Exciting Seattle Mariners youngster Julio Rodriguez has been rewarded for his spectacular rookie season as one of the three American League (AL) outfielders named as Silver Sluggers on Thursday.

Rodriguez, 21, had arguably the best rookie season since Aaron Judge finished MVP runner-up with his debut campaign for the New York Yankees back in 2017.

In 132 games, Rodriguez led all rookies with 28 home runs, and became the third rookie to ever tally at least 25 homers and 25 stolen bases in their first year. He is the fourth rookie outfielder to ever win a Silver Slugger, joining fellow Mariner Ichiro Suzuki (2001), three-time MVP Mike Trout (2012) and Judge (2017).

Likely this season's AL MVP, New York's Judge joined Rodriguez in the outfield to collect his third Silver Slugger, with Trout filling the third outfield spot. 

Texas Rangers first-baseman Nathaniel Lowe, Houston Astros second-baseman Jose Altuve, Cleveland Guardians third-baseman Jose Ramirez and Toronto Blue Jays catcher Alejandro Kirk complete the AL infield. Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez is in the designated hitter spot, and Atlanta Braves batting champion Luis Arraez was named as the utility.

The San Diego Padres landed three players in the NL team, with Juan Soto named in the outfield, while Josh Bell took the DH slot and Brandon Drury is the utility.

Los Angeles Dodgers teammates Trea Turner (shortstop) and Mookie Betts (OF) made the cut, as did St Louis Cardinals duo Paul Goldschmidt (first base) and Nolan Arenado (third base).

The Philadelphia Phillies had both J.T. Realmuto (catcher) and Kyle Schwarber (OF), and New York Mets second-baseman Jeff McNeil completed the line-up.

Exciting Seattle Mariners youngster Julio Rodriguez has been rewarded for his spectacular rookie season as one of the three American League outfielders named as Silver Sluggers on Thursday.

Rodriguez, 21, had arguably the best rookie season since Aaron Judge finished MVP runner-up with his debut campaign for the New York Yankees back in 2017.

In 132 games, Rodriguez led all rookies with 28 home runs, and became the third rookie to ever tally at least 25 homers and 25 stolen bases in their first year. He is the fourth rookie outfielder to ever win a Silver Slugger, joining fellow Mariner Ichiro Suzuki (2001), three-time MVP Mike Trout (2012) and Judge (2017).

Likely this season's AL MVP, New York's Judge joined Rodriguez in the outfield to collect his third Silver Slugger, with Trout filling the third outfield spot. 

Texas Rangers first-baseman Nathaniel Lowe, Houston Astros second-baseman Jose Altuve, Cleveland Guardians third-baseman Jose Ramirez and Toronto Blue Jays catcher Alejandro Kirk complete the AL infield. Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez is in the designated hitter spot, and Atlanta Braves batting champion Luis Arraez was named as the utility.

The San Diego Padres landed three players in the NL team, with Juan Soto named in the outfield, while Josh Bell took the DH slot and Brandon Drury is the utility.

Los Angeles Dodgers teammates Trea Turner (shortstop) and Mookie Betts (OF) made the cut, as did St Louis Cardinals duo Paul Goldschmidt (first base) and Nolan Arenado (third base).

The Philadelphia Phillies had both J.T. Realmuto (catcher) and Kyle Schwarber (OF), and New York Mets second-baseman Jeff McNeil completed the line-up.

The San Diego Padres are all in on superstar Juan Soto, with general manager A.J. Preller telling reporters on Tuesday the goal is to have him around "for many years to come".

Soto was acquired from the Washington Nationals in a blockbuster trade at this season's deadline after turning down a 15-year, $440million contract extension.

The Dominican Republic product celebrated his 24th birthday on Tuesday, and he already has two All-Star appearances, three top-10 MVP finishes and a Home Run Derby crown to his name.

This past season was Soto's worst of his career at the plate, hitting just .242 to lower his career average to .287, but he showed he still has the elite plate discipline that makes him such an outlier at his age.

He has now started his career with five consecutive seasons where he has an on-base percentage above .400, and despite a career-worst slugging percentage of .452, his 27 home runs were only two fewer than the previous year where he was named MVP runner-up.

