Days after losing one two-time Cy Young Award winner to free agency, the New York Mets have bolstered their rotation by signing a three-time Cy Young Award winner.

Justin Verlander has agreed to two-year, $86million contract with the Mets. The deal, which was reported on Monday, includes a vesting third-year option.

The signing reunites Verlander with former Detroit Tigers team-mate and fellow three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer and helps the Mets fill a spot in the rotation after Jacob deGrom signed a five-year deal with the Texas Rangers on Friday.

Verlander helped the Houston Astros to the 2022 World Series title and the Mets are hoping he can help the franchise to their first championship since 1986.

He will turn 40 years old in February but is still one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball.

Despite missing the entire 2021 season recovering from Tommy John surgery, Verlander was the unanimous winner of his third Cy Young Award in 2022 after leading the majors with a 1.75 ERA and 0.83 WHIP, while going 18-4 with 185 strikeouts to 29 walks in 28 starts.

A nine-time All-Star, Verlander captured his first Cy Young Award in 2011 – a season in which he also won the AL MVP. He also won the 2019 AL Cy Young Award, as well as the 2006 AL Rookie of the Year Award.

For his career, Verlander is 244-133 with 3,198 strike outs, ranking first in both wins and strikeouts among active pitchers.

Verlander's historically fared well against NL East opponents, which bodes well for the Mets, as he has posted a 2.14 ERA against those teams in his career – his lowest ERA against any division. His career ERA is 3.24.

In four starts against NL East clubs last season, he went 4-0 without giving up a run over 25 innings, while striking out 26. 

The Texas Rangers have not been shy about spending money recently, and that continued Friday as they agreed to a five-year, $185million contract with two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom.

DeGrom, who has spent his entire nine-year career with the New York Mets, is perhaps the most dominant pitcher in baseball when healthy.

His career 2.52 ERA ranks third in the expansion era (since 1961) behind Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw (2.48) and Hall-of-Famer Sandy Koufax (2.19) among those with at least 200 starts.

"We are thrilled that Jacob deGrom has decided to become a Texas Ranger," executive vice president and general manager Chris Young said in a statement.

"Over a number of seasons, Jacob has been a standout major league pitcher, and he gives us a dominant performer at the top of our rotation. One of our primary goals this offseason is to strengthen our starting pitching, and we are adding one of the best."

This blockbuster move comes just before baseball's winter meetings, which begin early next week in San Diego. The Rangers said deGrom will be introduced in a news conference at Globe Life Field next week following the winter meetings.

"It fits in so many ways in terms of what we need," Young said. "He's a tremendous person. I have a number of close friends and teammates who played with Jacob and love him. I think he's going to be just a perfect fit for our clubhouse and our fans."

DeGrom, however, has been limited to 26 starts and 156-and-a-third innings over the past two seasons due to elbow, forearm and shoulder blade injuries. He compiled a career-low 1.08 ERA over 92 innings in 2021, but did not pitch after July 7 that year because of arm trouble.

"We acknowledge the risk, but we also acknowledge that in order to get great players, there is a risk and a cost associated with that," Young said. "And one we feel like is worth taking with a player of Jacob's caliber."

The Rangers have spent nearly $761m in free agency over the past year, including massive contracts last offseason to shortstop Corey Seager ($325m, 10 years) and second baseman Marcus Semien ($175m, seven years). The moves didn’t pay off, though, as they finished 68-94 for their sixth consecutive losing season.

Texas responded by hiring three-time World Series champion Bruce Bochy as their new manager in October.

DeGrom didn’t make his season debut this past season until August, and went 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 11 starts. After helping the Mets reach the playoffs, he passed up a $30.5m salary for 2023 and opted out his contract to become a free agent for the first time.

DeGrom won consecutive Cy Young Awards in 2018 and 2019 and is 82-57 with 1,607 strikeouts in 1,326 innings over nine big league seasons.

New York Mets general manager Billy Eppler hopes, and believes, ace pitcher Jacob deGrom will choose to re-sign with the team after opting to enter free agency.

