Albert Pujols closed in further on 700 career home runs after blasting two homers in the St Louis Cardinals' 16-7 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday.

The 42-year-old, who started the game on 690 home runs, blasted over deep left center for a second-inning home run from Madison Bumgarner to put the Cards up 3-0.

Pujols made it a multi-homer game with a near-identical blast from a 3-2 pitch from Bumgarner in the fourth inning, bringing up his 692nd career home run.

The 11-time All-Star, who has said this is his last season, had hit a career-first pinch-hit grand slam earlier this week against the Colorado Rockies.

Pujols backed that up with a four-hit game, with a sixth-inning hit slamming into the wall for a single, while he grounded to left field in the seventh.

The veteran passed Stan Musial into second for total bases in majors' history in the process, reaching 6,143.

Pujols also closed within two home runs of Alex Rodriguez (694) in fourth for most homers all-tme.

Yankees slump again as Cole jeered

Aaron Boone was left fuming once again as the New York Yankees slumped to their 15th loss from their past 19 games, going down 5-2 to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Gerrit Cole had not allowed a hit until the Jays piled on four fifth-inning runs to pull clear, leaving the home crowd to jeer the Yankees pitcher who was televised yelling and punching the dugout.

The defeat means the Yankees are 9-20 since the All-Star break, with their margin over second-placed Toronto down to seven games in the American League East.

May on fire in Dodgers return

Right-hander Dustin May returned with nine strikeouts in five scoreless innings in his first game in 15 months as the Los Angeles Dodgers won 7-0 over the Miami Marlins.

May had not played since May 2021, dating back 476 days, having undergone Tommy John surgery but he exploded back on to the scene for the Dodgers, falling one short of a career-high for Ks.

Justin Turner and Will Smith both blasted three-run homers for the Dodgers, who improved to 83-36 in the National League.

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone has hit out at his team following another lacklustre performance on Friday.

A 4-0 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays marked the Yankees' fifth shutout loss in August, more than anyone else in the majors, having come into the month with six shutout defeats all season.

The Yankees now hold a 5-12 record this month, being held to two or fewer runs in eight of those games, which has seen their season derail.

A record of 44-16 (.733) in the first 60 games of the season saw the Yankees ranked as baseball's best but the franchise has subsequently gone 29-31 in their past 60, becoming the first team in MLB history with a .700 win percentage across their first 60 to then go sub .500 in their next 60.

Naturally, that has left Boone furious and he criticised his team following the most recent loss.

"We should be ticked off right now and we need to start playing better. Plain and simple," he said.

"You pour a lot into trying to shake hands at the end of the day, and we've been able to do that on balance on a really high clip this year. We've hit a rough patch and we've got to dig ourselves out.

"We can sit here, and I can keep answering questions and talk about it but we've got to go do it. And the good news is we've got all the pieces in that room to do that. I know that's coming. I know it's going to happen, but it really sucks going through it."

With the record earlier in the season, Boone remains encouraged that the team can turn their fortunes around.

"We've done it most of the year. I have total faith in that room and those players. We've got more than our share of struggling right now. But we've got to find a way," he said.

"I don't really care about the number [of games in the divisional lead]. If we play like this and keep walking away at the end of the night, it ain't going to matter. 

"If we get it together and play our game, then we'll run away. So eight, nine, 10, seven, five, we've got to play better. We've got to start racking up some wins. And hopefully that starts tomorrow afternoon."

The Yankees currently hold a lead of eight in their division, having seen their margin dwindle from 15.5 on August 8.

The Yankees have cleared Giancarlo Stanton for a rehab assignment that could have the All-Star slugger back in the team’s slumping lineup sometime next week.

Manager Aaron Boone told reporters Friday that Stanton, who has been out since July 24 with left Achilles tendinits, will serve as the designated hitter for the Double-A Somerset Patriots on Saturday and Sunday before returning to New York. The 2017 National League MVP is then scheduled to take live batting practice Tuesday at Yankee Stadium against Luis Severino, who’s rehabbing a strained lat muscle.

