Aaron Judge has capped his historic season after being crowned the AL Most Valuable Player (MVP) ahead of Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani on Thursday.

St Louis Cardinals slugger Paul Goldschmidt was also voted the NL MVP, beating out Manny Machado of the San Diego Padres and teammate Nolan Arenado for the award.

Judge's MVP, the first in his career, came after he broke the single-season Yankees and AL home-run record, reaching 62 to surpass Roger Maris Sr's 61 – set 61 years ago in 1961. He became the fourth major league player to hit 62 or more homers in a single season.

The Yankees outfielder led the AL in home runs (62), RBIs (131), slugging percentage (.686), on-base percentage (.425), OPS (1.111) and total bases (391), while he chased an AL Triple Crown down the stretch, but ultimately fell short as Minnesota Twins' utility Luis Arraez (.316) won the batting title.

Judge received 28 first-place votes for 410 points, ahead of Ohtani (280) and Houston Astros' Yordan Alvarez (232).

The 30-year-old already had two top-five MVP finishes on his resume, in 2017 and 2021, winning Silver Slugger awards in both years.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said: "I’m grateful that I got to witness it first-hand and share in his magical year, especially given how much respect I have for him as a player and as a person."

Goldschmidt looked like the NL MVP since the All-Star break, batting .317 while leading the NL in OPS (.982) and slugging percentage (.578).

The Cardinals first baseman's 35 home runs finished one off his career-high, set in 2013 and equalled in 2017, giving him his seventh season with at least 30 dingers.

Goldschmidt won the MVP with 380 voting points, ahead of Machado (291) and Arenado (232). It is the sixth time in 35-year-old Goldschmidt's career that he has finished in the top-six for the award.

"I think definitely as you age, you have to adapt, and that's some of what I've tried to do. I've tried to get ahead of it," Goldschmidt told MLB Network. "I think it was my best season."

New York Yankees superstar Aaron Judge collected the first of many individual awards set to come his way when he was named winner of the American League's Hank Aaron Award.

Paul Goldschmidt of the St Louis Cardinals was named the National League winner of the award, which honours the player in each league who had the best offensive season.

Judge, 30, enjoyed the best year of his career as he broke the single-season Yankees and American League home run record, reaching 62 to surpass Roger Maris' 61 – set 61 years ago in 1961.

Making his fourth All-Star game, Judge also set career-highs in batting average (.311), slugging percentage (.686) and on-base percentage (.425) – leading the majors in the latter two metrics.

With two top-five MVP finishes on his resume already – in 2017 and 2021, winning Silver Slugger awards in both years – Judge is considered a lock to top the votes and claim his first this time around.

Meanwhile, Goldschmidt has looked like the NL MVP since the All-Star break, and was rewarded with his second Hank Aaron Award after also winning it back in 2013 with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Goldschmidt, 35, is set for his sixth top-six finish in MVP voting, batting .317 while leading the NL in on-base-plus-slugging (OPS) at .981.

His 35 home runs finished one off his career-high, set in 2013 and equalled in 2017, giving him his seventh season with at least 30 dingers.

Goldschmidt has two years remaining on his contract with the Cardinals, while Judge is set to enter free agency for the first time in his career.

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 Boston Red Sox blew a golden opportunity with bases loaded, no outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, going on to lose 6-5 to the Toronto Blue Jays in extra innings on Thursday.

In a game where the two sides combined for 28 hits, the Blue Jays got off to a hot start with a pair of scores in the opening inning courtesy of a Bo Bichette two-run double.

The Red Sox, in front of their home fans, tied things up in the second frame with RBI singles to Carlos Arroyo and Bobby Dalbec, before Rafael Devers' double an inning later gave his team a 3-2 lead.

It was then Vladimir Guerrero's turn to put the Blue Jays ahead with a two-run single in the fourth, which was another short-lived lead as the Red Sox tied things at 4-4 later in the inning through a Dalbec sacrifice-fly.

When Danny Jansen's solo home run in the six inning again gave the visitors a one-run lead, it seemed like it was destined to be the Red Sox's day as they instantly answered back, with Jarren Duran's double making it a 5-5 tie, which would hold until the ninth inning.