Soto was disappointing in the first two rounds of this year's postseason, but hit a pair of home runs in the Padres' NLCS loss to the Philadelphia Phillies as he began to rediscover his power.

Prior to the trade, Soto was considered one of the best young players in the history of the sport, and a few cold months of batting have done nothing to change that as the Padres have control over him for two more seasons before he becomes eligible for free agency.

Addressing the media, Preller made it clear that a long-term extension for Soto is the organisation's priority, while dancing around their plans for out-of-contract closing pitcher Josh Hader, who they also acquired at the deadline.

"They're guys that, you know, in Juan's case should be here for many years to come," he said. "I think we'll have that conversation. All this is pretty fresh. 

"From Juan's standpoint, he's getting to know the city and getting to know the organization. When we made the deal, we made it knowing that we got him for three pennant races. 

"He's an incredibly talented player, he's an impact player, and we'll have those conversations here. This offseason is kind of taking the temperature, seeing where his head is at going forward."

After sneaking into the playoffs, the 89-win Padres eliminated the 101-win New York Mets and the 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers in back-to-back series, and manager Bob Melvin said they will be aiming even higher next season.

"Much higher," he said. "You look at the core guys we have coming back, this is going to be as good a group as anybody."

Preller added: "This is a taste of what's to come".

Philadelphia Phillies manager Rob Thomson hailed Bryce Harper's big-game mentality after he took the team to their first World Series since 2009.

2021 National League MVP Harper smashed a game-winning home run to left-field as the Phillies overcame the San Diego Padres 4-3 in Game 5 of the NLCS on Sunday, clinching a 4-1 series victory.

Harper's homer, which came at a crucial point of the contest after Padres pitcher Yu Darvish helped the visitors back into contention, means the Phillies will contest their eighth World Series, having previously won it all in 1980 and 2008.

Thomson compared Harper to New York Yankees legend and Baseball Hall of Famer Derek Jeter after the win, describing the 30-year-old as a "superstar". 

"The superstar came and he played and that's why he's the MVP," Thomson said. "Incredible. A lot of times you don't see that. The stars just don't hit. But he hit.

"He's physically and mentally tough and he wants to win. When the moment hits, he doesn't get caught up in it. He just goes out and does his job.

"I saw it a lot in my years with Jeter doing the same thing. Their heart doesn't speed up as much as the guy who's throwing to them. They're even-keeled. They stay in the zone."

Harper, meanwhile, was simply relieved to have avoided another trip to San Diego as he dedicated his series-clinching hit to Philadelphia's fans.

"I just looked at my dugout," Harper said. "It's for all of them. It's for this whole team. It's for this whole organisation. We haven't been here for a long time. It's for every single fan that's here.

"I said it to K-Long [hitting coach Kevin Long], 'let's give them something to remember'. It could have been anybody. I don't care. I just wanted the moment for everybody.

"I was not getting on that flight back. I was not getting on that flight to San Diego. Five and a half hours. No chance."

Philadelphia will face the Houston Astros in the World Series, who are bidding to win it all for the second time after completing a 4-0 series sweep of the Yankees on Sunday.

The Philadelphia Phillies are through to their first World Series since 2009 after defeating the San Diego Padres 4-3 in Game 5 of the NLCS on Sunday, securing a 4-1 series victory.

Playing in front of a raucous Philadelphia crowd, the Phillies jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the third inning courtesy of a two-run home run from Rhys Hoskins.

Other than that home run, it was a good outing for Padres pitcher Yu Darvish, who did not allow another run through his six innings to give his side the chance to fight their way back into the contest.

Having struggled in the postseason, Juan Soto drilled a solo homer in the fourth inning, and the Padres tied things up with Josh Bell's RBI double in the seventh frame.

Later in the seventh, it was San Diego taking the lead after a wild pitch allowed Jose Azocar to scamper home from third base, but there would be another twist in the tail-end of this one.

After J.T. Realmuto led off the eighth inning with a single, up stepped two-time MVP Bryce Harper as the next batter, and he connected on what ended up being a game-winning home run to left-field. In doing so, Harper became the first player to ever hit a home run in three series-clinching games in the same postseason.

Ranger Suarez came in and collected the save, getting the final two outs from just two pitches to send the Phillies to the World Series with a chance to win their third championship in their 139-year history. They last won the World Series in 2008, before losing to the Yankees in the 2009 edition.

