The Los Angeles Dodgers had their six-game winning streak snapped by the Cincinnati Reds in MLB on Friday.

Already bound for the playoffs via at least a Wild Card berth, World Series champions the Dodgers were upstaged as the Reds won 3-1 in Cincinnati.

Luis Castillo outduelled Walker Buehler, striking out 10 batters, while he did not allow a runner past second base in 6.2 innings of work.

Castillo gave up five hits and two walks as Dodgers ace Buehler finished with three runs on six hits and two walks in six innings.

 

Yankees soar into Wild Card positions

The New York Yankees blanked the Cleveland Indians 8-0 behind two-time American League (AL) Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber, who produced six scoreless innings. Joey Gallo homered as the Yankees (83-65) leapfrogged the Toronto Blue Jays (82-65) for the second AL Wild Card position. The Boston Red Sox (84-65) are first in the AL Wild Card race following their 7-1 rout of the Baltimore Orioles.

Jarred Kelenic (22 years and 63 days) became the youngest Seattle Mariners hitter with a multi-homer game since Alex Rodriguez in 1996. The Mariners topped the Kansas City Royals 6-2.

The Tampa Bay Rays were 7-4 winners against the Detroit Tigers. Austin Meadows recorded his 100th RBI to become the first Rays player with a century of RBIs in a season since Evan Longoria in 2010.

Brandon Crawford tied a career high with his 21st home run of the season to guide the San Francisco Giants past the Atlanta Braves 6-5.

 

A century of defeats

The Arizona Diamondbacks suffered their 100th loss of the season, a 4-3 defeat to the Houston Astros after 10 innings. Arizona's only other 100-loss season came in 2004 when the franchise tallied 111 defeats.

The Orioles also crashed to defeat number 100 for the season. Baltimore have lost at least 100 games in each of the last three 162-game campaigns.

 

Guerrero homers… again

The Blue Jays went down 7-3 to the Minnesota Twins but Vladimir Guerrero Jr. stayed hot as he reclaimed the homer lead. He homered in a losing effort, tying Joe DiMaggio for the second most home runs (46) in a season by a player aged 22 or younger. Guerrero only trails Eddie Matthews (47).

 

Friday's results 

Seattle Mariners 6-2 Kansas City Royals
New York Yankees 8-0 Cleveland Indians
Colorado Rockies 9-8 Washington Nationals
Minnesota Twins 7-3 Toronto Blue Jays
Boston Red Sox 7-1 Baltimore Orioles
Tampa Bay Rays 7-4 Detroit Tigers
Cincinnati Reds 3-1 Los Angeles Dodgers
Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 New York Mets
Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1 Miami Marlins
Chicago White Sox 8-0 Texas Rangers
St Louis Cardinals 8-2 San Diego Padres
Houston Astros 4-3 Arizona Diamondbacks
Milwaukee Brewers 8-5 Chicago Cubs
Oakland Athletics 5-4 Los Angeles Angels
San Francisco Giants 6-5 Atlanta Braves

 

Dodgers at Reds

The Dodgers (94-54) will look to bounce back against the Reds (77-71) on Saturday. Dodgers ace Max Scherzer is set to start as the Reds send Sonny Gray to the mound.

Will Smith played a significant part in the Los Angeles Dodgers blowing a four-run seventh-inning lead Friday, but the catcher made up for it in the end. 

Smith's two-run homer in the 10th inning gave the visitors a 6-5 victory over the New York Mets, lifting the Dodgers to their fifth win in six games. 

Los Angeles had scratched out a 4-0 edge through the first six innings at Citi Field, scoring runs on a ground-rule double and three sacrifice flies. 

But the Mets came to life in the seventh, drawing within a run on RBI singles from Dominic Smith and Jeff McNeil. 

A passed ball by Smith allowed Pete Alonso to score the equaliser and that is how the game would remain heading into extra innings. 

With Max Muncy on second to start the 10th, Smith homered to left for a 6-4 lead, and that was enough for the Dodgers after Kenley Jansen escaped the bottom of the ninth with one run allowed. 

