The San Diego Padres are "optimistic" star Fernando Tatis Jr. will return for Friday's showdown with MLB World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Tatis – who signed an eye-popping 14-year, $340million contract extension with the Padres before the start of the season – has been on the injured list since suffering a subluxation of his left shoulder on April 5.

But the 22-year-old shortstop is poised to make his comeback, according to Padres manager Jayce Tingler.

"He took a live [batting practice] today," Tinger told reporters on Thursday. "Probably had his best day today as far as the at-bats.

"We have to go over a couple of things with the medical team.

"We're optimistic that he has a good chance to be ready to play tomorrow."

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

He 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 packs a punch with the bat – he led the majors in average exit velocity (95.9 mph), hard hit percentage (62.2), and balls hit 95-plus MPH (102) last season.

 

Akil Baddoo is the name on everyone's lips.

Baddoo has shattered records from his very first pitch in MLB this month amid an incredible rise from unheralded Rule 5 pick to the biggest sensation in baseball.

The 22-year-old Detroit Tigers outfielder is already the first player in modern MLB history (dating back to 1901) to hit a grand slam, another home run and a walk-off hit in his first three career games.

But Baddoo's story is one of perseverance. Let's rewind back to May 2019. He was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery.

If sitting out the 2019 campaign was not bad enough, he missed last season when the minor leagues were shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

During the winter's Rule five draft in December, Baddoo was taken by the Tigers, having initially been drafted out of high school by the Minnesota Twins in 2016.

The Rule 5 draft aims at preventing franchises from stockpiling too many young players on their minor league affiliate teams when other clubs would be prepared to play them in the major leagues. If chosen, a player must be kept on the selecting team's major league active roster for the entire season.

"If you think about it, he's gone through so much," Baddoo's mother Akilah said. "And then this opportunity came, and it was like, 'This can't be a joke. There's a plan for you. You got to know that'."

In the least likely of places, the Tigers appear to have landed a gem, and Baddoo is making the most of his opportunity, immediately becoming a cult hero in Detroit.

Baddoo had 233 career minor leagues games to his name, but none above Class A as he earned a place on the Opening Day roster after hitting .325 in Spring Training with five home runs. However, the Maryland native looked like a man for the big stage.

In his opening at-bat on April 4, Baddoo homered in a memorable maiden outing for the Tigers, driving to left field in the bottom of the third inning against the Cleveland Indians.

"I'm just living in the moment," Baddoo said post-game after becoming the ninth player in Tigers franchise history to hit a home run in his first major league at-bat and only the second to do so on the first pitch, following George Vico in 1948. "I got a good pitch to hit, and I was able to hit it in front of my family and everyone."

If that was not enough, Baddoo continued the fairy-tale week by hitting his first career grand slam against the Twins the following day. He became the first Tiger to homer in each of his first two MLB games and the first player in major league history to homer out of the ninth spot of the batting order in his first two career games. Baddoo was also the first player in franchise history to hit a slam within his opening two games.

Baddoo has continually showed maturity beyond his years as the rookie adds to his growing legend. Taking over Motor City, he then delivered a walk-off shot to sink his old team the Twins 24 hours later.

His game-winning hit saw him become the first Detroit player with a walk-off shot within his first three MLB games since 1998.

Baddoo is yet to drop off, his history-making season continuing with a homer against the Houston Astros on Tuesday. Through eight games, he took his tally to four home runs, a double and a triple. According to Stats Perform, his slugging percentage at the time – 1.043 – was the highest in American League (AL) history after eight games.

After his RBI double against the Astros on Wednesday, Baddoo has now driven in at least one run in seven of his first nine career games, the second Tiger in franchise history to do so, following Dale Alexander in 1929.

Since 1920, only George Shuba (eight) managed more RBIs in his first nine career games across MLB, according to Stats Perform.

As it stands, Baddoo's slugging percentage stands at .963 (which ranks eighth all-time through first nine career games since 1901) with 11 RBI. If you combine his RBI and SLG percentage, he is one of four players to have 11-plus RBI and a 900-plus SLG over his first nine career games, after Trevor Story (13/.974 – 38/39 in 2016), Taylor Teagarden (12/1.000 – 29/29 in 2008) and Dave Kingman (11/1.105 – 21/19 in 1971).