The Yankees will determine whether to activate Stanton from the injured list following Tuesday’s workout. Boone said it’s possible Stanton could return to the lineup for Tuesday’s game against the rival New York Mets, though it’s more likely he’ll be reinstated Thursday for the opener of a four-game series with the Athletics in Oakland.

Stanton, who appeared in only 42 regular-season games between 2019 and 2020 due to a number of injuries, will be used exclusively as a designated hitter upon his return. The Yankees used a similar approach when he came back from a quadriceps strain last season, as he made 45 consecutive starts at DH before receiving more time in the outfield during the second half.

"We’ll kind of, like we did last year where we built on the run, (add) the outfield reps and hopefully make that a part at some point, but not immediately," Boone said prior to Friday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Stanton, who was tied for third in the American League with 24 home runs at the time of his current injury, will be counted on to provide a boost to an offense that’s been dormant for much of August. The Yankees rank 26th in the majors in runs per game (3.50) for the month and have been held to three runs or less 11 times during a current 3-12 stretch.

Stanton has had his struggles at the plate as well. After hitting .309 with a .925 OPS through his first 36 games of 2022, the five-time All-Star has produced a .153 average and a .699 OPS in 44 games since May 22.

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.

Josh Donaldson produced a remarkable 10th-inning walk-off grand slam to snap the New York Yankees' slump with an 8-7 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday.

Trailing 7-4 in the 10th inning after losing 11 of their past 13 games, Donaldson had his signature moment with bases loaded, blasting Jalen Beeks with a high fly ball deep right over Randy Arozarena's head into the stands.

The victory from the jaws of defeat, was the 10th walk-off grand slam win in Yankees history and first since 2016.

The win also comes amid the Yankees recent offensive struggles, with the slam marking Donaldson's 12th home run of the season.

The Rays had appeared destined for victory after Francisco Mejia's three-run double at the top of the 10th inning, but the Yankees responded by filling the bases before Donaldson's blast.

The result snapped the Yankees' third-game losing streak and ensures they avoided their first sweep at home this season, improving their record to 73-45.

Shohei's one-man show not enough

Shohei Ohtani starred with a two-run homer among his feats but it was not enough to prevent the Los Angeles Angels from being swept by the Seattle Mariners, losing 11-7 on Wednesday.

Ohtani had four hits, four RBIs, with a run-scoring triple in the seventh inning and his two-run blast in the ninth inning, marking his 27th home run of the season.

But the Mariners moved into the top American League Wild Card slot led by two homers from Cal Raleigh, along with two-run shots from Eugenio Suarez and Jesse Winker each.

Baty's dream major league debut

Rookie Brett Baty homered in front of his family in a fairytale MLB debut as the New York Mets won 9-7 over the Atlanta Braves.

Baty struck a two-run homer out of the yard in his first major league at-bat from the second pitch he faced from Jake Odorizzi. He becomes the fifth Met to homer in their first at-bat.

The Mets withstood a late Braves push after Max Scherzer had eight strikeouts across six-and-one-third innings.

The New York Yankees slumped to their 10th loss from their past 12 games and were shut out for the second straight game as they lost 4-0 to the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday.

The Rays were fueled by Isaac Paredes' fourth-inning RBI, after Aaron Hicks' fielding error allowed a David Peralta triple, before piling on three ninth-inning runs with Yandy Diaz driving in two.

But it was another nightmare for the Yankees, who have been shut out four times in August, with a .372 slugging percentage and 3.5 runs per game this month.

Aaron Hicks had a chance to atone for his fielding error with bases loaded in the fourth inning but grounded into a double play.

MLB home-run leader Aaron Judge suffered a similar fate while trailing 1-0 in the eighth inning.

It is the first time the Yankees have been shut out in consecutive games since 2016.

The Yankees have now lost 11 of their past 14 games and hold a 72-44 record, falling behind the Houston Astros (75-42) to be the American League's top seed.

Freeman and Lux blast Dodgers to 80th win

The Los Angeles Dodgers became the first team to 80 wins in the majors this season with a 4-0 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Freddie Freeman blasted his first home run in 20 games in the first inning, while Gavin Lux landed a two-run homer at the top of the sixth.