DeGrom, 34, signed a five-year, $137.5million extension with the Mets back in 2019, which included an option to void the final two years of the deal to enter free agency early.

After starting 32 games in the year he signed that deal, deGrom has battled a string of serious injuries, only starting a combined 38 games across the past three seasons.

At his age, with his injury history, he is likely looking at his last massive payday, so it should be no red flag for the Mets that he decided to opt out and cash-in for what will likely be a higher salary with extra years on top.

Eppler told the media on Tuesday that he is optimistic about his club's chances of bringing back the former Rookie of the Year and back-to-back Cy Young Award winner in 2018 and 2019.

"We had another conversation, or a couple of conversations actually leading up to the decision date," he said. "We just kind of made a pact to stay in touch. 

"I think there's a good deal of interest there on his part, so that was articulated a number of times through the season and reiterated in our most recent conversation."

The Mets struck the first big deal of the offseason when they agreed to a five-year, $102m extension for closer Edwin Diaz the day free agency opened, making him the highest-paid relief pitcher in history.

SNY's Andy Martino is reporting the two teams most aggressively looking to lure deGrom out of New York are the Atlanta Braves and the Texas Rangers, and he adds that if either of those teams decide to pay a top-of-the-market price on a deal spanning at least four years, the Mets would be hesitant to match it.

One of the top free agents is no longer on the market on the first day of the offseason, with the New York Mets reportedly bringing back closer Edwin Diaz on a five-year, $102million contract, which was agreed to on Sunday.

The deal – which is pending a physical – includes an opt-out clause, a full no-trade clause and a sixth-year option.

It is being reported as the largest contract in baseball history for a reliever, making Diaz the first at his position ever with a nine-figure deal and first to make $20million annually.

The 28-year-old Diaz secured the massive contract after a phenomenal 2022 season, in which he posted a 1.31 ERA and 0.84 WHIP while converting 32 of 35 save opportunities – his second straight season with 32 saves.

Armed with a vicious slider and an overpowering fastball, the shutdown closer earned his second All-Star team selection while proving to be one of the most difficult pitchers to hit, racking up 118 strikeouts in just 62 innings. That rate of 17.13 strikeouts per nine innings is the second-best in MLB history among pitchers with a minimum of 50 innings, trailing only Aroldis Chapman’s rate of 17.67 for the Cincinnati Reds in 2014.

Diaz made his first All-Star team with the Seattle Mariners in 2018, when he compiled 57 saves – tied for second most in a season in baseball history. His 205 career saves are the sixth most by an active pitcher.

New York Mets manager Buck Showalter defended his decision to have San Diego Padres' pitcher Joe Musgrove checked for a foreign substance in their 6-0 shutout Wild Card series loss on Sunday.

The Mets bowed out of the preseason after their excellent 101-61 regular season, unable to find any answers to Musgrove, who allowed only one hit across seven innings with five strikeouts.

Musgrove became the first pitcher to go seven scoreless innings and allow one or zero hits in a winner-take-all game as the Padres advanced to the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Showalter desperately, and unsuccessfully, tried to get Musgrove pulled out of the game in the sixth inning when he requested umpires check him for a foreign substance, including inspecting his ears.

"I felt like that was best for us right now. Some pretty obvious reasons why it was necessary," Showalter told reporters.

"I love him as a pitcher, always have. He's too good a pitcher… Without getting into a lot of things, the spin rates and other things [were unusual], I get a lot of information in the dugout. We certainly weren't having much luck the way it was going, that's for sure.

"I'm charged with doing what’s best for the New York Mets. However it might make me look, I’m going to do that every time and live with the consequences.

"I'm not here to not hurt somebody's feelings."

Padres manager Bob Melvin was quick to defend Musgrove's character, with the right-hander jeered at times after the incident.

"Questioning his character to me is the part I have a problem with," Melvin said. "I'm here to tell everybody that Joe Musgrove is above board as any pitcher I know and any player I know and unfortunately that happened to him. The reception he got after that was not warranted."