 

Braves back in first place

The Atlanta Braves waited out a three-hour, 12-minute rain delay before starting their game against the Washington Nationals, and it was well worth it as the visitors moved back into a tie for first place with a 4-2 win. After falling behind 2-0 in the first, Atlanta got solo home runs from Travis d'Arnaud, Ozzie Albies, Austin Riley and Dansby Swanson to regain a share of the top spot in the National League East with the Philadelphia Phillies. 

The Phillies also fell victim to the longball in a 6-1 home defeat to Cincinnati as the Reds got a three-run homer from Joey Votto, a two-run drive by Eugenio Suarez and a solo shot from Nick Castellanos. 

Rookie Jarred Kelenic drew a bases-loaded walk from Brad Hand in the bottom of the ninth to score the winning run as the Seattle Mariners downed the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 – Seattle's 10th successive game decided by two runs or fewer.  

Zack Greinke dominated the Los Angeles Angels, allowing two hits in seven shutout innings as the Houston Astros won 4-1 thanks to a Kyle Tucker grand slam in the fourth inning. 

Jack Flaherty was brilliant for the St Louis Cardinals in his first start since May 31 after recovering from a strained oblique muscle. The right-hander allowed just two hits and did not walk a batter while striking out five in a 6-0 defeat of the Kansas City Royals. 

Daulton Varsho's walk-off homer in the ninth gave the Arizona Diamondbacks a 3-2 win over the San Diego Padres. 

 

Cubs implode against Marlins

The Chicago Cubs needed three pitchers to get through an ugly 11-run second inning in a 14-10 loss to the Miami Marlins. Reliever Dan Winkler had the worst of it, facing seven batters and failing to retire any of them as he walked a batter, hit two others, and allowed four hits including a three-run homer by Alex Jackson. 

 

Run, Kevin, run!

The Tampa Bay Rays hit three balls over the fence in Minnesota on Friday, but Kevin Kiermaier provided the most exciting home run of the night in a 10-4 defeat of the Twins. 

 

Friday's results 

Cleveland Indians 7-4 Detroit Tigers
Cincinnati Reds 6-1 Philadelphia Phillies
Boston Red Sox 8-1 Baltimore Orioles
Los Angeles Dodgers 6-5 New York Mets
Miami Marlins 14-10 Chicago Cubs
Texas Rangers 8-6 Oakland Athletics
St Louis Cardinals 6-0 Kansas City Royals
Tampa Bay Rays 10-4 Minnesota Twins
Houston Astros 4-1 Los Angeles Angels
Arizona Diamondbacks 3-2 San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants 5-4 Colorado Rockies 
Seattle Mariners 3-2 Toronto Blue Jays
Atlanta Braves 4-2 Washington Nationals
Milwauke Brewers-Pittsburgh Pirates (postponed)
 

Orioles at Red Sox

Two years and two days after his last MLB start, seven-time All-Star Chris Sale will return from elbow surgery to start for the Boston Red Sox (67-51) against the Baltimore Orioles (38-76) at Fenway Park.

Tim Anderson hit a dramatic walk-off two-run homer to secure an 9-8 victory for the Chicago White Sox over the New York Yankees in MLB's Field of Dreams game in Iowa.

Trailing 8-7 at the bottom of the ninth inning, Anderson stepped up to deliver his 13th home run of the season into the surrounding corn fields. The seesawing contest saw eight home runs in a fitting display of hitting.

Jose Abreu hit the first MLB home run in Iowa with a moon shot into left-field at the bottom of the first inning.

Aaron Judge sent a ball into the corn at the top of the third inning with a three-run homer to give the Yankees the advantage.

Eloy Jimenez homered down the right-field line with a three-run shot to put the White Sox back on top.

The big hits continued with Seby Zavala flying a homer into right-field and Brett Gardner responding by homering in the sixth.

Judge homered again for the Yankees to bring it back to 7-6 at the top of the ninth, before Giancarlo Stanton put them ahead over left-field, only for Anderson's decisive blow from closer Zack Britton.

 

Shohei stars, Harper and Alonso homers

Shohei Ohtani came close to a second home run in consecutive games with a deep hit to center-field but impressed on the mound with five scoreless innings and six strikeouts in the Los Angeles Angels' 6-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

The match-up pitted MLB's leading home-run scorer Ohtani against second-placed Vladimir Guerrero Jr, who he kept relatively quiet, with only one hit from three at-bats.