Baddoo was rated as Detroit's fifth outfielder before the start of the season, so how does he compare to his team-mates?

Counting only plate appearances while playing outfielder, Baddoo's .370 average, .379 on-base percentage, .963 SLG, 1.342 OPS, four homers and 11 RBI are more than the team's other outfielders combined –.190 AVG, .277 OBP, .330 SLG, .607 OPS, three home runs and nine RBI.

As for the team who left their prospect unprotected, Minnesota's outfielders have tallied a .263 AVG, .331 OBS and .474 SLG so far this season – numbers surpassed by Baddoo.

Baddoo is flying the flag for Rule 5 picks – Roberto Clemente is the only player out of that unheralded draft to earn Hall of Fame honours.

Following an 18-season career, Clemente – who died in a plane crash at the age of 38 in 1972 – was a 15-time All-Star, two-time World Series champion, 1966 National League (NL) MVP, World Series MVP and 12-time Gold Glove winner.

Is Baddoo destined for a Hall of Fame career?

At the same stage of their careers, Baddoo trumps Clemente in all categories: AVG (.370 to .316), OBP (.379 to .325), SLG (.963 to .500), OPS (1.342 to .825), home runs (four to one), RBI (11 to six) and runs (five to three).

"Obviously he has the talent to do a lot of different things, I knew he'd give me everything he's got," Tigers manager AJ Hinch has said previously. "That was evident from the beginning."

The red-hot Boston Red Sox made history in MLB after extending their winning streak to nine games on Wednesday.

In a midweek doubleheader, the Red Sox swept the Minnesota Twins 3-2 and 7-1 as they became the first team in history to start a season with a three-game losing streak and then immediately win nine in succession.

After tallying two hits in game one and making a diving catch to thwart the Twins, Boston outfielder Alex Verdugo fuelled the Red Sox with three hits – including a solo homer in the seventh inning – in the second encounter.

The Red Sox (9-3) are the only team in the American League (AL) East to own a winning record this season.

"We did a good job," said manager Alex Cora, who returned to Boston this season after leaving the Red Sox amid the sign-stealing scandal, having guided the franchise to World Series glory in 2018. "Overall, a great day for the Red Sox. That’s a good baseball team and to win both games, win the series, it makes it special.

"We know we have a good baseball team and we have to keep working on it, and we have to keep getting better. But days like today, they’re very gratifying."

 

Rodon has game to remember

Carlos Rodon threw a no-hitter for the Chicago White Sox, just missing out on a rare perfect game in an 8-0 rout of the Cleveland Indians. Rodon retired the first 25 batters he faced, leaving him two outs away from what would have been the 24th perfect game in MLB history. But Rodon lost out on joining that exclusive group when a two-strike pitch hit Roberto Perez in the foot. Rodon, though, still managed to secure the 20th no-hitter in White Sox history and the second in MLB this season. According to Stats Perform, Rodon (two wins and two hits allowed) is the first pitcher in AL history to win his first two starts of a season while allowing no more than two hits.

Corbin Burnes of the Milwaukee Brewers became the first pitcher since 1906 to have 30 strikeouts and 0 walks in his first three starts of a season. He struck out 10 in six dominant innings as the Brewers shut out the Chicago Cubs 7-0.

The Toronto Blue Jays edged the New York Yankees 5-4 thanks to Bo Bichette and his walk-off homer. Bichette finished with two home runs as the Blue Jays clinched their series with the Yankees. The 23-year-old tied Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio for the most multi-extra-base hit games (14) in his first 87 MLB appearances. Bichette's single in the opening inning also extended his hitting streak to 11 games, matching a career high.

 

Cubs crumble in toothless display

After being blanked by the Brewers, the Cubs are now hitting .163 for the season. Per Stats Perform, it is the second-lowest average by any team through 12 games in the modern era, behind only the 2003 Tigers (.159)

 

Mercedes' monster moon shot

White Sox rookie designated hitter Yermin Mercedes delivered a 431-foot bomb against Cleveland. He launched a three-run homer off Zach Plesac during a six-run opening inning.