Musgrove understood Showalter's request, claiming that the Mets were getting "desperate". The pitcher gestured at the crowd and the Mets dugout after the sixth inning.

"I figured he was going to do it," he said. "I've seen him do it before, checking the pitcher.

"I get it, they're on their last leg. They're desperate. They're doing everything they can to get me out of the game at that point. It motivated me a bit. It fired me up."

The win means the Padres are into the NLDS for the second time in the last three seasons, while it ends the Mets' season prematurely having seemed destined to be top seed in the NL East for long periods of the season before being overhauled late by the Atlanta Braves, including a series sweep.

"The sport is so gratifying and so many great things happen," Showalter said. "It's just cruel at times like this because I feel for the players, they put so much into it.

"We're such a special group. It's like I just told them, it's not always fair. I don’t think I've ever had such a good blend of good people and good players."

Joe Musgrove and Juan Soto have led the San Diego Padres past the New York Mets and into the NLDS to face the Los Angeles Dodgers after a 6-0 victory on Sunday.

Musgrove allowed only one hit with five strikeouts across seven innings, even having to overcome a desperate call from Mets manager Buck Shoalwater for an umpire check for foreign substances on the pitcher's ears.

The 29-year-old right-hander is the first pitcher to go seven scoreless innings and allow one or zero hits in a winner-take-all game. Musgrove's display means the Padres starting pitchers in this three-game series allowed only three earned runs. All three Padres pitcher used on Sunday only allowed one hit.

The result means the Mets' promising season ends with a 2-1 Wild Card series exit, bowing out of the postseason for the fifth straight time in front of their fans at Citi Field.

Soto, who the Padres acquired in a bumper Deadline Day trade from the Washington Nationals, went two-for-four with two RBIs in the eighth inning to open up the 6-0 lead. It was Soto's fifth career postseason game with multiple RBIs.

"I feel great. It's an amazing moment," Soto said amid the celebrations. "Everybody wants to be in this party. We just make it another step. Why not [win the World Series]. All the way. All the way."

Austin Nola drove in two in the second inning, representing the first hit with two out and a runner in scoring position this series for the Padres.

Trent Grisham equaled Jim Leyritz's franchise record of five consecutive games with an RBI, when he added another run in the fourth inning.

Grisham also hauled in a fine catch just before the wall, with a runner on first, to save a potential run from Mark Canha's fifth-inning shot.

After striking out Daniel Vogelbach to make it one hit through five innings, the Mets desperately called for Musgrove to be checked, yet the umpires found nothing.

Soto drove in two more runs in the eighth inning with a grounder to left-field, before Josh Hader closed out the win.

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.

The San Diego Padres began their postseason in style, making history in their 7-1 win on the road against the New York Mets in Game 1 of their NL Wild Card series on Friday.

With Max Scherzer starting on the mound for the Mets, the Padres clobbered four home runs off him in the first four-and-two-thirds innings. It was the first time in the Mets' 89-game playoff history they had conceded four home runs in a single game.

They were hit by Josh Bell in the first inning, followed by Trent Grisham in the second inning, before Jurickson Profar and Manny Machado both went deep in the fifth to spell the end of Scherzer's night.

The Mets were able to hit one homer of their own in the bottom of the fifth inning, but that would be the last run of the game as both bullpens pitched four scoreless frames to close the show.

Yu Darvish pitched a gem for the Padres, giving up one run from six hits and no walks in seven complete innings, striking out four batters.

New York will host Game 2 on Saturday, and Game 3, if necessary, on Sunday.

Phillies produce stunning comeback to steal Game 1

The Philadelphia Phillies trailed 2-0 heading into the last inning, and came away with a 6-3 road win against the St Louis Cardinals.

There were no runs from either team in the first six innings as Zack Wheeler pitched six-and-a-third innings for two hits and one walk, while Jose Quintana also gave up only two hits and one walk in five-and-a-third.