Julio Urias dealt six strikeouts across five innings as the Dodgers moved to 80-34, clear of the next best in the National League, the New York Mets (75-41) after their 13-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves (71-46).

Ohtani impressive but Angels clipped

MVP candidate Shohei Ohtani tossed eight strikeouts across six innings but the Seattle Mariners pulled away with four ninth-inning runs to win 6-2 over the Los Angeles Angels.

Luis Rengifo tied it up at 1-1 in first inning when outfielders Julio Rodriguez and Mitch Haniger collided on the wall, spilling the ball above the home-run mark.

It was all square going into the ninth inning, but Sam Haggerty scored in a wild play, followed up by Dylan Moore as catcher Max Stassi could not hold a tag attempt, with runs to Julio Rodriguez and Ty France padding the win.

Future first-ballot Hall-of-Famer Albert Pujols turned back the clock in the St Louis Cardinals' 6-3 win against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday, connecting on two long home runs.

It was a game where every run came via the long-ball, with Brewers outfielder Hunter Renfroe getting things started as he blasted a two-run homer in the second inning.

The Brewers would not score again until the ninth frame as Cardinals starting pitcher Miles Mikolas put in a terrific performance, giving up two runs from four hits and no walks in eight complete innings, striking out six.

With the bat, the Cardinals registered their first tally later in the second when Pujols sent a 392-foot lead-off shot over the left-field wall, and after three innings of scoreless baseball, Tyler O'Neill tied the game at 2-2 with a 420-foot moonshot to center-field.

Heading into the eighth inning with the scores tied, Dylan Carlson was the next to connect on a home run – the shortest of the game at 373 feet – and after an infield single to O'Neill and a walk to NL MVP favourite Paul Goldschmidt, Pujols stepped back up to the plate and launched a 443-foot nuke to left.

The 443-foot blast from Pujols was his longest of the season, and more than 20 feet further than any of his home runs that he hit in last month's Home Run Derby. He is only the third player in MLB history to have more than one game with multiple home runs after turning 42 years old – along with Barry Bonds and Carlton Fisk – and his 63 career multi-homer games is the fifth most ever.

With the win, the Cardinals opened up a one-and-a-half game lead over the Brewers atop the NL Central.

Yankees go down at Fenway Park

The New York Yankees have now lost four series in a row after being shut-out by the Boston Red Sox 3-0 on Sunday night.

It was a starring performance on the mound from Red Sox starter Michael Wacha in his return from injury, allowing just two hits and one walk while striking out nine batters in seven innings.

Despite the Yankees only collecting two hits total for the night, the game was locked at 1-0 until the sixth inning when Red Sox star Rafael Devers – who many consider the future of the franchise – gave his side some breathing room with a 433-foot, two-run home run.

The Yankees still hold a 10-game lead in their division, but now trail the Houston Astros by two-and-a-half games for the best record in the American League.

Estrada walks it off for the Giants

Thairo Estrada treated the San Francisco Giants home fans to a walk-off home run as they defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7.

In the back-and-forth contest, the Giants jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, but the Pirates came storming back to lead 6-5 after a massive 442-foot, three-run homer from Bryan Reynolds in the seventh inning. Reynolds would finish the game three-for-four at the plate with five RBIs.

The Giants evened things up later in the seventh, before the Pirates were able to grab a lead in the ninth inning due to a fielding error, but they got away with it as Estrada delivered the winning blow with one out.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are the first National League team in 100 years to win 12 consecutive games by multiple runs after they hammered the Kansas City Royals 13-3 away from home on Saturday.

Fans were still finding their seats when Dodgers lead-off hitter Mookie Betts opened the scoring from the fifth pitch of the game, connecting on a 421-foot home run.

It was the first of five runs from the Los Angeles side in the opening frame, with Max Muncy, Justin Turner and Gavin Lux also driving in runs.

