Shohei Ohtani has confirmed he is to join the Los Angeles Dodgers on what is reportedly a record-breaking contract after ending his six-year spell with the LA Angels.

The 29-year-old Japanese free agent, who is said to have agreed a 700million US dollars (£558m) 10-year deal which would make him the highest earner in major league baseball history, ended fevered speculation over his destination in a social media post on Saturday night.

Ohtani, the reigning American League Most Valuable Player, wrote on his official Instagram account: “To all the fans and everyone involved in the baseball world, I apologize for taking so long to come to a decision. I have decided to choose the Dodgers as my next team.


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“First of all, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everyone involved with the Angels organization and the fans who have supported me over the past six years, as well as to everyone involved with each team that was part of this negotiation process.


“Especially to the Angels fans who supported me through all the ups and downs, your guys’ support and cheer meant the world to me. The six years I spent with the Angels will remain etched in my heart forever.

“And to all Dodgers fans, I pledge to always do what’s best for the team and always continue to give it my all to be the best version of myself.

“Until the last day of my playing career, I want to continue to strive forward not only for the Dodgers, but for the baseball world.”

Gabriel Moreno highlighted a six-run first against Clayton Kershaw with a three-run homer and the Arizona Diamondbacks rolled to a stunning 11-2 rout of the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 1 of the NL Division Series.

Tommy Pham had four hits with a homer and Corbin Carroll and Alek Thomas also went deep for Arizona, which is 3-0 in these playoffs – all on the road.

Arizona wasted no time jumping on Kershaw, who gave up a leadoff double to Ketel Marte and an RBI single to Carroll before Christian Walker’s double made it 2-0.

Moreno followed with a blast over the wall in left field to extend the lead to 5-0 and after a groundout and Thomas’ walk, Evan Longoria doubled home another run.

Kershaw – a three-time Cy Young Award winner - was relieved by Emmet Sheehan after he was tagged for six runs and six hits while recording just one out.

He had never made a start where he pitched less than one inning.

Carroll led off the second with a home run and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. added an RBI double before Longoria’s sacrifice fly upped the advantage to 9-0.

Merrill Kelly didn’t need all the offensive support, as he allowed three hits in 6 1/3 scoreless innings for his first win against the Dodgers.

He entered 0-11 with a 5.49 ERA in 16 starts against them.

Thomas homered in the seventh and Pham’s blast in the eighth made it 11-0.

Will Smith had a two-run triple in the eighth to get Los Angeles on the board.


Harper homers, Phillies shut out Braves

Bryce Harper’s home run backed a stellar pitching performance, and the Philadelphia Phillies stifled the MLB-best Atlanta Braves 3-0 in Game 1 of the NL Division Series on Saturday night.

Wild-card series hero Bryson Stott broke a scoreless tie with a run-scoring single off Spencer Strider in the fourth.

Harper took Strider deep in the sixth to make it 2-0 and the Phillies tacked on another run in the eighth when catcher’s interference was called against Sean Murphy.

After the call was reviewed and upheld, there was a brief delay when a handful of fans threw rubbish on the field.

The Phillies took a 1-0 lead over the Braves in the NLDS for the second consecutive season after they upset Atlanta 3-1 on an improbable run to the 2022 World Series.

Ranger Suarez limited the 104-win Braves to one hit in 3 2/3 innings and Jeff Hoffman escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fourth.

Seranthony Dominguez struck out the side in the fifth and Jose Alvarado, rookie Orion Kerkering, Matt Strahm and Craig Kimbrel shut down Atlanta the rest of the way.

Strider, the majors’ only 20-game winner this season, allowed two runs and five hits over seven innings with two walks and eight strikeouts.


Alvarez hits 2 home runs as Astros beat Twins

Yordan Alvarez homered twice, and Justin Verlander pitched six scoreless innings to lead the defending World Series champion Houston Astros to a 6-4 win over the Minnesota Twins in an AL Division Series opener.

Jose Altuve led off the bottom of the first with a home run and Alvarez finished with three RBIs to help Houston win its 10th straight in Game 1 of a Division Series.