Bryce Harper homered for the 21st time of the season, getting the Philadelphia Phillies off to a fast start in the first inning in a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Pete Alonso crushed a 358-foot walk-off solo home run to left-center field to clinch the New York Mets a 5-4 win over the Washington Nationals.

 

Indians routed in third straight loss

There is still plenty of time until the postseason but the Cleveland Indians' hopes of being part of it continue to slide after they suffered a third straight loss, going down 17-0 to the Oakland Athletics. The A's dined out at-bat, while the Indians only managed three hits for the game, slumping to their seventh loss from their past 10.

 

Pina slams in Brewers big win

After Corbin Burnes' record-equalling heroics on Wednesday, Manny Pina took the spotlight with a grand slam in the fifth inning opening up a 9-1 lead for the Milwaukee Brewers, who eventually won 17-4 over the Chicago Cubs. Pina finished the game with three hits, three runs and six RBI.

 

Thursday's results 

New York Mets 4-1 Washington Nationals
St Louis Cardinals 7-6 Pittsburgh Pirates
Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 Los Angeles Dodgers
Oakland Athletics 17-0 Cleveland Indians
Milwaukee Brewers 17-4 Chicago Cubs
New York Mets 5-4 Washington Nationals
Detroit Tigers 6-4 Baltimore Orioles
Tampa Bay Rays 8-1 Boston Red Sox
Seattle Mariners 3-1 Texas Rangers
Cincinnati Reds 12-3 Atlanta Braves
Chicago White Sox 9-8 New York Yankees
Los Angeles Angels 6-3 Toronto Blue Jays
Arizona Diamondbacks 12-3 San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants 7-0 Colorado Rockies
 

Astros at Angels

The 68-46 Houston Astros make the trip west to face the Los Angeles Angels, who are 58-58, in a big American League West clash as sides jostle for position.

The Boston Red Sox looked like they might get no-hit Sunday, but they ended up tormenting their biggest rivals once again. 

Boston erased a dominant showing by New York Yankees starter Domingo German, collecting their first hit of the game to open the eighth and scoring five times in the inning for a 5-4 win at Fenway Park.

The MLB-leading 32nd come-from-behind win for Boston was a mirror image of Saturday's game, which saw the Yankees rally for four in the eighth to win 4-3. 

Better yet, this one gave the Red Sox the series win and put them back in first place in the American League (AL) East division.

It was an outcome few would have anticipated after German struck out four Boston batters in the seventh inning (Xander Bogaerts reached first base on a passed ball on his strike three) to give him 10 for the game. 

But Alex Verdugo led off the eighth with a double that opened the floodgates for the Red Sox, chasing German from the game and beginning a string of  five straight hits that brought Boston within one. 

New York summoned their third pitcher of the inning, former All-Star closer Zack Britton, but Boston pushed the tying and go-ahead runs across the plate on a groundout and a sacrifice fly. 

Giancarlo Stanton made things interesting in the ninth with a two-out single, but Matt Barnes retired Rougned Odor to end the game. 

 

Lynn does it all for White Sox

Lance Lynn helped himself with a two-run single and shut down the Milwaukee Brewers for six innings as the Chicago White Sox avoided a sweep in the series matching the AL and NL Central division leaders with a 3-1 win. 

The Cleveland Indians got an RBI single from Harold Ramirez and a sacrifice fly from Bobby Bradley in the eighth to rally past the Tampa Bay Rays for a 3-2 victory. 

The Baltimore Orioles scored twice in the bottom of the ninth to pull out a 5-4 win over the Washington Nationals, completing a three-game sweep. The Orioles had been 0-51 when trailing after eight innings. 

Pete Alonso's two-run homer in the sixth tied the game and Jeff McNeil provided the go-ahead runs with a two-run double as the New York Mets downed the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4. 

Aaron Nola prevailed in a pitchers' duel with Touki Toussaint as the Philadelphia Phillies edged the Atlanta Braves 2-1.

Solo homers from Chris Taylor in the fifth and Will Smith in the eighth rallied the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 3-2 triumph over the Colorado Rockies. 

A seven-run fourth inning featuring homers by Harrison Bader and Dylan Carlson propelled the St Louis Cardinals to a 10-6 win over the Cincinnati Reds. 