 

Wednesday's results

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

 

Blue Jays at Royals

The Blue Jays (6-6) will hit the road on Thursday for the opening game of their series against AL Central leaders the Royals (6-4).

Bo Bichette said he is just "starting to heat up" after his walk-off home run lifted the Toronto Blue Jays past American League (AL) East rivals the New York Yankees.

Bichette hit two homers, including the game-winning shot at the bottom of the ninth inning, in Wednesday's 5-4 win over the Yankees as the Blue Jays clinched the series in Dunedin.

The 23-year-old tied Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio for the most multi-extra-base hit games (14) in his first 87 MLB appearances.

Bichette's single in the opening inning also extended his hitting streak to 11 games, matching a career high.

"I'm just starting to heat up," Bichette said. "I was grinding for a while and staying alive. I think that's part of baseball.

"You fight until you start feeling good. I feel good. I know I have all the time in the world.

"I'm not worried about fastballs getting by me, so that’s a good feeling to have."

"Sometimes when you're in the box, you feel like you've got to swing right when the guy lets go of the ball," Bichette said.

"For me, it's just about reminding myself how much time we have. We always have more time than we think."

Entering the 2021 campaign, Bichette was the first shortstop in MLB history to have a .300-plus batting average and a .500-plus slugging percentage in each of his first two seasons (minimum 125 plate appearances in both seasons).

"That's why the sky is the limit with this kid," added Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo.

Akil Baddoo's history-making MLB season continued after starring in the Detroit Tigers' 8-2 win over the Houston Astros.

Tigers rookie Baddoo – selected in the Rule five draft, which aims at preventing franchises from stockpiling too many young players on their minor league affiliate teams when other clubs would be willing to play them in the major leagues – has made a flying start to his career with the Tigers.

Baddoo, who was a Rule five pick in December having been originally drafted out of high school by the Minnesota Twins in 2016, is already the first player in modern MLB history to hit a grand slam, another home run and a walk-off hit in his first three career games.

The 22-year-old outfielder added to that on Tuesday after homering in the Tigers' comprehensive victory away to the Astros in Houston.

Through eight games, Baddoo has four homers, a double and a triple. According to Stats Perform, his 1.043 slugging percentage is the highest in American League (AL) history through eight career games.

Baddoo is also the first Tigers player to drive in a run in six or more of his first eight career games since Don Ross in 1931, while only four players in MLB history have had more than six such games – Jorge Soler most recently with seven in 2014.

 

Giolito and Bieber put on a show, Duvall makes history

The Shane Bieber-Lucas Giolito pitching duel did not disappoint as the Cleveland Indians edged the Chicago White Sox 2-0. Reigning Cy Young Award winner Bieber pitched three-hit ball over nine scoreless innings in a battle of the All-Star aces. Bieber also finished with 11 strikeouts. Bieber has 35 strikeouts this season. Through three appearances of a season since 1983, only Nolan Ryan (37 in 1973) and Gerrit Cole (36 in 2018) have only managed more. Giolito also impressed across seven scoreless innings, only giving up three hits with eight strikeouts.

Adam Duvall posted seven RBIs in the Miami Marlins' 14-8 success against the Atlanta Braves. In September last year, he had nine RBIs for the Braves against the Marlins. Duvall in the first player in history with a seven-plus RBI game for both sides of the same matchup, per Stats Perform. He also joined Alex Rodriguez as the only two players since 1954 to have multiple games with seven RBIs, two homers and four runs.

The Pittsburgh Pirates topped the San Diego Padres 8-4, despite walking 13 and hitting three batters. According to Stats Perform, the Pirates are the first team to issue at least 16 combined batters walked and batters hit in a nine-inning win since the Browns in 1948.

 

Strasburg struggles

Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals were put to the sword 14-3 by the St Louis Cardinals. World Series champion and MVP Strasburg gave up eight hits, eight runs – seven earned – and three homers on five walks across four tough innings. Strasburg was replaced after allowing all three batters to reach base in the fifth, leading to a nine-run inning for the Cardinals.