Philadelphia will face the winner of the ALCS between the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees, with the Astros having a chance to sweep it 4-0 later on Sunday night.

Bryce Harper believes the Philadelphia Phillies have a team built for the postseason, but insisted their job is far from over after moving one win away from the World Series.

The Phillies took a 3-1 lead over the San Diego Padres in the National League Championship Series by coming from 4-0 down to claim a 10-6 win in Game 4 on Saturday at Citizens Bank Park.

Philadelphia will have the chance to finish the job on Sunday in Game 5, with Harper in position to realise the ambition he had when he left the Washington Nationals for the Phillies in a blockbuster move in 2019.

"Anywhere you sign, you want the opportunity to get into the postseason, play late into October," Harper said when asked what his expectations were upon his arrival in 2019.

"I said it in my first Spring Training. It's going to take us a couple years to get there, right? It's going to take us a couple years to build this thing. It's going to take a couple years to understand what our identity is and who we are and what we can do.

"I believe our team is built for October, I really do. I think we have three starters that are really, really good, and I think we have a great bullpen.

"Eighth and ninth inning, those two guys down there can go two innings plus for us. Just our lineup one through nine.

"I think our young guys have been really good for us this year. They stepped up, and our veterans as well."

"This is what we play for. This is what you work for each offseason and going into Spring Training, this is what you want to do."

What a win, boys pic.twitter.com/SeBAc7iMoP

— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) October 23, 2022

The Phillies will face a tough test on Sunday against Padres ace Yu Darvish, who allowed only three hits over seven innings in Game 1, though the two homers he surrendered proved decisive in a 2-0 defeat for San Diego.

"I think we're all just excited for the opportunity. I know I keep saying kind of the same thing, but we're all just so grateful for the opportunity to be here," added Harper.

"I don't think any of us are in shock, but to stand here and say that we're grateful and understand that this opportunity is huge. We're one of the last teams playing right now, and it's really cool to see that.

"When you look at the scoreboard and you see two more, and you look at the scoreboard and nobody's playing that day, just you, you're grateful for the opportunity to be here.

"I think all of us, or myself, I wake up, and I'm just excited. I'm excited, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to come to the ballpark each day. I'm grateful for these fans, them showing out for us and how cool it is, how much fun it is.

"The job's not done. We have a lot ahead of us. We have a really tough matchup tomorrow with Yu. We're excited for that matchup. We're excited for the opportunity, and just ready to get back tomorrow ready to go."

The Philadelphia Phillies are one win away from the World Series after tying a franchise record for their largest comeback in postseason history with a 10-6 Game 4 win over the San Diego Padres in the NLCS on Saturday.

The Padres raced ahead 4-0 in the first inning, but the Phillies responded to square the game by the fourth inning, before pulling away thanks to four home runs at Citizens Bank Park to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Rhys Hoskins played a key role in the comeback, blasting two two-run homers, the second tying the game up at 6-6 in the fifth inning, before a go-ahead single from Bryce Harper, who went two-for-four with two RBIs.

Kyle Schwarber and J.T. Realmuto both launched solo home runs in the sixth and seventh innings to add insurance.

The Padres were two out in the first inning before Manny Machado led their early charge with a solo blast followed by Brandon Drury's two-run double and Kim Ha-seong's RBI.

Hoskins commenced an immediate response with his third home run of the postseason, before Harper's RBI cut the margin to one after the first inning.

Phillies shortstop Bryson Stott's base hit to left squared it up at 4-4 in the fourth inning before Juan Soto launched his first postseason homer, a two-run shot, to open up a 6-4 Padres' lead.

Hoskins blasted Sean Manaea over left-center field to tie it up, before Harper drove Realmuto home to take the lead.

The Phillies host the Padres again on Sunday, knowing only 14 of 91 teams have overcome a 3-1 deficit in a League Championship Series or a World Series to win.

Astros open up 3-0 lead with Yankees domination

The Houston Astros are also on the brink of clinching their fourth World Series berth in six seasons after a dominant 5-0 victory over the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

The Astros' pitching staff did the damage, with starter Cristian Javier allowing only one hit with five strikeouts across five-and-one-third innings. Javier had led the Astros' combined no-hitter at Yankee Stadium earlier this season in June.