 

Rangers drop 12th straight

Held to one run or fewer for the sixth time in 10 games since the All-Star break, the Texas Rangers fell 3-1 to the Houston Astros for their 12th consecutive defeat. 

 

Shohei smashes another one

With the game tied 2-2 in the sixth inning, Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani took an 85.3 mph pitch from Minnesota Twins reliever Danny Coulombe out of the park at 112.6 mph for his MLB-leading 35th home run this season on the way to a 6-2 win. 

 

Sunday's results

Chicago Cubs 5-1 Arizona Diamondbacks
Boston Red Sox 5-4 New York Yankees
Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 Atlanta Braves
Miami Marlins 9-3 San Diego Padres
Baltimore Orioles 5-4 Washington Nationals
St Louis Cardinals 10-6 Cincinnati Reds
New York Mets 5-4 Toronto Blue Jays
Los Angeles Angels 6-2 Minnesota Twins
Cleveland Indians 3-2 Tampa Bay Rays
Kansas City Royals 6-1 Detroit Tigers
Houston Astros 3-1 Texas Rangers
San Francisco Giants 6-1 Pittsburgh Pirates
Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 Colorado Rockies
Seattle Mariners 4-3 Oakland Athletics
Chicago White Sox 3-1 Milwaukee Brewers

 

Rockies at Angels

A pair of All-Stars will take the mound as German Marquez starts for the Colorado Rockies (43-56) against Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Angels (49-49) in Anaheim. 

The New York Yankees have been playing baseball since 1903, but their 2-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Friday was unique among those thousands of games. 

For the first time in franchise history, the Yankees turned a triple play and earned a walk-off win in the same game. 

After the White Sox put two runners on with nobody out in the top of the ninth inning, Yankees third baseman Gio Urshela started a triple play - the Yankees' first since 2014 - to end the threat. 

In the bottom of the inning, Gleyber Torres singled to left field to drive home Aaron Judge with the winning run. 

Torres had homered in the seventh to open the scoring after a brilliant pitchers' duel between New York's Jordan Montgomery and Chicago's Carlos Rodon. 

Rodon struck out 13 and allowed just two hits in six innings, while Jordan fanned 11 while allowing four hits in his seven scoreless innings. 

According to Stats Perform, it was the first time in the modern era both starting pitchers had at least 10 strikeouts while allowing no walks and no runs.

 

Bauer, Dodgers edge Giants

Trevor Bauer and two relievers held the San Francisco Giants to just two hits and Chris Taylor's two-run homer proved the difference in a 2-1 Los Angeles Dodgers win Friday. Bauer out-dueled San Francisco starter Alex Wood as the Dodgers won a one-run game for the first time since April 24 after dropping their past six one-run affairs. 

Entering Friday, Tampa Bay Rays catcher Francisco Mejia was one for 13 in his career with the bases loaded, the one hit a walk-off grand slam in September 2018 when he played for the San Diego Padres. He went deep again Friday against the Toronto Blue Jays, with a two-out grand slam in the 12th inning that ended up being enough for a 9-7 Rays win. It was the eighth consecutive victory for Tampa Bay. 

Ronald Acuna Jr and Ehire Adrianza each hit grand slams as the Atlanta Braves mauled the Pittsburgh Pirates 20-1. Atlanta hit seven home runs in total, becoming the first team with at least that many homers, including two grand slams, in MLB history, according to Stats Perform.

Miguel Cabrera hit two home runs, including a seventh-inning grand slam, to help the Detroit Tigers a 7-5 win over the Kansas City Royals. Cabrera has 491 career homers, two away from tying Lou Gehrig and Fred McGriff for 28th on the all-time list. 

Stephen Strasburg allowed just one hit to the 20 batters he faced in his first start since April 13, leading the Washington Nationals to a 4-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles in his return from a stint on the injured list with shoulder inflammation. 

Jesse Winker had three solo home runs for the Cincinnati Reds in their 9-4 win against the Milwaukee Brewers. 

 

Padres pound Flexen

Seattle Mariners starter Chris Flexen had picked up the win in three of his past four starts entering Friday but could not make it through two innings against the San Diego Padres. Flexen allowed 11 of the 16 Padres he faced to reach base, and eight of them scored on the way to a 16-1 Seattle loss. Flexen's ERA jumped from 3.46 to 5.09 in the process. 