After the Blue Jays were unable to get a run across, the Red Sox manufactured runners on second and third base in the bottom of the ninth, with no outs. After an intentional walk, the bases were loaded for Franchy Cordero.

Cordero struck out swinging, before Enrique Hernandez grounded to third-base, where elite fielder Matt Chapman gathered, stepped on third base and threw to first for the game-saving double-play.

A pair of well-directed ground-outs brought across the go-ahead run for the Blue Jays, with Jordan Romano securing the save and the win.

DeGrom puts on a clinic

New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom showed once again why he is considered the best pitcher in the sport, dominating the early stages of his side's 3-1 win against the Colorado Rockies.

DeGrom, in only his fourth start of the season after he missed the first half due to lingering injuries, sat down the first 12 batters he faced, including seven strikeouts, before the Rockies finally got their first baserunner in the fifth inning.

As he ticked over 75 pitches he lost some life in his pitches, but he still finished with one earned run from six complete innings, allowing three hits and one walk to go with nine strikeouts.

Goldschmidt adds to his MVP case

Heavy favourite for the National League MVP, Paul Goldschmidt, hit two home runs as his St Louis Cardinals defeated the Chicago Cubs 8-3.

After a three-run first inning, every score from that point on for the Cardinals came courtesy of Goldschmidt's bat, with a two-run single in the fourth inning, followed by a 403-foot solo home run in the sixth, and a two-run, 428-foot home run in the eighth.

Goldschmidt now leads the NL in batting average (.339), on-base percentage (.420), slugging percentage (.637), RBIs (105) and total bases (284), and is second in home runs (33).

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Surging Orioles slip in Wild Card race

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

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

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

Goldschmidt and Arenado fire but Cards beaten

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

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

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

The St Louis Cardinals will not have All-Stars Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado available to play in Toronto this week as they have not received the COVID-19 vaccination.

Canada requires all travellers to the country to be fully vaccinated, so Goldschmidt and Arenado will miss the Cardinals' two games against the Blue Jays on Tuesday and Wednesday, as confirmed by president of baseball operations John Mozeliak to reporters on Sunday.

St Louis entered Sunday's MLB action trailing the Milwaukee Brewers by 1.5 games for first place in the NL Central, and with a one-game lead on the Philadelphia Phillies for the third and final wild-card berth in the NL.

Goldschmidt and Arenado have played a major part in that success.

Goldschmidt is batting .333 with 22 home runs and 74 RBIs in 92 games, while Arenado is hitting .299 with 18 homers and 59 RBIs in 90 contests.

They were both selected to their seventh All-Star Game this season. Goldschmidt homered in the NL's 3-2 loss to the AL last Tuesday, but Arenado sat the game out due to tightness in his lower back.

Despite the American League's (AL) 3-2 win in the MLB All-Star Game on Tuesday, Clayton Kershaw relished pitching the opening inning, conceding it "meant a lot" to him.

After nine All-Star selections and six appearances, the three-time National League (NL) Cy Young Award winner visibly savoured the moment as he approached the mound.

After the Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series in 2020, Kershaw had effectively achieved everything could as a pitcher in baseball today, but had never started in an All-Star Game.

Achieving it in front of his home fans at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, the usually measured 34-year-old could not hide his excitement. 

"It was actually a lot of fun today to be out there, and the crowd was awesome," Kershaw said after his opening inning. "I can’t say enough good things about Dodger fans, people in LA in general, just how much these last few days, how much they wanted me to do this. It meant a lot to me.

"I tried to take a minute at the beginning to take it all in and look around, which I usually never do. Being here at Dodger Stadium, a place where I’ve been now for 15 years, and to get to do something like this with the best in the world, is really fun.

"And it was also really personal for me and my family, everybody. I’m excited it’s over."

Leading off for the AL, Shohei Ohtani was able to claim a single off Kershaw's first pitch, but the Dodgers' starter caught him trying to steal second, before striking out Aaron Judge.

Paul Goldschmidt gave the NL a 2-0 lead in the opening frame after Mookie Betts drove Ronald Acuna Jr. in, crushing a solo home run up the middle off Shane McClanahan.