The victory improved the Astros' postseason record to 6-0, having swept the Seattle Mariners in the ALDS, while it was their second shutout of the postseason too.

Chas McCormick blasted a two-run homer in the second inning after Harrison Bader and Aaron Judge's outfield mix-up allowed Christian Vazquez on base from a sky-high pop-out with two out.

The Astros loaded the bases in the fifth inning, leading to Gerrit Cole's removal despite seven K's, before Trey Mancini's sacrifice fly and Vazquez's two-run single from reliever Lou Trivino to capitalise.

Astros catcher Vazquez's brilliant game included a spectacular throw to second base to out Bader when trying to steal with the game poised at 2-0 at the top of the fifth inning.

The Philadelphia Phillies rode an explosive start from slugger Kyle Schwarber to a 4-2 home victory in Game 3 of the NLCS on Friday, taking a 2-1 lead.

Only Aaron Judge (62) hit more home runs in the regular season than Schwarber (46), and he continued his spectacular season with his second of the postseason to snatch a 1-0 lead for the Phillies with a 405-foot bomb as their very first batter.

That lead would hold until the fourth inning, when Jake Cronenworth was able to bring Juan Soto home from third with a groundout to shortstop, but the Phillies wasted no time retaking the advantage.

In the bottom of the fourth, Jean Segura came through with a big two-run single to jump ahead 3-1, with Alec Bohm and Bryson Stott coming around to score.

Schwarber, Stott and Bohm were the three Phillies to collect multiple hits on the day, and Bohm's second was crucial, ripping a double to right-field in the sixth inning to again restore their buffer to 4-2, which their bullpen protected beautifully.

Zach Eflin and Jose Alvarado pitched the sixth and seventh inning, before Seranthony Dominguez saw out the final two frames, giving up just one baserunner while striking out three batters for a six-out save.

Phillies starter Ranger Suarez did enough to earn the win on the mound, getting through five innings for two earned runs in 68 pitches while only giving up two hits and no walks.

Game 4 and Game 5 will remain in Philadelphia, before the best-of-seven series heads back to San Diego for Game 6 and Game 7 if necessary.

The Texas Rangers have lured former San Francisco Giants skipper Bruce Bochy out of a brief retirement to take over as manager.

Bochy stepped away from managing after the 2019 season following a successful 13-year run in San Francisco in which he guided the Giants to three World Series titles between 2010 and 2014.

The 67-year-old previously spent 12 seasons as the San Diego Padres' manager from 1995-2006, a period that saw them make four postseason appearances and reached the World Series in 1998.

One of 12 managers to achieve 2,000 victories, Bochy sports an overall record of 2,003-2,029 in regular-season play and 44-33 in postseason games.

The 1996 National League Manager of the Year also has ties to Rangers general manager Chris Young, who pitched for the Padres during Bochy's final season there in 2006.

"In his 25 years with San Diego and San Francisco, Bruce was one of the most successful and respected managers in Major League Baseball," Young said in a statement.

"With a calm and steady presence, he has a remarkable ability to connect and communicate with players, coaches and staff, and his teams have always played with maximum effort. His knowledge of the game, as well as his integrity, is unmatched.

"As we went through the interview process, Bruce's passion and excitement about returning to the dugout was very evident. It became clear he was the ideal individual to lead our club as we continue to build a championship culture here in Arlington."

Bochy takes over a Texas team that has been mired in six straight losing seasons and failed to meet heightened expectations in 2022.

The Rangers were big spenders in free agency this past offseason, handing out big contracts to land ex-Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager and former Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Marcus Semien, but finished second-last in the American League West at 68-94.

The Rangers fired manager Chris Woodward in August and went just 17-31 after third base coach Tony Beasley was promoted to interim manager.

 

The San Diego Padres produced a stunning comeback on the road to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies 8-5 in Game 2 of the NLCS on Wednesday.

San Diego were staring down the barrel of a two-game deficit when Alec Bohm, Matt Vierling, Edmundo Sosa and Kyle Schwarber drove home a run each to jump ahead 4-0 in the second inning.