 

Garcia gives Rangers the win

The Texas Rangers blew a 4-1 lead over the Houston Astros by allowing three in the eighth inning, then saw Houston go ahead in the 10th, but Adolis Garcia's walk-off home run gave the Rangers the win over their in-state rivals. It was the rookie's 12th homer of the season. 

 

Friday's results

Boston Red Sox 11-3 Philadelphia Phillies
Washington Nationals 4-2 Baltimore Orioles
New York Yankees 2-1 Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins 10-0 Cleveland Indians
New York Mets 6-5 Miami Marlins
Cincinnati Reds 9-4 Milwaukee Brewers
Atlanta Braves 20-1 Pittsburgh Pirates
Tampa Bay Rays 9-7 Toronto Blue Jays
Texas Rangers 7-5 Houston Astros
Detroit Tigers 7-5 Kansas City Royals
Chicago Cubs 12-3 St Louis Cardinals
Colorado Rockies 7-1 Arizona Diamondbacks
Oakland Athletics 8-4 Los Angeles Angels
Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1 San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres 16-1 Seattle Mariners

 

White Sox at Yankees

The New York Yankees (26-19) will try to extend their winning streak to five games as Gerrit Cole (5-2, 2.03 ERA) takes the mound against Dylan Cease (2-0, 2.41) and the Chicago White Sox (26-17). 

J.T. Realmuto hit a home run into deep left field as the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 4-3 in the MLB on Monday.

Trailing 1-0 at the bottom of the first, Realmuto hit his third home run of the season with a second tier two-run homer to put the Phillies 2-1 up.

For the Brewers, they welcomed back Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain from injury but that failed to fire their offense, which has not quite been on song this season.

Cain did return from his quadriceps injury with a lean-back home run in the first inning.

The Phillies improve to 14-15, while the Brewers are now 17-12.

 

Big homers from Laureano and Mullins

On a day where 21 home runs were scored, Ramon Laureano creamed a beauty for the Oakland Athletics in their 5-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

With scores 3-3 at the bottom of the fifth, Laureano made it three straight games with home runs to help his side to a 5-3 lead, which they hung on to.

Cedric Mullins got the ball rolling for the Baltimore Orioles as they scored five times in the eight inning in their 5-3 win over the Seattle Mariners.

Down 1-0 at the top of the eighth, Mullins hit a home run which just eluded Mitch Haniger in center-field.

The Los Angeles Angels went down 7-3 to the Tampa Bay Rays although Shohei Ohtani hit another home run to take his season tally to nine.

 

'How about that play!?'

Pittsburgh Pirates third-baseman Erik Gonzalez made a brilliant play diving to his right and firing to first base to run out Will Myers in the San Diego Padres' 2-0 win.

 

Lights out in St. Louis

With two out in the ninth inning, the lights quite literally went out at the Busch Stadium with batter Alex Reyes quickly backing away in the Cardinals' win over the Mets, although it was only a brief delay.

 

Monday's results

Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 Milwaukee Brewers
Minnesota Twins 6-5 Texas Rangers
St. Louis Cardinals 6-5 New York Mets
Cleveland Indians 8-6 Kansas City Royals
Tampa Bay Rays 7-3 Los Angeles Angels
Oakland Athletics 5-4 Toronto Blue Jays
San Diego Padres 2-0 Pittsburgh Pirates
Baltimore Orioles 5-3 Seattle Mariners 

 

Brewers at Phillies

There is a full fixture card on Tuesday including two double-headers, while the Philadelphia Phillies continue their series against the fast-starting Milwaukee Brewers.

The Milwaukee Brewers saw off the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1 on Friday to sit in first place at the end of April in the National League despite their mounting injury crisis.

Omar Narvaez appeared to sustain a left leg injury running to first base in the win, which improves the Brewers record to 16-10, while the Dodgers are 16-11.

The Brewers held the Dodgers to just two hits as their offensive woes continued to haunt them, losing for the ninth time in 12 games.

Freddy Peralta was excellent on the mound for the Brewers across six innings.

Milwaukee moved to a 2-0 lead at the bottom of the second, thanks to Jackie Bradley Jr's two-run homer.