A two-run Juan Yepez homer in the seventh gave the Cardinals a late lead, but the Phillies would catch fire in the ninth with three hits, two walks, a hit-by-pitch and a sacrifice-fly in a six-run onslaught.

The Phillies' Jean Segura was the only player with multiple hits, with his second coming in the last frame with bases loaded to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead, and they never looked back.

Castillo shuts out the Blue Jays

Competing in their first postseason appearance since 2001, the Seattle Mariners are one win away from advancing to the NLDS after a 4-0 shutout win away against the Toronto Blue Jays.

After being secured in a trade at the deadline, starting pitcher Luis Castillo justified the hefty package the Mariners parted way with by throwing seven-and-a-third innings of scoreless playoff baseball, giving up six hits and no walks.

With the bat, the man who hit the memorable home run to secure their playoff berth, Cal Raleigh, stayed hot with a two-run bomb in the first inning, while Eugenio Suarez collected the other two RBIs.

Ramirez, Bieber come up big for the Guardians

Every run from the Cleveland Guardians' 2-1 win against the Tampa Bay Rays came from two swings in the sixth inning, with Cleveland stars Jose Ramirez and Shane Bieber producing match-winning performances.

On the mound, Bieber pitched seven-and-two-thirds innings, allowing three hits and one walk while striking out eight batters, but a Jose Siri home run in the sixth inning had the Rays leading 1-0.

That lead was quickly erased later in the same inning, with an Amed Rosario single setting up Jose Ramirez for a two-run home run that would end up being the difference.

Cleveland will have a chance to move on to the NLDS with a win in tomorrow's Game 2 in front of their home fans.

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.

Jacob deGrom's 11 strikeouts were not enough to deliver a result for the New York Mets, going down 5-2 on the road to the Atlanta Braves on Friday.

DeGrom, arguably the best pitcher in all of baseball, made it through six full innings while allowing five hits and no walks. Unfortunately for him, three of those hits travelled at least 422 feet each for a trio of monster home runs.

After Luis Guillorme gave the Mets a 1-0 lead in the second inning, the Braves' top power bat responded instantly, with Austin Riley sending a solo home run 422 feet to center-field later in the frame. The Braves then took the lead before the second inning ended with a 430-foot bomb from Matt Olson to center-field.

Atlanta's pitching dominated the middle portion of the game, holding the Mets scoreless between the second and eighth innings, and Dansby Swanson took the opportunity to give his side a couple of runs of breathing room when he smoked a ball 441 feet to make it 3-1 in the sixth frame.

An eighth-inning Tomas Nido home run proved to be just a consolation as the Braves closed things out with Kenley Jansen's 38th save of the season.

After this result, the Braves and the Mets are now tied for the second-best record in the National League at 98-59, and they have two games remaining in the series.

Pujols hits number 701

The baseball world stopped and applauded Albert Pujols for his 700th home run earlier this week, and he added one more to his tally in the St Louis Cardinals' 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pujols' big swing came in the fourth inning with his side trailing 1-0, hooking a ball 398 feet over the left-field wall to tie the game. Nolan Arenado then delivered what ended up being the winning run with an RBI single in the fifth.

The 42-year-old future Hall-of-Famer trails only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) for the most home runs in history.

Guerrero, Springer homer in Blue Jays win

Vladimir Guerrero Jr and George Springer treated the Toronto Blue Jays fans to some big hitting in their 9-0 home win against the Boston Red Sox.

With the Red Sox eliminated from the playoff hunt and the Blue Jays marching towards a big October, the two sides played to their records as Alek Manoah and Yusei Kikuchi combined to pitch a shutout.

Guerrero hit one of the longest home runs of the week with his 447-foot nuke to left-field, and Springer was not much shorter, launching his shot 431 feet.

Aaron Judge made American League (AL) history with his record-tying 61st home run of the season as the New York Yankees won 8-3 over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday.

Judge's seventh-inning two-run blast moved him to 61 single-season homers, equaling Roger Maris' long-held AL and franchise record set in 1961.

The homer ended Judge's run of seven homerless games, along with 31 consecutive plate appearances without a blast.