The Padres would get two runs back in the bottom of the second, courtesy of solo home runs to Brandon Drury and Josh Bell, and to manager Bob Melvin's credit, he stuck with starting pitcher Blake Snell despite his rough start, and he was able to pitch three scoreless innings to set up the comeback.

Trailing 4-2 in the fifth inning, the Padres rattled off five runs, with Bell and Drury again delivering, as well as young star Juan Soto and catcher Austin Nola, who got his hit off his brother, Aaron Nola, who started on the mound for the Phillies.

Manny Machado put on the finishing touches with a 424-foot bomb in the seventh inning, before closer Josh Hader came in to put the Phillies away.

By striking out all three batters he faced – after doing the same in his last outing, and striking out his last two batters the time before that – he became the first pitcher in MLB history to strike out eight consecutive batters in the postseason.

Game 3 and Game 4 will both be played in San Diego, before heading back to Philadelphia for Game 5 in the best-of-seven series.

Verlander dices up the Yankees in Game 1

Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander showed why he is the heavy favourite to take home the American League Cy Young Award, pitching six dominant innings in his side's 4-2 win against the New York Yankees in Game 1.

Verlander struck out 11 batters while only allowing one run from three hits and a walk, with that one run coming from a Harrison Bader solo homer in the second inning to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. Bader did not hit a home run for the Yankees in the regular season after being acquired at the deadline, but now has four in his past six playoff games.

Their lead was short-lived as Martin Maldonado tied things up with an RBI double later in the second inning, before the Astros hit three solo home runs to jump out to a commanding lead.

Lourdes Gurriel and Chas McCormick went deep in the sixth inning, before rookie Jeremy Pena hit his fourth homer of the postseason to extend the lead to 4-1 in the seventh.

Anthony Rizzo would connect on a consolation home run in the eight inning, but Astros closer Ryan Pressly was up for the task, coming in to collect a four-out save with three strikeouts.

Game 2 will remain in Houston, before the series heads to New York for Game 3 and Game 4.

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Zack Wheeler was at his dominant best as he held the San Diego Padres scoreless through the first seven innings to set up a 2-0 road win in Game 1 of the NLCS.

With a trip to the World Series on the line, the Phillies got off to the perfect start thanks to starring performances from their marquee players.

Wheeler allowed only one hit and one walk in his seven innings, striking out eight batters, after a season where he posted the sixth-best ERA (2.82) in the National League.

His opposing number starting on the mound for the Padres, Yu Darvish, was not much worse, also pitching seven full innings, and while he only allowed three hits, two of them traveled over the fence to decide the game.

Two-time MVP Bryce Harper broke the scoreless tie in the fourth inning, connecting on a 368-foot home run to left-field, and teammate Kyle Schwarber dwarfed that distance with his home run in the sixth.

Schwarber – who finished the season second in the majors with 46 home runs – blasted his longest of the year with a 488-foot nuke into the upper deck at right-field.

In a pitching masterclass, there were only four combined hits in the game, and with his performance, Wheeler became only the second player to ever have a playoff game with seven shutout innings, at least seven strikeouts and no more than one hit in less than 100 pitches. The only other instance was Don Larsen's perfect game for the New York Yankees back in 1956.

Joe Musgrove was born in San Diego and has watched the Padres lose, lose and lose again against the Los Angeles Dodgers for his entire life.

When Musgrove was born in December 1992, the Dodgers had a 227-198 all-time lead in a regular season series in which they have never trailed. That gap has since increased to 509-418.

After returning to San Diego with the Padres in 2021, the pitcher has three losses and no wins in this matchup.

"Since I was a little kid, we've been getting beat up by the Dodgers," Musgrove said.

But on Saturday, that all changed, with Musgrove the starter as the Padres eliminated the best regular season Dodgers team of all from the NLDS.

San Diego had recovered from losing the first game of the series to the record-breaking 111-win Dodgers, leading 2-1 ahead of Game 4 at Petco Park.

However, through six and a half innings, it appeared LA would be recovering their hold over the Padres, ahead 3-0 in the middle of the seventh.

Then five hits and five runs in the bottom of that inning turned the tide, with Jake Cronenworth's go-ahead two-run single ultimately enough for a remarkable 5-3 win.