 

Darvish back to his best

Veteran right-hander Yu Darvish was at his brilliant best with 12 strike-outs across six innings in the San Diego Padres' 3-2 triumph over the San Francisco Giants.

Darvish was giving a huge reception after stepping off the mound, showing he has quickly won over his new fans after his move from the Chicago Cubs.

It was a case of adding injury to insult as Kansas City Royals pitcher Brady Singer was hurt when he copped a line drive to the foot/heel in their 9-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

For the winners, Alex Kirilloff hit two home-runs, including a three-run homer to open up the lead.

Left-hander Madison Bumgarner bounced back from illness to land six strike-outs and lead the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 7-2 win over the Colorado Rockies.

The Boston Red Sox maintained their strong early season form with a 6-1 win over the Texas Rangers, while the Oakland Athletics went down 3-2 to the Baltimore Orioles.

Shohei Ohtani continues to deliver home runs for the Los Angeles Angels, with his eighth of the 2021 season in their 7-4 loss to the Seattle Mariners. He has scored as many in 2021 as he did across the whole 2020 season.

 

Alvarado gets lippy, benches cleared

The benches cleared in the Philadelphia Phillies' 2-1 win over the New York Mets after pitcher Jose Alvarado struck out Dominic Smith and then got chirpy. Alvarado dropped his glove and Smith did not back down so they had to be separated. It all felt  quite unnecessary.

 

Schwalk-off

Kyle Schwarber did it again with a walk-off home-run deep into the center field to secure the Washington Nationals their 2-1 win over the Miami Marlins.

 

Friday's results

St. Louis Cardinals 7-3 Pittsburgh Pirates
Washington Nationals 2-1 Miami Marlins
New York Yankees 10-0 Detroit Tigers
Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 New York Mets
Houston Astros 9-2 Tampa Bay Rays
Cincinnati Reds 8-6 Chicago Cubs
Toronto Blue Jays 13-5 Atlanta Braves
Boston Red Sox 6-1 Texas Rangers
Milwaukee Brewers 3-1 Los Angeles Dodgers
Cleveland Indians 5-3 Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins 9-1 Kansas City Royals
Arizona Diamondbacks 7-2 Colorado Rockies
Baltimore Orioles 3-2 Oakland Athletics
Seattle Mariners 7-4 Los Angeles Angels
San Diego Padres 3-2 San Francisco Giants

 

Astros at Rays

Last season's Atlantic League top two the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays will meet again in their series.

The San Diego Padres rallied for a 5-2 victory as MLB World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers had their eight-game winning streak ended.

In the blockbuster National League (NL) West showdown, the Dodgers had won the opening two games away to the Padres.

But the Padres – who had lost seven straight games against the Dodgers – avoided a series sweep on Sunday, Eric Hosmer starring to help the hosts recover from a two-run deficit in the final game.

Hosmer hit a tying double in the seventh inning before adding the go-ahead single in the eighth to sink the Dodgers at Petco Park in San Diego.

"It certainly has created a rivalry," Hosmer said after the Padres were eliminated by the Dodgers en route to their World Series victory in 2020. "I don't know if I could have said that my first couple years here, but there certainly is a rivalry now. … It's just the start of it.

"It's going to be fun all year getting to play those guys, and if we get to where we want to go, we understand it's going to go through them. We welcome the challenge."

 

Bieber makes history

Cleveland Indians ace Shane Bieber is enjoying another stellar season. He became the first pitcher with 10-plus strikeouts in each of his first four starts of a season since 1983 in Cleveland's 6-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds. The reigning American League (AL) Cy Young winner had 13 strikeouts across eight innings to become the first pitcher in franchise history to record six consecutive double-digit-strikeout performances. He also tied Nolan Ryan for the most strikeouts (48) through four appearances in a season since at least 1906.

Guillermo Heredia became the first Atlanta Braves player to have six-plus RBI in a game from the number eight spot in the line-up since RBI became an official stat in 1920, per Stats Perform. The Braves crushed the Chicago Cubs 13-4 after the latter won by the same scoreline on Saturday. It is the second time in MLB history that back-to-back games in a series ended with the same 13-4 scoreline. The other came in 1936, when the Phillies and Cardinals traded 13-4 victories in a doubleheader.