 

Betts back with a bang

Following a four-game absence due to a stiff lower back, Mookie Betts made a smashing return to the Los Angeles Dodgers' line-up. He hit a 394-foot home run as the World Series champions routed the Colorado Rockies 7-0.

 

Tuesday's results

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

 

Red Sox at Twins

American League (AL) East leaders the Red Sox (7-3) will put their seven-game winning streak on the line in a doubleheader against the Twins (5-5) on Wednesday.

Mike Trout hit his fourth home run of the MLB season as the Los Angeles Angels won 10-3 over the Kansas City Royals on Monday.

Trout put the icing on the cake for the Angels after Shohei Ohtani's earlier heroics, scoring a two-run homer in the ninth.

Right-hander Alex Cobb struck out 10 batters as the Angels moved to a 7-3 record and top spot in the American League West.

Ronald Acuna Jr continues to dazzle early in this season although it was not enough to lift the Atlanta Braves to victory, losing 5-3 to the Miami Marlins.

Acuna tripled in the third, before a sac fly to second which showcased his blistering pace and energy.

 

Glasgow shuts down Rangers, Greinke eephus

Tyler Glasnow continued his fine start to the MLB season for the Tampa Bay Rays with 14 strikeouts in their 1-0 win over the Texas Rangers.

The right-hander shut down the Rangers, allowing just three baserunners, two hits and a walk across seven and a half innings.

Renato Nunez did not quite know what to do when Houston Astros' right-hander Zack Greinke tried something different, with a 51.5-miles-per-hour pitch called a strike. It was Greinke's slowest pitch in the tracking era.

It came on a tough night for Greinke as the Houston Astros lost 6-2 to the Detroit Tigers, with former top overall pick Casey Mize delivering seven scoreless innings.

Kyle Higashioka homered twice to spare Gerrit Cole's early blushes, before the latter finished by retiring his final 15 batters in the New York Yankees' 3-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Chicago White Sox edged the Cleveland Indians 4-3 with Nick Madrigal winning it after an errant throw in the ninth.

 

Baez's wild throw

Chicago Cubs shortstop Javier Baez had a moment to forget when he unleashed a wild throw which sailed a good 30 feet above first baseman Anthony Rizzo, allowing Billy McKinney to easily complete the single.

 

Ohtani's incredible exit velocity

Shohei Ohtani may not have hit a home-run in the seventh inning but his two-run double re-established the Angels' three-run lead and also had an incredible exit velocity of 119 mph.

 

Monday's results

San Diego Padres 6-2 Pittsburgh Pirates 
New York Yankees 3-1 Toronto Blue Jays
Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 Texas Rangers
Miami Marlins 5-3 Atlanta Braves
Milwaukee Brewers 6-3 Chicago Cubs 
Washington Nationals 5-2 St Louis Cardinals
Chicago White Sox 4-3 Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers 6-2 Houston Astros
Los Angeles Angels 10-3 Kansas City Royals
Oakland Athletics 9-5 Arizona Diamondbacks
Cincinnati Reds 3-0 San Francisco Giants

Yankees in Florida

American League East foes the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Yankees will meet again at the former's temporary home in Florida.

World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers swept the Washington Nationals with a 3-0 shutout on Sunday as Clayton Kershaw outduelled Max Scherzer in a pitching showdown.

In his first home start as a World Series winner, Dodgers ace Kershaw struck out six batters over six scoreless innings without a walk against the struggling Nationals, while Zach McKinstry drove in all three runs.

Kershaw – a future Hall of Famer and three-time National League (NL) Cy Young Award winner – has now allowed just one run across his last two starts, striking out 14 over 13 innings.

Scherzer – also a three-time NL Cy Young winner and World Series champion – pitched six innings of three-hit ball with five strikeouts and a walk.

"Max has obviously had an unbelievable run with what he's done over there in Washington. I have a ton of respect for him and everything he's done in this game," Kershaw said after the Dodgers improved to 8-2 for the season.