The Padres are going back to the NLCS for the first time since 1998 and are doing so having beaten a team who had swept their only previous postseason series in 2020 and dominated them 14-5 this year.

"These guys dominated us all year long, but we got hot at the right time," Musgrove added.

"And you see the unity in this group, this fan base.... we wanted to give it to these people so bad. It's a good feeling."

The Dodgers had been bidding to fulfil manager Dave Roberts' prediction of a World Series all year long, but they fell at the first hurdle in the playoffs.

"Shock factor, very high. Disappointment, very high. It's crushing," Roberts said afterwards.

"Each guy gave everything they had all year long, and [it was] a tremendous season. The great thing about baseball is the unpredictability, and the tough thing about it is the same thing.

"Nothing I can say is going to make it feel any better. Obviously we didn't expect to be in this position."

The San Diego Padres delivered an unbelievable five-run seventh-inning rally to progress to the NLCS for the first time in 24 years and end the Los Angeles Dodgers' record-breaking season prematurely.

The Padres had lost Game 1 of the NLDS and trailed 3-0 halfway through the seventh inning in Game 4 against the Dodgers, who have dominated them for the past decade and had notched a franchise-best 111-51 regular season.

But San Diego found a way in front of the largest crowd in Petco Park history, booking their maiden NLCS appearance since 1998, where they will take on the Philadelphia Phillies, after they beat the Atlanta Braves 8-3 on Saturday.

Jake Cronenworth delivered a go-ahead two-run single as the Padres rallied with five hits and five runs in the seventh inning after managing only four hits in six innings prior to that.

Freddie Freeman lined a two-run double in the third inning before Will Smith's seventh-inning sacrifice fly for Mookie Betts had put the Dodgers 3-0 up, the latter marking the first run the Padres bullpen had conceded all series.

San Diego responded in a crazy inning, with Austin Nola bouncing to the right side to plate Jurickson Profar, before Kim Ha-seong's left-field line drive drove in Trent Grisham to make it 3-2.

Juan Soto tied the game up with a shot into right field, before Jake Cronenworth's go-ahead two-run double turned the crowd raucous.

Closer Josh Hader struck out Freeman to clinch the win and slay the dragon from down the road at long last.

The defeat ended the campaign for the Dodgers, whose 111 regular-season wins were the fourth-most wins in MLB history and the most by a National League (NL) team since 1906.

Yankees facing elimination after Gonzalez walkoff

Oscar Gonzalez stole the show and the win for the Cleveland Guardians with a two-run single with two outs in the ninth inning to earn a 6-5 win over the New York Yankees and a 2-1 ALDS lead.

Gonzalez hit the walk-off shot when he lined a 1-2 pitch from Clarke Schmidt through the middle to bring home Stevan Kwan and Amed Rosario.

That came after the Yankees had rallied from an early 2-0 deficit as Aaron Judge snapped his postseason skid with a two-run home run. New York had carried a 5-3 lead into the ninth inning.

The Yankees bullpen flopped, meaning they are facing an early exit when the ALDS resumes on Sunday at Yankee Stadium.

Astros advance after Pena ends epic

Jeremy Pena blasted an 18th-inning solo shot to advance the Houston Astros to the ALCS for the sixth straight season, ending an epic 1-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners and completing the sweep.

Luis Garcia closed out six hours and 22 minutes of prolonged postseason action, after Pena sent Penn Murfee into the seats over left-center field with a 415-foot blast.

Mariners starting pitcher George Kirby had been brilliant with five strikeouts across seven innings, but Astros right-hander Lance McCullers Jr overcame illness to send down seven K's across six innings, while Houston's bullpen only allowed five hits and struck out 15.

The game was only the fourth to last 18 innings in MLB postseason history, and the first in postseason history to go scoreless through 17 innings. 

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts knows their remarkable regular season counts for nothing as they face elimination in the National League Division Series with the San Diego Padres.

The Padres took a 2-1 lead in the five-game series on Friday with a 2-1 win at Petco Park.

San Diego can clinch a place in the National League Championship Series with victory at the same venue on Saturday.

While the Padres had to come through a Wild Card series with the New York Mets, the Dodgers won the NL West and led the majors with 111 wins.