Judge delivered the shot in his fourth plate appearance of the game, going over left-field deep in the seventh from Tim Mayza, batting leadoff as the designated hitter.

"When I hit it, I thought I got enough but it's been a couple of games since I did that," Judge said.

"So, you never really know if it was going to get out out or, so, I tried to sprint around the bases a little bit then once it got over the fence, just relief that now we're leading the game.

"Getting a chance to tie Roger Maris, you dream about that kind of stuff, it's unreal."

Judge's blast came with scores tied at 3-3, opening up a two-run lead for the AL East-winning Yankees.

Harrison Bader had a single later in the seventh, before driving in two at the top of the ninth, reaching on a fielder's choice.

Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole allowed three hits and three hits in six-and-one-third innings, striking out four to match Ron Guidry's franchise single-season record of 248 from 1978.

Escobar stars in Mets' walk-off win

Eduardo Escobar hit five RBIs including the walk-off game-winner in the 10th inning as the New York Mets got past the Miami Marlins 5-4.

The victory was critical for the Mets, giving them a one-game lead ahead of the Atlanta Bin the National League East, moving their magic number to clinch the division to six.

Trailing 4-0 at the bottom of the seventh inning, Escobar cut the lead in half with a two-run blast, before delivering an eighth-inning two-run single.

Escobar produced the walk-off single in the 10th inning, punching one through the hole of the left-side of the infield to drive in Francisco Lindor from second base.

Braves lose ground after Nats upset

The Braves let slip a huge opportunity to keep the pressure on the Mets, slumping to a 3-2 walk-off loss to the lowly Washington Nationals.

C.J. Abrams chopped a career-first walk-off single to right-field to drive in Alex Call for the game-winning run in the 10th inning. It was Abrams' third hit of the game.

Matt Olson crushed his 30th homer of the season among his two hits, while Michael Harris II hauled in a brilliant leaping catch at the center-field wall before driving in the game-tying eighth inning run for Dansby Swanson.

The Braves and Mets are set to meet in a crucial three-game series starting on Friday in Atlanta, weather permitting.

Aaron Judge made American League (AL) history with his record-tying 61st home run of the season as the New York Yankees won 8-3 over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday.

Judge's seventh-inning two-run blast moved him to 61 single-season homers, equaling Roger Maris' long-held AL and franchise record set in 1961.

The homer ended Judge's run of seven homerless games, along with 31 consecutive plate appearances without a blast.

Judge delivered the shot in his fourth plate appearance of the game, going over left-field deep in the seventh from Tim Mayza, batting leadoff as the designated hitter.

"When I hit it, I thought I got enough but it's been a couple of games since I did that," Judge said.

"So, you never really know if it was going to get out out or, so, I tried to sprint around the bases a little bit then once it got over the fence, just relief that now we're leading the game.

"Getting a chance to tie Roger Maris, you dream about that kind of stuff, it's unreal."

Judge's blast came with scores tied at 3-3, opening up a two-run lead for the AL East-winning Yankees.

Harrison Bader had a single later in the seventh, before driving in two at the top of the ninth, reaching on a fielder's choice.

Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole allowed three hits and three hits in six-and-one-third innings, striking out four to match Ron Guidry's franchise single-season record of 248 from 1978.

Escobar stars in Mets' walk-off win

Eduardo Escobar hit five RBIs including the walk-off game-winner in the 10th inning as the New York Mets got past the Miami Marlins 5-4.

The victory was critical for the Mets, giving them a one-game lead ahead of the Atlanta Bin the National League East, moving their magic number to clinch the division to six.

Trailing 4-0 at the bottom of the seventh inning, Escobar cut the lead in half with a two-run blast, before delivering an eighth-inning two-run single.

Escobar produced the walk-off single in the 10th inning, punching one through the hole of the left-side of the infield to drive in Francisco Lindor from second base.

Braves lose ground after Nats upset

The Braves let slip a huge opportunity to keep the pressure on the Mets, slumping to a 3-2 walk-off loss to the lowly Washington Nationals.

