Mikolas found his footing. He finished with seven-and-a-third innings pitched, giving up six hits and no walks while striking out five.

With the bat, Edmundo Sosa, Andrew Knizner and Corey Dickerson drove in a run each with three consecutive hits in the fifth inning, before Dickerson launched a two-run homer in the seventh and Lars Nootbaar completed the rout with a solo shot in the eighth.

Bobby Witt Jr makes history for Royals

Highly touted rookie Bobby Witt Jr had a spectacular day for the Kansas City Royals as they took both games of their double-header against the Detroit Tigers.

Witt went two-for-four at the plate in the Royals' 3-1 win in the first game, before going four-for-five with a double and a home run in his side's 7-3 victory later in the day.

He became the first player in MLB history to ever have at least six hits, three RBIs and three stolen bases in a double-header sweep.

Eight-time All-Star pitcher Max Scherzer tossed down 11 strikeouts across six scoreless innings in his return from injury but the New York Mets lost 1-0 to the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday.

Scherzer had not played since May 18 due to a strained left oblique muscle but showed no signs of rustiness on his return.

The 37-year-old right-hander was used across six innings for 79 pitches, allowing only two hits and no runs, with the Reds scoring the decisive run in the ninth inning.

The Reds got the victory with Mike Moustakas' sacrifice fly to Brandon Nimmo, allowing Tommy Pham to score.

Scherzer's 11 K performance was the 107th double-digit strikeout display of his career. It was also the fourth time Scherzer has struck out all nine starting hitters in his career. 

The three-time Cy Young Award winner reached a maximum velocity of 97.1 mph.

Scherzer said after the game: "I didn’t have any problems tonight. I felt good, I felt strong. I had nothing tighten up. I wanted to get to that 90-95 pitch count. They just didn't want to send me out there for the seventh. I understand that. Hopefully we'll get to that 90-95 pitch count next time out."

The Mets remain top of the National League East standings with a 50-31 record, with Scherzer 5-1 on the season with a 2.26 ERA.

Matzek magic marks Braves win

Atlanta Braves pitcher Tyler Matzek pulled off a moment of brilliance as they closed on the Mets in the NL East with a 7-1 win over the St Louis Cardinals.

Matzek's moment of magic came in the eighth inning with the Braves already leading 7-1, when he snagged Tommy Edman's one-hopper with a slick behind-the-back grab before under-arming to first base.

The Braves' win was built in the first inning, piling on five runs including two-run shots for Austin Riley – his third home run in five games - and William Contreras.

Atlanta's five-run first inning was their best opening inning of the season, with Riley moving up to 21 home runs for the season, equal eighth in the majors.

Alcantara keeps on keeping on

Sandy Alcantara continued to amaze for the Miami Marlins with another dominant and durable display, claiming 10 strikeouts across eight innings in their 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels.

Alcantara, who came into the game with an ERA of 1.95, gave up two hits which were both singles across eight innings. He tied the longest streak in the MLB since 2014 for seven or more innings pitched in 11 straight starts.

The 26-year-old Dominican sent down an 100 mph pitch after the sixth inning, the 12th time he has done that this season. No other starter has done that once.

Bryan De La Cruz's fifth inning homer had put the Marlins 2-0 up, before Tanner Scott closed it out despite a scare after Taylor Ward's sacrifice fly got Michael Stefanic home.

The New York Mets have confirmed Max Scherzer suffered an oblique strain during Wednesday's 11-4 win against the St. Louis Cardinals, and he could be set for between six and eight weeks on the sidelines.

The 37-year-old pitched 5.2 innings after starting the game, but was forced to withdraw from the contest after feeling a sharp pain on the left side of his torso.

Scherzer, who had given up just one earned run while striking out four during the game, told the media in the aftermath he hoped to have avoided a "serious injury", saying he did not believe he had suffered a major strain.

However, the two-time world series champions have now confirmed his injury could keep him out for several weeks. 

An update provided by the team's official Twitter account on Thursday read: "Max's images showed a moderate to high grade internal oblique strain. A general timeline for an injury of this nature is six to eight weeks."

