The Los Angeles Dodgers and their pursuit of back-to-back World Series championships remains alive after conquering the St Louis Cardinals via a 3-1 walk-off victory in the National League (NL) Wild Card showdown.

With a date against the San Francisco Giants in the NL Division Series on the line, Chris Taylor hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to take down the Cardinals in walk-off fashion and progress to the MLB playoffs on Wednesday.

One out away from extra innings in Los Angeles, Taylor went deep off Alex Reyes to spark wild celebrations at Dodger Stadium midweek.

According to Stats Perform, Taylor became the second player in MLB history to hit a walk-off home run in a winner-takes-all playoff game despite not starting. The other was Aaron Boone in Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series (ALCS).

The Cardinals got on the board early, Tommy Edman scoring on Max Scherzer's wild pitch in the opening inning. Dodgers ace Scherzer gave up three hits, one run while striking out four in 4.1 innings.

Edman became the first player in MLB history to have three-plus hits and two or more stolen bases in a winner-takes-all playoff game, according to Stats Perform.

The Dodgers levelled things up in the fourth inning – Justin Turner's 401-foot homer sailing into the crowd off Adam Wainwright, who struck out five batters as he allowed one run on four hits in 5.1 innings.

There was nothing between the two franchises until Taylor stepped up to the mound and produced the game-winning homer at the death.

The Dodgers will now resume hostilities with NL West champions the Giants, who ended their streak of eight consecutive division crowns, starting in San Francisco on Friday.

 

Red Sox at Rays

The AL Division Series will get underway as the Tampa Bay Rays host the Boston Red Sox in Game 1 in the best-of-five matchup on Thursday. Elsewhere, the Chicago White Sox will also visit the Houston Astros in the American League.

Shohei Ohtani hammered his 43rd home run of the 2021 MLB season to lead the Los Angeles Angels to a 4-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Saturday.

The Japanese two-way star delivered the homer with the Angels leading 1-0 and runners on first and second at the bottom of the sixth inning.

Ohtani skied his three-run shot over center field from his first Kolby Allard pitch to set up with the win.

The homer was crushed with 107.2 mph exit velocity and travelled a projected 426 feet, per Statcast.

Ohtani now leads the MLB for home runs with 43, three ahead of in-form Kansas City Royals slugger Salvador Perez, with Toronto Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr third on 39.

The 27-year-old is homing in on history, with no Angels player ever ending a season top of the HR charts, while he may eclipse Troy Glaus' franchise record of 47 from 2000.

The win improves the Angels record to 67-68 but they are well back in fourth in the American League (AL) West and Wild Card race.

 

Perez hits homers 39 and 40

Ohtani may have padded his MLB home run lead, but Perez moved into second spot with his 39th and 40th blasts in the Royals' 10-7 loss to the Chicago White Sox.

Perez produced the home-run double despite a neck contusion which prevented him from catching.

Alex Verdugo walked it off for the depleted Boston Red Sox with a hit to deep right-field as they won 4-3 over the Cleveland Indians, with Rafael Devers homering earlier. The Red Sox are 79-59 and second in the AL Wild Card race.

Adrian Houser sent down the Milwaukee Brewers' first shut-out in seven years as they defeated the St Louis Cardinals 4-0. Houser had seven strikeouts and allowing only three hits.

Trea Turner and Corey Seager hit homers as the Los Angeles Dodgers won 6-1 over the San Francisco Giants to improve their Wild Card hopes, while Kyle Seager blasted the Seattle Mariners to a 8-5 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks to stay in the hunt.

The Toronto Blue Jays survived a late scare as the Oakland Athletics piled on five ninth-inning run to win 10-8 and boost their Wild Card aspirations.

 

Yankees almost held hitless

The New York Yankees had not been held hitless in a game since June 11 2003 but they appeared destined to end that run near the end of the seventh inning against the lowly Baltimore Orioles on Saturday. Gleyber Torres delivered a seventh-inning RBI single after 25 Yankees were held hitless. Joey Gallo then had an eighth-inning two-run homer but the Orioles won on Pedro Severino's sacrifice fly in a blow to the Yankees' Wild Card hopes.

 

Rays' rookie Wander keeps streak going

It seems like there is no stopping Tampa Bay Rays' rookie Wander Franco, after he extended his historic on-base streak to 34 games with an RBI single in his side's 11-4 win over the Minnesota Twins. Franco, who was absent on Friday due to a headache, had two runs with an RBI double on Saturday.

 

Saturday's results 

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

 

Dodgers at Giants

It is hard to look past the Giants and Dodgers meeting again in the third and final game of their series.

The San Francisco Giants reclaimed the National League (NL) West lead with a dramatic 3-2 walk-off victory over rivals and World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Sole possession of top spot was on the line as the Giants and Dodgers clashed in a heavyweight MLB showdown in San Francisco on Friday.

The score was deadlocked at 2-2 until a bizarre walk-off throwing error lifted the Giants past the Dodgers in the 11th inning.

With the bases loaded in the 11th and two outs, Buster Posey appeared to have hit an inning-ending groundout, but Trea Turner's throw went wide of Will Smith, whose toe came off the bag.

Posey was initially ruled safe, and it stayed that way despite a lengthy Dodgers (85-50) review – the Giants (86-49) moving back to the top of the NL West again.

 

Comeback of the year?