C.J. Abrams chopped a career-first walk-off single to right-field to drive in Alex Call for the game-winning run in the 10th inning. It was Abrams' third hit of the game.

Matt Olson crushed his 30th homer of the season among his two hits, while Michael Harris II hauled in a brilliant leaping catch at the center-field wall before driving in the game-tying eighth inning run for Dansby Swanson.

The Braves and Mets are set to meet in a crucial three-game series starting on Friday in Atlanta, weather permitting.

Travis d'Arnaud focused on the Atlanta Braves' "marathon" pursuit of the New York Mets after their postseason place was confirmed for a fifth straight year on Tuesday.

The defending World Series champions defeated the Washington Nationals 3-2 at Truist Park, with their playoff spot clinched shortly afterwards as the Mets rallied to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 7-5.

It was not necessarily the outcome the Braves wanted, however, as a victory for the Brewers would have seen Atlanta level with the Mets atop the NL East.

As it is, the Braves are one game back, but d'Arnaud warned their rivals they have plenty still left in the tank.

"It's a marathon, it's not over," d'Arnaud said. "So we'll just keep going after it until the end."

All-Star catcher d'Arnaud had extended his career-high home run total to 18, while William Contreras, his backup, has 19.

They are just the fourth catching duo in NL or AL history to each hit at least 18 homers in a season with at least two-thirds of their games played at catcher.

And Arnaud was effusive in his praise of Contreras, adding: "It's been so much fun.

"The energy he brings every day honestly inspires me and makes me feel young. So I don't know if I'd be having as good of a year if he wasn't here."

The Braves face the Nationals again on Wednesday, looking for a clean sweep as the Mets do likewise against the Brewers.

Aaron Judge hit his 60th home run of the season to kick-start an incredible last-inning 9-8 comeback win for the New York Yankees against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday.

Judge, who has 20 more home runs than any other player this campaign, is now one away from tying the Yankees and American League record for home runs in a single season, set by Roger Maris in 1961.

Against the Pirates, the Yankees found themselves trailing 8-4 entering the final inning after Pittsburgh's Rodolfo Castro's three-run homer in the eighth frame, with Bryan Reynolds and Jason Delay each driving home a pair of runs earlier in the contest.

Judge finished the game one-for-four at the plate, but his one hit was emphatic, leading off the ninth inning with a 430-foot launch over the left-field wall to trim the margin to 8-5.

An Anthony Rizzo double, followed by a walk to Gleyber Torres and a single to Josh Donaldson loaded the bases, allowing Giancarlo Stanton a chance to be the hero.

On a 2-2 count, Stanton connected with a changeup on the outer-half of the plate and pulled it 410 feet into the New York sky to end the game, sending the Yankees fans wild.

With the win, the Yankees remain five-and-a-half games clear of the Toronto Blue Jays atop the AL East, and they trail only the Houston Astros for the best record in the American League.

Lindor's grand slam delivers a Mets win

Two big home runs were the key for the New York Mets in their 7-5 win against the Milwaukee Brewers, highlighted by Francisco Lindor's grand slam.

The Mets trailed 4-0 heading into the sixth inning, where Pete Alonso blasted a three-run home run. An inning later, it was Lindor's turn for a big bomb, launching his grand slam 413 feet to left-field to grab the lead.

After a late RBI single to Willy Adames, Mets closer Edwin Diaz came in to finish the job, striking out three of the four batters he faced for his 31st save of the season – the seventh most in the majors.

Blue Jays win a 29-run shootout

A combined 14 runs were scored in just the last two innings of the Toronto Blue Jays' 18-11 win against the Philadelphia Phillies, with the teams combining for 36 hits.

Despite being on the losing side, Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto had a memorable day at the plate as he finished five-for-five with a home run and a double. 

For the Blue Jays, Teoscar Hernandez went four-for-five with two doubles, while All-Star catcher Alejandro Kirk went three-for-five, and Danny Jansen was three-for-six.

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.

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