Dodgers catcher Will Smith added another couple of tallies with a two-run homer an inning later to establish a 7-0 lead early, and after the Royals snatched two runs back through a Michael Massey triple later in the second, Lux homered in the third and Muncy homered in the fourth to open up a 10-2 buffer.

Cody Bellinger and Joey Gallo gave Dodgers fans who stuck around for the ninth inning a treat, with another two home runs putting the icing on the cake.

Muncy finished with four hits and four RBIs, while Betts went three-for-four at the plate and both Smith and Lux picked up a pair of hits.

Starting on the mound for Los Angeles, Andrew Heaney made it through three innings before he was forced to leave the game early, suffering a contusion in his throwing forearm.

The last National League team to match the Dodgers' feat were the 1922 Pittsburgh Pirates, who had their 13-game multi-run winning streak snapped exactly 100 years ago to the day.

DeGrom dominates the Phillies

New York Mets ace and arguably the best pitcher in all of baseball Jacob deGrom looked at the peak of his powers in his third start of the season, holding the Philadelphia Phillies scoreless through six innings in a 1-0 win.

DeGrom retired 18 of the 20 batters he faced, striking out 10 and making it through his six innings in an efficient 76 pitches. 

The game's only run came in the first inning, with Pete Alonso's base hit scoring Starling Marte, as Phillies starter Aaron Nola also pitched beautifully, going eight full innings with eight strikeouts, allowing one run from four hits and a walk.

Kiner-Falefa the unlikely Yankees hero

The New York Yankees will have a chance to win their three-game series away from home against the Boston Red Sox tomorrow after coming back to win 3-2.

After dropping the first game of their slate 3-2 in extra innings yesterday, the Yankees were in danger of losing their fourth series in a row when they trailed 2-0, before Isiah Kiner-Falefa hit a two-run shot in the fifth inning for his first home run of the season.

With the scores still tied at 2-2 in the last frame, Kiner-Falefa came through again as he was able to bunt for a hit while bringing home Andrew Benintendi from third base. From his 103 games this season, it is only the second time he has collected three RBIs.

The worrying form of the New York Yankees continued as they were downed the Seattle Mariners 4-3 after Carlos Santana's seventh-inning go-ahead two-run homer on Wednesday.

The Yankees have lost seven of their past eight games and are 2-7 in August, with the skid putting their top seed hopes in the American League in jeopardy.

Sam Haggerty had blasted the Mariners into a 1-0 lead with a solo home run in the sixth inning.

After Tuesday's 1-0 extras' loss to the Mariners, the Yankees actually went scoreless across 19 innings, breaking that run in the seventh inning on Wednesday.

Kyle Higashioka crushed a go-ahead two-run homer to left-center field in the seventh inning, before Aaron Judge added another, his 45th home run of the season, to extend the lead.

But the Mariners, who won the season series against the Yankees for the first time since 2002, fought back through Santana, with his two-run blast being his 11th homer of the season.

Mariners pitcher Robbie Ray played his part, striking out seven batters as well as Seattle moved to 61-52, while the Yankees are 71-41.

 

Dodgers clinch 10 straight wins

Joey Gallo blasted a three-run homer to help the Los Angeles Dodgers secure their 10th win in a row with an 8-5 triumph over the Minnesota Twins.

The Dodgers were trailing 4-2 in the fifth inning but rallied back with Chris Taylor homering the go-ahead run. Gallo, who was traded to the Dodgers from the Yankees last month, came up with his 13th home run of the season in the seventh inning.

The 10-game win streak is the Dodgers' longest since they won 11 in a row in July 2017, while they swept the four-game series against the Twins with a 32-10 run record.

Lindor stars as Mets winning run continues

The New York Mets extended their run of wins by three or more runs to six with a 10-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds fueled by Francisco Lindor again.

The shortstop helped the Mets clinch a series sweep with a second-inning two-run single, opening up a 4-0 lead and making franchise history.

Lindor, who finished with three runs, two hits and two RBIs, moved to 81 RBIs for the season, tying with Jose Reyes in 2006 for a Mets' single-season record.