 

Yankees lose fifth straight

The New York Yankees are in a rut. The storied franchise were swept by AL East rivals the Tampa Bay Rays following a 4-2 loss in New York. The Yankees suffered a fifth consecutive defeat as they fell to an AL-worst 5-10, their poorest start since 1997.

 

The Stro-show!

Marcus Stroman showed why he is a former Gold Glove Award winner with a stunning behind-the-back play on the mount in the eighth inning – the New York Mets ace combining with Pete Alonso in ridiculous fashion to beat Josh Fuentes at first base. The Mets edged the Colorado Rockies 2-1.

 

Sunday's results

Arizona Diamondbacks 5-2 Washington Nationals
Philadelphia Phillies 2-0 St Louis Cardinals
Tampa Bay Rays 4-2 New York Yankees
Chicago White Sox 3-2 Boston Red Sox
Chicago White Sox 5-1 Boston Red Sox
Cleveland Indians 6-3 Cincinnati Reds
San Francisco Giants 1-0 Miami Marlins
Pittsburgh Pirates 6-5 Milwaukee Brewers
Kansas City Royals 2-0 Toronto Blue Jays
Texas Rangers 1-0 Baltimore Orioles
New York Mets 2-1 Colorado Rockies
Oakland Athletics 3-2 Detroit Tigers
Seattle Mariners 7-2 Houston Astros
San Diego Padres 5-2 Los Angeles Dodgers
Atlanta Braves 13-4 Chicago Cubs
Minnesota Twins-Los Angeles Angels (postponed)

 

Dodgers at Mariners

The Dodgers (13-3) will look to return to winning ways when they visit the Mariners (10-6) on Monday. Dustin May starts for the Dodgers as the Mariners counter with Justus Sheffield.

Opening Day.

A term synonymous with baseball across the United States and the globe. For fans, it is nothing short of a national holiday.

The highly anticipated start to the season on April 1 is an occasion steeped in history, with tradition front and centre.

This year's Opening Day means more than most. It is the latest signal of American life and sport returning to normal amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The coronavirus pandemic led to an enforced break and a reduced 60-game regular season schedule behind closed doors, with a limited number of fans allowed to attend the playoffs as the Los Angeles Dodgers went on to end their 32-year World Series drought.

But 2021 will see the return of the usual 162-game calendar and more importantly, spectators in the stands. All but one of the 30 teams will start at reduced capacity – the Texas Rangers hosting a full house for their home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays.

As America's pastime begins anew, we preview the upcoming season, in which the Dodgers look to defend their World Series crown, using Stats Perform data.
 

Kershaw gears up for a franchise-record start

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw – entering the final season of his three-year, $93million deal – will be on the mound when the Dodgers open their title defence against the Colorado Rockies.

It will be Kershaw's ninth Opening Day start – the most in franchise history – after injuries prevented him from beginning the 2019 and 2020 campaigns, the eight-time All-Star getting the nod ahead of Walker Buehler and high-profile recruit Trevor Bauer, the reigning National League (NL) Cy Young winner.

Future Hall of Famer Kershaw boasts a 5-1 record on Opening Day, with a 1.05 ERA (6/51.2), 59 strikeouts and eight walks. The 2014 NL MVP's only loss came in his previous start in 2018 as he allowed eight hits and one earned run, while tallying seven strikeouts in six innings against the San Francisco Giants.

Since 1913, when ERA became an official stat, Kershaw has managed the lowest Opening Day figure among pitchers with six starts – 1.05. The 32-year-old's ERA is ahead of Bob Feller (1.21), Jim Palmer (1.40), Hal Newhouser (1.41) and Walter Johnson (1.51).

As for the star-studded Dodgers, they are 74-62 (.544) all-time on Opening Day, winning nine of their 10 season openers since 2011, losing only in 2018.

Their 9-1 (.900) Opening Day record over this stretch is the best in the league, ahead of the Houston Astros (8-2), Baltimore Orioles (8-2), Seattle Mariners (7-3), Detroit Tigers (7-3) and New York Mets (7-3).
 

All eyes on Tatis and Padres

Fernando Tatis Jr. heads into the 2021 season fresh off signing his eye-popping 14-year, $340m contract with the San Diego Padres.