Asked about the contrast from dominating in the regular season to facing elimination, Roberts said: "It's where we're at. It was a very good regular season, but as we said before, none of that matters.

"We're in a five-game series against a very good ballclub that we're familiar with, and the team that plays the best baseball is going to win the series. And up to this point, they've played better than we have.

"I don't think the mentality changes [on Saturday]. It's certainly a game we have to win, win or go home. We're going to do everything we can to try to win a baseball game.

"So all hands on deck. And the core of this group has been in this position before, and we're going to approach it like it's the way it is.

"It's win or go home. We've got to play better baseball. When we do have opportunities to cash in, we've got to take advantage of them."

Padres manager Bob Melvin, meanwhile, is understandably desperate for his team to finish the job on Saturday and avoid having to play a series decider in Los Angeles.

"Pretty badly," Melvin said when asked how much he wanted to end the series in four games.

"I mean, you saw it out there. It was a pretty good atmosphere to play in. They had a big say in what went on today, too. It felt like the last couple innings there was so much momentum in the place that it was hard not to get it done.

"Obviously pitching was unbelievable tonight, but pretty much inspired the whole game. A lot of fun tonight. Be pretty similar probably tomorrow night, as well."

Trent Grisham's home run at the bottom of the fourth inning proved the decisive blow, the outfielder hitting his third homer of the postseason.

"I feel like hitting him in fourth, but he's doing well where he is, bottom of our order, is having a lot of production. We want to try to keep some consistency throughout. But he has the ability to do these things," Melvin said of Grisham.

"I think the thing that really is incredible is where he's gone to at the end of the season to where he is right now in the postseason.

"This is kind of who he is as a player, but it was a tough road getting there."

The record-setting Los Angeles Dodgers are on the brink of elimination from the MLB postseason after going down 2-1 to the San Diego Padres in Game 3 of the NLDS on Friday.

Jake Cronenworth's first-inning RBI and Trent Grisham's fourth-inning blast, his third of the playoffs, guided the Padres to a 2-1 series lead.

Josh Hader closed it out in the first postseason game with fans at Petco Park since 2006, striking out Chris Taylor and Trayce Thompson in the ninth inning to get the win.

The Dodgers finished the regular season with a franchise-best 111 wins, which was also the fourth-most wins in MLB history and the most by a National League (NL) team since 1906.

But Dave Roberts' side will need to stave off elimination in two games to progress to the NLCS, starting on Saturday at a likely rocking Petco Park.

The Padres went ahead early with Cronenworth's center-field base hit driving in Juan Soto, before some Manny Machado brilliance at third base closed out the third inning.

Grisham, who is hitting at .389 in the playoffs, blasted a solo shot over right field at the bottom of the fourth inning from Andrew Heaney to double the lead.

Thompson halved the deficit from Mookie Betts' sacrifice fly in the fifth inning, but the Padres bullpen got the job done again, with 39 outs for the series.

Hoskins and Harper blasts lead Phillies rout

The Philadelphia Phillies moved within one win of the NLCS after crushing world champions, the Atlanta Braves 9-1, fueled by third-inning blasts from Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper in their first home playoff game in 11 years.

The Phillies piled on six runs in the third inning, headlined by Hoskins ending his rut with a shot over left field, before Harper added two more with a homer over right-center field.

Harper, who is six-for-11 in this series, added an RBI double in the seventh inning before Nick Castellanos stayed hot at the next at-bat, driving in two more.

In-form Aaron Nola was exceptional on the mound for the Phillies, striking out six while giving up five hits and two walks in six-plus innings.

Bloops help Guardians down Yankees

The Cleveland Guardians squared up the ALDS with a 4-2 win in the 10th inning against the New York Yankees after back-to-back bloop hits.

Giancarlo Stanton had blasted a first-inning two-run homer but the Guardians rallied back with Amed Rosario's fifth-inning solo shot tying the game.

In the 10th inning, Jose Ramirez showed hustle to get to third base on a bloop into left-field, before getting home from Oscar Gonzalez's go-ahead single bloop to right-field. Josh Naylor's RBI double padded the lead.

The Guardians blunted Aaron Judge, who went none-for-five and was booed by the ruthless Yankees crowd, with starting pitcher Shane Bieber having seven K's across five-and-two-third innings.

Page 1 of 18
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.