A single run in the 13th inning gave the Seattle Mariners a memorable win over the New York Yankees late on Tuesday in "one of the best games I've ever seen", according to Scott Servais.

The Mariners held their own in a pitching battle with the Yankees, as new signing Luis Castillo marked his first home start by giving up just three hits through eight scoreless innings.

Seattle's relief pitching was similarly effective, while there were a series of stunning defensive plays as the two teams repeatedly failed to bat in runners in scoring positions.

Eventually, after more than four hours of play, a pinch-hit single from Luis Torrens scored Eugenio Suarez to the delight of a raucous Seattle crowd.

"Baseball's not a boring game," Mariners manager Servais said after the 1-0 victory.

"I've been at a lot of major league games, I've been in a lot of major league games, and that was one of the best games I've ever seen.

"The electricity in our ballpark tonight, the fans were incredible. As we sit here in early August, we've got big things ahead of us."

The Mariners occupy the second AL wild card place at 60-52 as they bid to end a 21-year playoff drought.

"I don't know, because we haven't been to the postseason in a while, but I'm assuming it would be like this and maybe a little bit better," Servais added.

"Our fan base is starved for this type of baseball. We have a team that can provide it. We're fun to watch. We can be frustrating to watch.

"I get all that as a fan and what it means to hang on the edge of your seat for every pitch. That's what baseball is about, and our team embodies that."

Matt Carpenter is bullish he still has a part to play for the New York Yankees this season, stating that "my mindset is that I'll be back" after fracturing his left foot.

The third baseman fouled off a slider from Seattle Mariners starter Logan Gilbert during the first inning on Monday, and is facing an indefinite spell on the sidelines.

Despite the loss of the 36-year-old, arguably in the best form of his league career for over half a decade, the Yankees still went on to a 9-4 victory to snap a season-worst five-game losing streak.

That solidifies their position atop AL East, and keeps them on track for a rosy postseason spot, though they will now almost certainly have to secure their berth without Carpenter.

But the ex-Cardinals man and three-time All-Star remains optimistic he will get back on the diamond before the close of the season, insisting he is not limiting himself on his return timeframe until he sees a specialist.

"I don't want to say a number because I just don't know, but I'm holding out hope that it'll be a situation where I could come back in the middle of September and can contribute towards a stretch run," Carpenter said.

"So we'll see. I mean, that's my mindset is that I'll be back."

Carpenter finished the at-bat after initially hobbling around, and struck out swinging on the next pitch, and admits it was likely a good thing he failed to make the connection, lest he worsen his injury.

"When I went to swing on the next pitch, as soon as I started to plant and rotate on that back foot, my lower body like gave out and I wasn't able to," he added.

"Thankfully, probably the best thing that happened was to swing and miss – because if I hit it and had to run, I might have made it worse. But I knew it wasn't good."

Carpenter becomes the latest major injury concern for the Yankees, who lost Giancarlo Stanton, Luis Severino, Michael King and Miguel Castro last month.

New York continue against the Mariners this week at T-Mobile Park, before heading back east on Friday to face the Boston Red Sox.

Aaron Judge ended his four-game home-run drought as the New York Yankees snapped their five-game losing skid with a 9-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Monday.

The Yankees, who are top of the American League (AL) with a 71-39 record, had been swept in a three-game series by the St Louis Cardinals along with two defeats to the Mariners at Yankee Stadium in their past five.

But they responded at T-Mobile Park from the outset, with Josh Donaldson hitting a first-inning two-run single along with a third-inning solo home run, sandwiched by Mitch Haniger's blast as the Yankees claimed an early 4-1 lead.

The Yankees pulled clear with three runs in the fifth inning, as Andrew Benintendi doubled on a line drive with Donaldson and Gleyber Torres scoring, followed by Benintendi from Isiah Kiner-Falefa's sac fly.

Judge, who leads the majors in home runs, RBIs, runs, slugging percentage and on-base plus slugging this season, re-discovered his form in the ninth inning after his recent lean stretch.

The Yankees outfielder had a close call with a high ball falling just short of the wall in the third inning, but blasted a solo home run in the ninth with a fly ball over deep center field.