Scherzer has performed well as the Mets' interim ace in the absence of Jacob deGrom, who is expected to be out until late-June with a stress reaction.

With fellow pitcher Tylor Megill also placed on the 15-day injured list on Sunday after suffering from bicep inflammation, the injury to Scherzer is a significant blow to the Mets, who sit atop the National League East with a 25-14 record this season.

New York Mets star pitcher Max Scherzer hopes he prevented a "major injury" when he removed himself from Wednesday's 11-4 win against the St. Louis Cardinals with what the team are calling "left side discomfort".

Scherzer, 37, started the game and pitched 5.2 innings, giving up just one earned run while striking out four, before he was forced out of the contest after feeling a sharp pain up the left side of his torso after his 87th pitch.

He was immediately removed from the game but was credited with his fifth win from his eighth start as the bullpen protected his lead.

Speaking to post-game media, the three-time Cy Young winner said he is hopeful he avoided anything that will sideline him for an extended period of time.

"I don't think this is a major strain," he said. "I was kind of tight, and then all of a sudden it went, but I don't feel like I really ripped it. 

"Just felt a zing on my left side and just knew I was done. When I felt it, I just knew there's no way you can throw another pitch, so just get out of there.

"Hopefully I got out of there quick enough to prevent a major injury here, because I know oblique, intercostal, those things can be nasty. Hopefully I avoided a serious injury."

Mets manager Buck Showalter said the lengthy discussion he had before withdrawing Scherzer from the game was not to see if he could continue, but to evaluate him properly.

"I don't rush out there, because usually it's not really good news," he said. 

"He's been a great self-evaluator. He knows when he's at a point where if he pushes more, it's going to turn into something serious.

"He's not going to put himself in harm's way – a lot of guys might have tried to continue to pitch. I'm hoping we caught whatever's in there at an earlier stage of it."

Scherzer has been serving as the ace of the Mets staff while Jacob deGrom, arguably the best pitcher in baseball, battles back from a stress reaction expected to keep him out until at least late-June. Tylor Megill was also placed on the 15-day injured list on Sunday with bicep inflammation.

Max Fried starred with eight strikeouts across seven innings as the Atlanta Braves won 3-1 over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday.

Braves left-hander Fried went perfect across the first five innings, before allowing two hits, while Freddie Freeman was quelled against his former side.

The Dodgers' only run of the game, scored by Chris Taylor, came in the eighth inning once Fried had been relieved, with Kenley Jansen closing it out in the ninth.

Travis d'Arnaud hit a solo home run at the top of the second inning, before Orlando Arcia's RBI double in the fourth and Austin Riley's single on a line drive for Ozzie Albies to score in the fifth.

 

Franco's maiden 2022 blast... at last

Wander Franco blasted his first home run of 2022 in a three-hit game as the Tampa Bay Rays won 6-5 over the Chicago Cubs.

Franco had missed Monday's game to rest his right quad but returned in style with a two-run homer on a 2-0 pitch in the third inning.

The young Rays star has now had seven multi-hit performances across 11 games this Major League season. Franco is a joint leader in the majors for hits, with 19.

"He's unique, special, talented, and we're seeing it in every part of his game," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.

 

Vintage Scherzer and Perez

Reliever Clarke Schmidt stepped up for the New York Yankees after Gerrit Cole's early struggles by tossing down six strikeouts in their 4-2 win over the Detroit Tigers. Cole had walked four batters, included with base loaded.

Max Scherzer was at his vintage best with 10 strikeouts in the New York Mets' 3-1 win over the San Francisco Giants, which backed up their earlier 5-4 victory on a double-header.

Salvador Perez put aside blurry vision to slug two home runs as the Kansas City Royals won 4-3 over the Minnesota Twins.

Max Scherzer is embracing the pressure associated with his blockbuster switch to the New York Mets, who also confirmed the arrivals of Starling Marte, Mark Canha and Eduardo Escobar.