"You try not to attack it any differently. You always try to put up zeroes on the board. But after we got that early run there, you try and make it stand as best you can, knowing that Max probably isn't going to give up many himself. [We're] fortunate today that it worked out."

The Philadelphia Phillies, meanwhile, snapped the Atlanta Braves' four-game winning streak following a narrow 7-6 victory.

Didi Gregorius fuelled the Phillies with a three-run home in a four-run fourth inning, while he had the go-ahead sacrifice fly in the ninth.

It was a controversial finish after Alec Bohm managed a double off Will Smith at the start of the ninth before advancing to third on a bunt and scoring to make it 7-6.

Bohm was initially called safe following Marcell Ozuna's throw, and the decision was upheld, despite replays appearing to show the former's foot missing the plate as the Phillies avoided a sweep.

 

Debutant Odor lifts Yankees

Rougned Odor – acquired from the Texas Rangers – capped his New York Yankees debut with a go-ahead single at the top of the 10th inning in an 8-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays. According to Stats Perform, it was the fourth time since 1974 a player's first hit with the Yankees delivered the game-winning RBI in extra innings, following Chase Headley (2014), Alfonso Soriano (1999) and Alex Johnson (1974).

The Seattle Mariners rallied past the Minnesota Twins 8-6. Seattle came back from being six-plus runs down and won for the first time since 2016.

 

De Leon and Reds put to the sword

It was a rough outing for Jose De Leon and the Cincinnati Reds, who were blanked 7-0 by the Arizona Diamondbacks. De Leon allowed six runs over a little more than four innings, walking three and fiving up eight hits, including two home runs.

 

Martinez delivers a masterclass

Boston Red Sox star J.D. Martinez already has 12 extra-base hits in eight games this season. It is the most by any player in their first eight games of a campaign in American League (AL) history. The Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 14-9 on the back of his three homers.

 

Sunday's results

Boston Red Sox 14-9 Baltimore Orioles
Pittsburgh Pirates 7-1 Chicago Cubs
Cleveland Indians 5-2 Detroit Tigers
New York Yankees 8-4 Tampa Bay Rays
Kansas City Royals 4-3 Chicago White Sox
Seattle Mariners 8-6 Minnesota Twins
Milwaukee Brewers 9-3 St Louis Cardinals
San Diego Padres 2-0 Texas Rangers
Arizona Diamondbacks 7-0 Cincinnati Reds
San Francisco Giants 4-0 Colorado Rockies
Los Angeles Dodgers 3-0 Washington Nationals
Philadelphia Phillies 7-6 Atlanta Braves
Miami Marlins 0-0 New York Mets (suspended, to resume August 31)
Los Angeles Angels-Toronto Blue Jays (postponed)

 

Yankees at Blue Jays

After their series finale against the Angels was postponed, the Blue Jays will welcome AL East rivals the Yankees to Dunedin for Monday's series opener.

Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama said he admirers countrymen and MLB stars Yu Darvish, Kenta Maeda and Shohei Ohtani after becoming the first Japanese man to win a major.

Matsuyama made history with his one-stroke victory ahead of Will Zalatoris in a tense finale at Augusta on Sunday.

A five-time PGA Tour winner before this success, Matsuyama withstood a wobble and the threat posed by Xander Schauffele (72) and Zalatoris (70) to complete a history-making performance in Georgia, where he carded a final-round 73 to claim the green jacket.

Matsuyama was asked about his golfing heroes after the memorable achievement, but the 29-year-old instead listed his baseball idols – Los Angeles Angels two-way sensation Ohtani, four-time All-Star and San Diego Padres ace Darvish and Minnesota Twins pitcher Maeda.

"You know, the people that I admired were a lot -- were mainly baseball players: Darvish, Ohtani, Maeda," Matsuyama told reporters.

"As far as golf, not so much. Hopefully now others will, like you said, be inspired for what happened here today and follow in my footsteps."

"It's been a struggle recently," added Matsuyama, who had last won on the PGA Tour in 2017. "This year, no Top 10s, haven't even contended. So I came to Augusta with little or no expectations. But as the week progressed, as I practiced, especially on Wednesday, I felt something again. I found something in my swing.