The AL team were able to claim the lead with a three-run fourth via Giancarlo Stanton's two-run shot, before Byron Buxton followed up with a solo homer of his own.

Coming in to pinch hit in what could be his final at-bat in an All-Star game, Albert Pujols sent a ball deep into left-field off Paul Blackburn in the bottom of the fourth, but Andrew Benintendi eventually made the catch with the crowd at Dodgers Stadium seemingly willing his hit over the wall.

The AL bullpen started to take over proceedings after Alek Manoah came onto the mound, keeping the NL without a hit between the second and fifth innings.

Emmanuel Clase spectacularly closed for the AL's ninth consecutive win in what was a dominant pitching display.

The St Louis Cardinals are hopeful that the back issue that forced Paul Goldschmidt to miss Tuesday's 6-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers is nothing serious.

Six-time All-Star Goldschmidt has been a key part of the Cardinals' 39-31 start to the season, with Tuesday's win moving them top of the National League Central ahead of the Brewers.

The in-form Cardinals second baseman has the second-best batting average and OPS in the major leagues this season (.339 and 1.031), behind Luis Arraez (.362) and Yordan Alvarez (1.038) respectively.

Goldschmidt, who was awarded the National League Player of the Week on Tuesday, has an equal-second-best 86 hits this season, with 48 runs and 16 home runs.

The 34-year-old missed the Brewers game due to back tightness, which he had tried to play through as a designated hitter in Monday's 2-0 loss to Milwaukee.

"He'll experience it from time to time," Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. "Usually he takes a day, it loosens up, he'll get treatment and be back at it. That's our hope."

"He tried to play through it yesterday. It made sense to give him a day today."

The Cardinals and Brewers meet again on Wednesday, the third of their four-game series.

St Louis Cardinals pitcher Miles Mikolas fell agonisingly short of a career-first no-hitter as his side won 9-1 over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday.

Mikolas came within one strike of the rare feat, achieved only 10 times in Cardinals' history, with two outs and two strikes against the Pirates in the ninth inning.

It was Cal Mitchell who denied Mikolas in his no-no bid with a center-field hit that eluded Harrison Bader by inches and bounced over the wall.

Mikolas tossed down a season-high 129 pitches throughout the game, with six strikeouts.

"It kinda stinks to not finish that out," Mikolas said after the game. "I don’t have one yet. I've got friends who have one, it would’ve been nice to join that conversation but I can't say enough about our defense. I kinda feel like I let them down."

Mikolas overshadowed Mike Goldschmidt who had a four-hit, two-homer and five-RBI display in the second game of the double-header.

Goldschmidt sits atop the National League (NL) rankings for batting average (.349) and on-base plus slugging (1.073). He is second in the NL for RBIs (56) and tied for second for home runs (16).

The Cardinals won both games, triumphing 3-1 in the earlier match-up, with Yadier Molina reaching 14,865 putouts which is the most by a catcher in MLB history.

 

Voit leads Padres' turnaround against Cubs

The Chicago Cubs' slide continued despite boasting a 5-0 lead heading into the sixth inning as Luke Voit turned things around for the San Diego Padres in a 12-5 win.

Willson Contreras enjoyed his 10th career multi-home run game to help the Cubs lead 5-0 before Voit's two-run blast narrowed the gap, followed by another two runs in the sixth for the Padres.

Voit emptied the bases in the seventh inning, finishing the game with five RBIs along with his two hits and two runs from six at-bats.

 

Astros launch with eighth-inning rearguard

The Texas Rangers blew their shot at a fourth consecutive win after poor fielding cost them in the eighth inning, losing 4-3 to the Houston Astros.

The Rangers were leading 3-0 in the eighth when third baseman Ezequiel Duran misplayed, allowing Jose Altuve to get home despite a mix-up between bases from Alex Bregman's hit.

Two batters later, with Michael Brantley having added a second run, Kyle Tucker hit a two-run blast to clinch a 4-3 victory for the Astros. Tucker extended his active hitting streak to 13 games.

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