The 40-year-old Verlander allowed four hits with three walks and six strikeouts for his 17th career playoff win, most among active pitchers.

Minnesota rallied against Hector Neris in the seventh, with Jorge Polanco providing the big hit with a three-run homer. Two pitches later, Royce Lewis belted his third home run in three playoff games to get the Twins within 5-4.

Alvarez connected off Caleb Thielbar in the bottom half to extend Houston’s lead.

The Houston slugger took starter Bailey Ober deep in the third for a two-run shot for a 3-0 advantage.


Rangers’ bullpen holds off Orioles

Five Texas relievers kept the Baltimore Orioles in check and the Rangers held on for a 3-2 victory in their AL Division Series opener.

Third baseman Josh Jung homered and came up with a key defensive play as the Rangers improved to 3-0 in these playoffs – all on the road.

After Dane Dunning gave up Anthony Santander’s solo home run in the sixth to cut Texas’ lead to 3-2, Will Smith, Josh Sborz, Aroldis Chapman and Jose Leclerc combined for the final 10 outs.

Chapman walked the first two batters in the eighth before Jung ranged to his left and snagged Santander’s bouncer on a short hop to start a 5-4-3 double play.

Chapman then struck out Ryan Mountcastle with a runner on third to end the inning.

The San Francisco Giants recorded their first sweep of a three-game series at Dodger Stadium in over a decade with Sunday's 7-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Logan Webb threw seven effective innings and LaMonte Wade Jr. and Luis Matos each had two RBIs as the surging Giants swept a three-game series from their storied rivals on the road for the first time since Aug. 20-22, 2012.

San Francisco has now won seven in a row overall and is 22-9 since May 15, the best record in the major leagues over that span. The Giants have also won nine straight on the road for the first time since April 23-May 15, 1966.

Webb won his second straight start by allowing two runs while scattering eight hits and two walks.

The slumping Dodgers left 11 on base and finished 2 of 13 with runners in scoring position in their fourth loss in five games. Tony Gonsolin struck out seven in 5 2/3 innings for Los Angeles but was tagged for seven runs. 


Resurgent Reds finish sweep of Astros, extend win streak to eight

The upstart Cincinnati Reds continued an impressive run of their own with Sunday's 9-7, 10-inning win over the Houston Astros that completed a three-game series sweep of the defending World Series champions.

Cincinnati scored three times in the top of the 10th en route to its eighth consecutive victory, the team's longest winning streak since a 10-game surge in July 2012.

Jake Fraley led the Reds' offensively by going 2 for 4 with a home run and three RBIs. Spencer Steer added a two-run homer and Jonathan India had a solo shot for CIncinnati, which is now 13-2 on the road since May 26.

Alex Bregman and Yainer Diaz each went 3 for 5 with an RBI in the struggling Astros' ninth loss in 12 games.


Red Sox sweep doubleheader, series from rival Yankees

Brayan Bello struck out a career-high eight over seven outstanding innings to lead the Boston Red Sox to a 4-1 win over the New York Yankees that completed a doubleheader and series sweep of their longtime rivals.

In Sunday's opener, Connor Wong and Alex Verdugo had consecutive two-out RBI doubles during a three-run sixth inning that lifted Boston to a 6-2 victory. Verdugo added two hits and two runs scored in the nightcap, with one of those runs coming on a catchers' interference call in the fourth inning.

The Red Sox rolled to a 15-5 rout in Friday's series opener and have now taken five of six meetings from the Yankees this season. Boston went 6-13 against New York in 2022 and last swept a three-game series between the two AL East foes in June 2021.

Bello held the Yankees to one run on four hits while walking three, while Kenley Jansen fanned two in a scoreless ninth to record his 15th save.

Gleyber Torres accounted for all of New York's scoring in the opener with a two-run homer in the first inning. The Yankees have lost four in a row and are 4-8 since 2022 American League MVP Aaron Judge hurt his toe on June 3 and subsequently went on the injured list. 


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