"And when that happens, the confidence returns. And so I started the tournament with a lot of confidence."

Matsuyama (2011) – who finished 10 under – became the third Masters champion in the last five years to have previously earned low amateur honours, following in the footsteps of Woods (2019, low amateur in 1995) and Sergio Garcia (2017, low amateur in 1999).

With his final-round 73, Matsuyama became the eighth player (nine instances) to claim The Masters despite an over-par final round – Trevor Immelman was the last to do so in 2008.

It came after Matsuyama – four strokes clear at the start of the day – had extended his lead to five at the turn, before his title bid threatened to turn sour as Schauffele closed in and Zalatoris loomed.

After finding water at the par-five 15th hole, Matsuyama took the penalty and cleaned up for bogey as Schauffele continued to heap pressure on the Japanese hopeful, cutting the lead to two shots with his fourth consecutive birdie.

But Schauffele's pursuit of a maiden major collapsed when the American – seven back at the 12th tee before rallying – also found water before sending his next shot into the crowd.

Matsuyama had a routine par to move three shots clear with two to play, but he dropped another shot, his lead down to two ahead of Zalatoris as an ill-timed triple-bogey sent 2019 runner-up Schauffele down to equal third alongside Jordan Spieth – four shots behind.

That was the breathing space Matsuyama needed as Japan's new poster boy held his nerve, doing what he needed to do during the final two holes in front of an appreciative crowd on the 18th, where not even a bogey could wipe away the champion's smile.

"Xander had just made three birdies in a row at 12, 13 and 14. I hit the fairway at 15, hitting first, with Xander having the momentum," Matsuyama said as he discussed his approach on the 15th and 16th holes. "I felt I needed to birdie 15 because I knew Xander would definitely be birdieing or maybe even eagling.

"But it didn't happen. And so I stood on the 16th tee with a two-stroke lead, and unfortunately for Xander, he found the water with his tee shot and I played safe to the right of the green at 16."

"I can't say I'm the greatest. However, I'm the first to win a major, and if that's the bar, then I've set it," Matsuyama said when asked if he is the greatest male golfer out of Japan following his success.

The short-handed Toronto Blue Jays claimed a much-needed 15-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels as unheralded duo Josh Palacios and Santiago Espinal stepped up on Saturday.

Toronto had lost four consecutive MLB games and were without some key weapons for the third matchup of the Angels series, including star recruit George Springer and Silver Slugger Teoscar Hernandez.

But the Blue Jays returned to form thanks to the likes of Palacios and Espinal – Toronto, who had scored seven runs across their previous 31 innings, using a seven-run second inning to blitz the Angels in Dunedin after rain delayed the start of proceedings for almost three hours.

Palacios managed his first MLB hit and scored on a three-run double from Randal Grichuk as he finished with four runs and as many hits against the Angels.

The 25-year-old became the second player in American League (AL) history with four-plus hits and four-plus runs in one of his first two career games, per Stats Perform. The other was Wid Conroy in 1901.

Espinal – called up to the Blue Jays from the alternate training site on Saturday – had two runs and three hits in five at-bats as Toronto registered 15 runs without homering.

Bo Bichette had five RBIs with three runs and two hits, while Marcus Semien and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. also scored.

Steven Matz impressed in his start for the Blue Jays, allowing just one run and five hits across six strong innings, while Angels pitcher Jose Quintana was tagged with the loss after giving up five hits, seven runs – five earned – in less than two innings.

 

Dodgers flex muscles in LA, Locastro makes history

Chris Taylor hit a three-run homer as World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Washington Nationals 9-5. The Dodgers improved to 7-2 for the season after AJ Pollock also drove in three runs. Juan Soto homered twice but it was not enough for the visiting Nationals.

Tim Locastro became the first player on record (since 1951) to start a career with 28 consecutive stolen bases without being caught. It came as the Arizona Diamondbacks topped the Cincinnati Reds 8-3.

Jacob deGrom matched a career best with 14 strikeouts over eight innings, but the New York Mets were blanked 3-0 by the Miami Marlins.