The Mets caused a splash in MLB free agency after signing future Hall of Famer Scherzer to a mammoth three-year, $130million contract.

Scherzer's $43.3m per season deal is the largest in MLB history as the three-time Cy Young winner prepares to team up with fellow superstar ace and two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom.

"The pressure is a privilege, not a problem," World Series winner Scherzer told reporters during his introductory news conference on Wednesday.

Scherzer was acquired by the Los Angeles Dodgers from the Washington Nationals during the 2021 season, going 15-4 with a 2.46 ERA for both teams – a number only bettered by 2021 National League (NL) Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes of the Milwaukee Brewers.

The 37-year-old was third for winning percentage (78.9) last season and fourth for strikeouts (236).

Overall, Scherzer is 190-97 with a 3.16 ERA in his career for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Detroit Tigers, Nationals and Dodgers.

"I called Jake after our meeting just to get a sense of what New York was like, how he’s feeling and just get a state of where he's at, and came away happy with it," Scherzer said.

"The dream of pitching with him -- we can do some great things together. I've been very fortunate throughout my whole career to have great starting pitchers beside me. I know how powerful that can be when you have guys to feed off of and watch great pitchers."

The Mets, who last won the World Series in 1986, are coming off their fourth losing season in five years after missing the playoffs once again.

"Max is one of the greatest pitchers of this and any generation -- 190 wins, more than 3,000 strikeouts, three Cy Youngs, a World Series ring and he went 15-4 this past season with a 2.46 ERA," said Mets owner Steve Cohen.

"He is a Hall of Famer who knows how to win, and that’s a great quality to add to the clubhouse, too. Now we get to pair Max with one of the other great generational pitchers, Jacob deGrom.

"I told you last year I wanted to win, and I talked about sustained winning and winning championships, and I mean it. And I think the Mets today are closer to that than we were then. We are a better team today than we were two weeks ago."

The Nets also confirmed deals for All-Star outfielder Marte and Canha – both from the Oakland Athletics – and 2021 All-Star Escobar via the Brewers.

"I've had a good relationship with Robinson Cano, and I've always wanted to be his team-mate," Marte said. "I have a lot of family in New York and I felt like it was the right time for me to take on this opportunity."

"When I saw those names, I was like, 'OK, we're cooking a little bit now,'" Canha said.

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts says Max Scherzer was his "ace in the hole" after using him in the ninth inning for his first career save in Thursday's 2-1 series-deciding win over the San Francisco Giants.

Scherzer slammed the door on the Giants to clinch a 3-2 National League Division Series victory for the Dodgers after Cody Bellinger's RBI single for Justin Turner to score the go-ahead run in the ninth inning.

The 37-year-old right-hander, who had started Game 3 for 10 strikeouts across seven innings, was handed the ball to save the game on this occasion after warming up in the bullpen. It was Scherzer's first career save in his 432nd appearance.

"It was seeing the flow and how the game was going to play out, knowing we have an ace in the hole and trying to find the ultimate leverage spot to use him," Roberts told reporters after the game. "How the game played out, it made a lot of sense."

Roberts had used five pitchers before Scherzer's introduction, starting Corey Knebel before Julio Urias took over in the third inning, tossing down five strikeouts across four innings.

The game was tied at 1-1 leading into the ninth inning when Bellinger, who has had a season to forget, drove in Turner.

Bellinger, the 2019 National League MVP, hit at .165 with 10 home runs and 36 RBIs during the regular season, but he has batted at .294 with three RBIs in the postseason.

"Even for me, it's like going into that at-bat prior where he punched, he saw close to 10 punches, he grinded and competed, that last at-bat there was fight in there," Roberts said about Bellinger.

"It wasn't about mechanics, it was about a fight. It was me versus you. Cody versus [Giants pitcher] Camilo Doval.

"He got a huge hit. Like I said, Cody has grown a lot from adversity. For him to come up with the big hit, I'm very happy for him."

The result means the Dodgers have reached the National League Championship Series, where they will face the Atlanta Braves. The Dodgers are through to this stage for the fifth time in six seasons.