The home run was Judge's 44th home run of the season, continuing his march to history with the AL single-season record of 61, from Roger Maris in 1961, within sight. It also ensures Judge's longest run without a home run this season remains seven games.

More Mets momentum with Reds win

The New York Mets kept up their momentum after winning four games in their five-game series against the Atlanta Braves with a 5-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Starling Marte crushed a two-run home run in the first inning off ex-Mets pitcher Justin Dunn, but Francisco Lindor was sensationally denied a fifth-inning blast by a leaping Albert Almora with a high catch on the wall. Tyler Naquin's eighth-inning two-RBI triple sealed the win.

Chris Bassitt sent down eight strikeouts across eight innings for the Mets, whose starters have pitched a league-best 2.21 ERA since July 5. The Mets have won 13 of their 15 games.

Orioles maintain Wild Card push

The in-form Baltimore Orioles boosted their AL Wild Card aspirations with a 7-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

Home runs from Ramon Urias, Anthony Santander, Ryan Mountcastle and Austin Hays helped the O's clinch their sixth win from their past seven games.

Felix Bautista closed out the victory, with Bo Bichette grounding into a double play, as the O's improved to 57-52 in the AL Wild Card hunt behind the Blue Jays (60-49), Tampa Bay Rays (58-50) and Mariners (59-52).

It was far from a warm welcome for newly acquired New York Yankees starting pitcher Frankie Montas, getting smacked around in a 12-9 away loss to the St Louis Cardinals.

Montas, who was traded from the Oakland Athletics before the deadline, struggled mightily, conceding six runs in the first two innings, with four coming off the bat of Nolan Arenado.

Arenado collected an RBI single in the first inning to cancel out an early Yankees run, and after the visiting side jumped ahead 4-1 in the second frame thanks in large part to a two-RBI base hit from AL MVP favourite Aaron Judge, it all began to fall apart.

Dylan Carlson's RBI double started the rally and cut the margin to 4-2, a sacrifice-fly from NL MVP favourite Paul Goldschmidt made it 4-3, and then Arenado connected on a three-run home run to lead 6-4 after two innings.

Montas would be pulled to begin the fourth frame, finishing with figures of six earned runs from five hits and three walks in his 64 pitches.

To the Yankees' credit, they refused to lay down, with Judge driving in another two runs with a double in the fifth inning to tie the game at 6-6, but the Cardinals continued to answer right back, adding three more runs of their own in the bottom of the fifth.

The Yankees again cut the lead to 9-8, but Paul DeJong put the game to bed in the eighth inning with a three-run homer to grab a winning break.

Overall, the teams combined for 21 runs from 27 hits, with Arenado going three-for-five at the plate with four RBIs, and Judge finishing two-for-five with four RBIs. Judge now leads the majors in RBIs with 97, two more than New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso.

DeGrom makes his case as the game's best pitcher

There were concerns that perhaps injuries would strip New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom of his status as the sport's most elite pitcher, but he continued to dispel that myth on Sunday in his side's 5-2 win against the Atlanta Braves.

DeGrom, in his second start of the season, struck out 12 of the 19 batters he faced, going on to finish with two earned runs from one hit and one walk in five-and-two-thirds innings.

Through five innings, deGrom had a perfect game with 10 strikeouts, but was pulled in the sixth after his first walk of the game was followed by a home run from Dansby Swanson to cut the Mets' lead to 5-2, with both bullpens keeping things scoreless the rest of the way.

Rays pull off improbable late rally

With two outs in the top of the ninth inning, there had yet to be a run in the Tampa Bay Rays' road game against the Detroit Tigers, before an incredible offensive explosion saw the Rays prevail 7-0.

The Rays as a team conceded only three hits and no walks as six pitchers combined beautifully, while the Tigers relied on Matt Manning to get them through most of the game, pitching seven scoreless frames for seven baserunners and seven strikeouts.

In the ninth inning, after two outs, the Rays rattled off consecutive at-bats resulting in a double, three walks, a single, a double and another single as seven straight batters reached base.

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.

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