Avisail Garcia homered, doubled and drove in five runs as the Milwaukee Brewers beat the St Louis Cardinals 9-5. Keston Hiura hit a three-run homer in a five-run seventh inning for the Brewers.

 

Yankees shut out as German pays the price

It was a miserable outing for Domingo German and the New York Yankees, who were blanked 4-0 by AL East rivals the Tampa Bay Rays. Austin Meadows and Randy Arozarena homered off German. The Yankees optioned German to the club's alternate site after the shut-out loss. 

 

Memorable day for Espinal

Toronto's Espinal will not be forgetting Saturday's game any time soon. Prior to starring for the Blue Jays, the 26-year-old Dominican infielder met iconic countryman and MLB legend Albert Pujols thanks to team-mate Guerrero. Angels star Pujols is a two-time World Series champion, three-time National League (NL) MVP, 10-time All-Star, six-time Silver Slugger, two-time Gold Glove winner and one of the Dominican Republic's most famous names.

 

Saturday's results

Miami Marlins 3-0 New York Mets
Tampa Bay Rays 4-0 New York Yankees
Seattle Mariners 4-3 Minnesota Twins
Milwaukee Brewers 9-5 St Louis Cardinals
San Francisco Giants 4-3 Colorado Rockies
Oakland Athletics 7-3 Houston Astros
Cleveland Indians 11-3 Detroit Tigers
Pittsburgh Pirates 8-2 Chicago Cubs
Boston Red Sox 6-4 Baltimore Orioles
San Diego Padres 7-4 Texas Rangers
Atlanta Braves 5-4 Philadelphia Phillies
Arizona Diamondbacks 8-3 Cincinnati Reds
Los Angeles Dodgers 9-5 Washington Nationals
Toronto Blue Jays 15-1 Los Angeles Angels
Kansas City Royals-Chicago White Sox (postponed)

 

Angels at Blue Jays

The Blue Jays (4-5) will look to level their series with the Angels (6-3) in Sunday's decider in Dunedin.

Homegrown Joe Musgrove tossed the first no-hitter in the San Diego Padres' franchise history in a 3-0 victory over the Texas Rangers in MLB on Friday night.

Musgrove blanked the Rangers across nine close-to-faultless innings with 10 strikeouts, which set off wild frenzied celebrations among the Padres.

"Everyone dreams of getting the chance to throw a no-hitter," Musgrove said post-game. "I've never even thrown a no-hitter in my life, so my first one came today on this field.

"It's awesome to have it be in a Padres uniform and for it to be the first one for the franchise. That's incredible."

It was only Musgrove's second start for the Padres and improves their season record to 5-3.

Shohei Ohtani may not be on the mound at the moment but he hit his third home run of the year in the Los Angeles Angels' 7-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Japanese star went 2-for-5 at the plate with a homer, double and four RBIs, with Mike Trout taking a backseat.

 

Acuna does it all for Braves

Young gun Ronald Acuna Jr did it all for the Atlanta Braves in their 8-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

The 23-year-old Venezuelan hit a huge home run, added a duo of doubles and made a super outfield catch as he notched his fifth career four-hit game to lead the Braves to victory. 

"That just shows you the complete player he is and the skillset this kid has and what he brings," Braves manager Brian Snitker said.

Corey Kluber had a tough shift as the New York Yankees were battered by reigning American League champions the Tampa Bay Rays 10-5.

Rich Hill struck out seven for the Rays while Joey Wendle and Brandon Lowe combined to drive in five.

Justin Turner homered in the sixth inning to earn the Los Angeles Dodgers a 1-0 victory over the Washington Nationals.

After being beaten by the Houston Astros five times, the Oakland Athletics hit back with Matt Olson's three-run homer helping them to a 6-2 triumph.

 

Fowler felled in scary play

In a scary moment, Angels' right fielder Dexter Fowler was carted off with a left knee issue after an awkward fall on second base, although cmanager Joe Maddon later said "I don't think it's bad, fortunately".

 

Freddie finds his form

Acuna stole the show for the Braves but 2020 National League MVP Freddie Freeman would not be denied with a big home run of his own.