LA had to overcome the Giants, who boasted the best majors regular season record at 107-55, but Roberts said they were not content with that.

"I think what great ball clubs have the ability to do, is understand the gravity of a moment and a series in this case," he said. "Give everything you have to that series, which we did.

"It was a huge series but we also understand our job is not done. Now our focus turns to the Braves."

World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers clinched their spot in the National League Championship Series (NLCS) for the fifth time in six seasons after a 2-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants in the winner-takes-all showdown.

The Giants suffered ninth-inning heartbreak in Game 5 of the Division Series decider after Cody Bellinger drove in the go-ahead run, while the MLB playoff concluded in contentious fashion on Thursday.

Dodgers ace Max Scherzer – in his 432nd career appearance – got his first professional save for the Dodgers after former NL MVP Bellinger continued his bright postseason by driving in Justin Turner for the decisive run in the ninth.

The Dodgers, who became the first team in MLB playoff history to have their relievers pitch 8.0-plus innings with 12 or more strikeouts and no walks in a game, will now face the Atlanta Braves in the best-of-seven NLCS, starting on Saturday.

After five scoreless innings, the game came to life in the sixth with Corey Seager landing an RBI double from starting pitcher Logan Webb to drive Mookie Betts home to give the Dodgers the lead.

Betts finished the game with four hits, becoming the first player in Dodgers history to achieve the feat in a winner-takes-all playoff contest.

But the Giants responded immediately with Darin Ruf crushing a solo homer to level the game up at the bottom of the sixth inning.

Giants ace Webb finished with seven strikeouts across seven innings, while Julio Urias came on in the third inning, tossing down five K's across four innings.

At the top of the ninth inning with two runners on, Bellinger hit Camilo Doval low into right centerfield with an RBI single.

Bellinger delivered the game-winning RBI in a serious-clinching victory for the fifth time in his career – the most by any player in MLB postseason history, according to Stats Perform.

The game ended on a controversial call for Wilmer Flores' check swing from Scherzer's slider called a swing and third strike to end the Giants' campaign following their remarkable 107-55 regular season.

 

Red Sox at Astros

The opening game of the American League Championship Series (ALCS) takes place on Friday as the Houston Astros host the Boston Red Sox. Framber Valdez and Chris Sale will start on the mound for the respective sides.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and their pursuit of back-to-back World Series championships remains alive after conquering the St Louis Cardinals via a 3-1 walk-off victory in the National League (NL) Wild Card showdown.

With a date against the San Francisco Giants in the NL Division Series on the line, Chris Taylor hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to take down the Cardinals in walk-off fashion and progress to the MLB playoffs on Wednesday.

One out away from extra innings in Los Angeles, Taylor went deep off Alex Reyes to spark wild celebrations at Dodger Stadium midweek.

According to Stats Perform, Taylor became the second player in MLB history to hit a walk-off home run in a winner-takes-all playoff game despite not starting. The other was Aaron Boone in Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series (ALCS).

The Cardinals got on the board early, Tommy Edman scoring on Max Scherzer's wild pitch in the opening inning. Dodgers ace Scherzer gave up three hits, one run while striking out four in 4.1 innings.

Edman became the first player in MLB history to have three-plus hits and two or more stolen bases in a winner-takes-all playoff game, according to Stats Perform.

The Dodgers levelled things up in the fourth inning – Justin Turner's 401-foot homer sailing into the crowd off Adam Wainwright, who struck out five batters as he allowed one run on four hits in 5.1 innings.

There was nothing between the two franchises until Taylor stepped up to the mound and produced the game-winning homer at the death.

The Dodgers will now resume hostilities with NL West champions the Giants, who ended their streak of eight consecutive division crowns, starting in San Francisco on Friday.

 

Red Sox at Rays

The AL Division Series will get underway as the Tampa Bay Rays host the Boston Red Sox in Game 1 in the best-of-five matchup on Thursday. Elsewhere, the Chicago White Sox will also visit the Houston Astros in the American League.

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