The Toronto Blue Jays emerged from the jaws of defeat in stunning fashion, somehow conquering the Oakland Athletics 11-10. Toronto – chasing the last Wild Card spot – trailed 8-2 entering the eighth inning at home to fellow playoff hopefuls the A's. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit a game-tying grand slam after a two-out rally. Mark Canha's two-run homer restored Oakland's advantage in the top of the ninth, but Marcus Semien delivered an incredible walk-off three-run homer in the bottom of the inning. Gurriel became just the third Blue Jays player ever to hit three grand s lams in a season after Edwin Encarnacion (2015) and Darrin Fletcher (2000).

The Detroit Tigers lit up the Cincinnati Reds 15-5 behind Dustin Garneau's two-run homer and solo shot, plus Robbie Grossman's three-run blast.

Kyle Schwarber hit a lead-off homer in the opening inning to fuel the Boston Red Sox's 8-5 victory at home to the Cleveland Indians. Hunter Renfroe added a three-run homer for the Red Sox, who have won three straight games.

 

Keuchel's woes continue

Dallas Keuchel struggled again as the Chicago White Sox went down 7-2 to the Kansas City Royals. Keuchel allowed six runs in three innings – the 2015 American League (AL) Cy Young winner has a 7.26 ERA through his past 11 starts. He gave up five earned runs, seven hits and two walks with just one strikeout against the Royals.

 

Arenado homers twice as Wainwright and Molina celebrate milestone

St Louis Cardinals star Nolan Arenado recorded his 21st multi-homer game since entering the majors in 2013 – tied for the second most alongside Bryce Harper in the NL in that span, behind Giancarlo Stanton (22). The Cardinals crushed the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers 15-4. Cardinals team-mates Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina started together for the 300th time – the fourth most prolific battery in history.

 

Friday's results 

Chicago Cubs 6-5 Pittsburgh Pirates
New York Yankees 4-3 Baltimore Orioles
New York Mets 6-2 Washington Nationals
Toronto Blue Jays 11-10 Oakland Athletics
Boston Red Sox 8-5 Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers 15-5 Cincinnati Reds
Tampa Bay Rays 5-3 Minnesota Twins
Miami Marlins 10-3 Philadelphia Phillies
Kansas City Royals 7-2 Chicago White Sox
St Louis Cardinals 15-4 Milwaukee Brewers
Colorado Rockies 4-3 Atlanta Braves
Los Angeles Angels 3-2 Texas Rangers
Seattle Mariners 6-5 Arizona Diamondbacks
Houston Astros 6-3 San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants 3-2 Los Angeles Dodgers

 

A's at Blue Jays

With both teams vying for a Wild Card berth, the Blue Jays (71-62) and Athletics (74-61) will continue their series on Saturday. Jose Berrios will start for the Blue Jays as the A's counter with Paul Blackburn.

Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Corbin Burnes tied a major league record with 10 consecutive strikeouts as he finished with 15 K's in their 10-0 win over the Chicago Cubs in the MLS on Wednesday.

Burnes dominated for the Brewers on the mound, tossing 15 strikeouts across eight innings, only allowing four hits, completely blanketing the Cubs from the second to fifth innings.

After a 7-0 first inning for the Brewers, the 26-year-old right-hander came into his own starting in the second inning when he got his first strikeout of the game to Frank Schwindel.

Burnes' run kept on going, reaching a franchise-record eight straight strikeouts with a 97mph pitch to Willson Contreras in the fourth.

He added another to Ian Happ and rounded it out in the fifth by striking out Schwindel again to complete 10 straight.

Burnes joins Tom Seaver and Aaron Nola in MLB’s record books, with the latter also achieving the consecutive feat this season on June 25 against the New York Mets.

The records did not stop there, with the 15 strikeouts being a career-high for Burnes. That was the most K's without a walk in Brewers history and also the biggest Milwaukee shutout win in franchise history.

 

Ohtani ends home-run drought

Two-way Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani ended his 14-game home-run drought with a two-run homer in his side's 10-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. The home run was Ohtani's 38th of the season.

Ohtani's form had dipped since the All-Star break, managing only five home runs in 81 at-bats, with no RBI since July 31 until Wednesday's return.

Evergreen Adam Wainwright threw a shutout in a 4-0 win for the St Louis Cardinals over the Pittsburgh Pirates, pitching all nine innings, allowing only two hits with seven strikeouts.

To add to Wainwright's perfect game, he also had an RBI of his own. It was his 11th shutout of his career and first since 2016.

Ozzie Albies hit a walk-off homer to lift the Atlanta Braves into equal first as they triumphed 8-6 over the Cincinnati Reds, after blowing a 5-0 lead.

Trailing 3-2, Elvis Andrus and Jed Lowrie hit eighth-inning home runs to lift the Oakland Athletics to a 6-3 win over the Cleveland Indians.

 

Rays nightmare as Randy misses fly-ball

It was a bad game for the Tampa Bay Rays who lost 20-8 to the Boston Red Sox, with starting pitcher Josh Fleming conceding 11 hits and 10 earned runs into the fourth inning before being pulled. In that context, the Rays did not need right-fielder Randy Arozarena to fluff a routine fly-ball catch, allowing three more runs in the fifth inning to trail 14-0.

 

Miggy moves up to 499

With scores locked at 0-0 in the fifth inning, up stepped Miguel Cabrera to nail a home run over center-field. The homer not only broke the deadlock in the Detroit Tigers' 5-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles but it took Cabrera's career home-run tally up to 499, one away from joining an illustrious club, alongside 27 others.

 

Wednesday's results 

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

 

Tigers at Orioles

Tigers manager A.J. Hinch has declared Cabrera will play in Thursday's series-finale against the Orioles, with the 500 home run milestone on the cards.

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