The Padres – winners of two NL pennants – are pinning their hopes on MLB's new poster boy delivering a first World Series to San Diego.

Tatis won a Silver Slugger award last year, having hit .277 with 17 home runs and 45 RBIs in the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season.

The powerful 22-year-old is the first player in MLB history to have at least 35 home runs and 25 stolen bases within the first 150 games of his career.

Tatis – the youngest Padres player to debut on Opening Day (20 years and 85 days) in 2019 – became the fastest player in franchise history (24 team games) to reach the double-digit home run mark in a season in 2020 after hitting his 10th and 11th homers in August.

In the postseason, Tatis homered twice against the St Louis Cardinals in October, becoming the youngest Padre to ever homer in a playoff game (21 years and 273 days) and the third-youngest player in MLB history to homer twice in a postseason match, behind Carlos Correa (21 and 20 days old) and Andruw Jones (19 years, 180 days old).

When it comes to on-base plus slugging, Tatis stacks up well. Since 1920, Tatis (150.8) is only behind Juan Soto (153.9 – 2018-20), Albert Pujols (159.3 – 2001), Jimmie Foxx (160.0 – 1925-29), Ted Williams (161.5 – 1939-40) and Trout (165.0 – 2011-13) for highest OPS-plus up until the age of 21.

Across his two Opening Day appearances, Tatis has three hits in seven at-bats and two runs while slugging at .571. The Padres will be hoping he can improve on that when they host face the Arizona Diamondbacks.

By comparison, Philadelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper and New York Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton love Opening Day.

Harper – the 2015 NL MVP and six-time All-Star – has nine hits, five homers and six runs in eight appearances, while 2017 NL MVP Stanton has 13 hits, four homers, 10 runs and 12 RBIs through 10 games.

Blue Jays recruit George Springer, a World Series winner with the Astros, has also impressed on Opening Day following five hits, three homers and six RBIs in six games.
 

Can Abreu and Freeman go back-to-back?

Chicago White Sox star Jose Abreu was crowned the American League's best in 2020.

Becoming the 28th player to win both the MVP and Rookie of the Year in his career, Abreu beat Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians and Yankees star DJ LeMahieu.

Abreu – the fourth White Sox player to win the award – was second in MLB with 19 home runs and fourth in the AL with a .317 batting average.

Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves trumped Dodgers star Mookie Betts and Padres sensation Manny Machado to the NL honour.

Freeman's 1.102 OPS was the second highest in MLB, trailing only Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto, while he led the majors with 51 runs scored and was second in the NL in batting average (.341), on-base percentage (.462) and slugging percentage (.640).

Does it bode well for the pair in 2020?

In a season after winning the MVP award, a player averages 135.9 hits, 21.5 homers, 80.5 runs and 79.5 RBIs with a slugging percentage of .516.

There have been 13 players to win back-to-back MVPs; 11-time All-Star Miguel Cabrera (AL) was the last to do so in 2012 and 2013. The most recent player in the NL was Albert Pujols (2008-09).
 

The end of Cleveland as we know them

After 106 years, this will be the last season the franchise will be known as the Indians, following the example of the NFL's Washington Football Team, who dropped their Redskins nickname in 2020 amid a long-time controversy.

Since 1915, Cleveland have won two World Series – in 1920 and 1948 – with their current streak of 71 seasons without a World Series title the longest active run in the majors.

In 1954, Cleveland went 111-43 (.721) in the regular season, before being swept in the World Series by the Giants. It stands as the highest single-season win percentage in AL history, and the best by any MLB team in the past 100 years.

Cleveland have had a winning record in each of the past eight seasons (2013-20), making them one of four MLB teams with an active streak of eight-plus (also Yankees 28, Cardinals 13, Dodgers 10). It is tied for the second-longest streak of winning seasons in franchise history (10 straight 1947-56; eight in a row 1994-2001).

Three Cleveland players have won the AL MVP Award – George Burns (1926), Lou Boudreau (1948) and Al Rosen (1953) – while five have claimed the AL Cy Young Award: Gaylord Perry (1972), C.C. Sabathia (2007), Cliff Lee (2008), Corey Kluber (2014 and 2017) and Shane Bieber (2020).

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