 

Friday's results

Tampa Bay Rays 10-5 New York Yankees
Los Angeles Dodgers 1-0 Washington Nationals
San Francisco Giants 3-1 Colorado Rockies
Los Angeles Angels 7-1 Toronto Blue Jays
Cleveland Indians 4-1 Detroit Tigers
Atlanta Braves 8-1 Philadelphia Phillies
San Diego Padres 3-0 Texas Rangers
Oakland Athletics 6-2 Houston Astros
Cincinnati Reds 6-5 Arizona Diamondbacks 

 

Yankees at Tampa

There's a full 15-game fixture on Saturday with the Tampa Bay Rays series against the New York Yankees ongoing.

Mike Trout continued his prolific start to the new Major League Baseball season with a homer in a third straight game as the Los Angeles Angels won 7-5 against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday.

With the game tied at 3-3 at the top of the fifth, Trout creamed Blue Jays right-hander Ross Stripling a projected 444 feet for a solo home run.

"That one definitely had some flight attendants working on it," Angels manager Joe Maddon joked.

In the first of their four-game series in Dunedin, Florida, Trout starred with 3-for-5 but fell a triple short of the cycle in the victory.

On Trout's form, Maddon added: "There's no surprise element to any of this. He's not doing anything new, it's actually a lot of old stuff."

Yermin Mercedes endeared himself to the Chicago White Sox fans in their home opener with a monster 485-foot home run.

The home run in their 6-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals was Mercedes' second of the season and goes down as the third-longest hit by a White Sox player in Guaranteed Rate Field history.

 

Mets walk-off controversy, Jose lift off for Astros

The New York Mets' 3-2 walk-off victory over the Miami Marlins ended in controversy and the winners admitted they got lucky.

After Jeff McNeil tied the game at 2-2 in the ninth with a home run, the Mets had bases loaded as Michael Conforto stepped up.

After two strikes, a pitch grazed Conforto's elbow pad and home-plate umpire Ron Kulpa initially appeared set to call a third strike before changing mid-motion to say the pitch hit the batter, earning the Mets the run they needed.

"Not the way I wanted to win the ballgame," Conforto said post-game. "I wanted to go up there and drive the ball somewhere.

"From my point of view, it was a slider. I felt it was coming back toward me and I turned. There may have been a little lift of my elbow just out of habit, out of reaction, and it barely skimmed the edge of my elbow guard."

Marlins manager Don Mattingly was left frustrated that they could not review the call.

"You'd think with all the replay we do that you could say, 'That ball's a strike'," he said.

The Houston Astros improved to a 6-1 record with a 6-2 triumph over the struggling Oakland Athletics, with Jose Altuve delivering a home run in their home opener after a long wait.

The Minnesota Twins won 10-2 against the Seattle Mariners, while the Boston Red Sox won 7-3 on the road to the Baltimore Orioles.

Fails for the A's

The A's slumped to a 1-7 record with their loss to the Astros, where it took them until the ninth inning to get on the board.

Grichuk grasps Trout hit

Trout's day may have been a little bit better for the Angels if not for Randal Grichuk's sensational diving catch in center in the ninth.

Thursday's results

New York Mets 3-2 Miami Marlins
Chicago Cubs 4-2 Pittsburgh Pirates
Boston Red Sox 7-3 Baltimore Orioles
Colorado Rockies 7-3 Arizona Diamondbacks
Chicago White Sox 6-0 Kansas City Royals
Minnesota Twins 10-2 Seattle Mariners
St Louis Cardinals 3-1 Milwaukee Brewers
Los Angeles Angels 7-5 Toronto Blue Jays
Houston Astros 6-2 Oakland Athletics

Rays against Yankees

Last year's American League champions the Tampa Bay Rays have had a slow start at 2-4 and they take on the New York Yankees (3-3).

The Oakland Athletics ended their run of six consecutive losses to start the season by rallying past MLB champions the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-3 in extra innings.

Mitch Moreland hit an RBI single in the 10th inning on Wednesday as the Athletics won for the first time in 2021.

The A's were in danger of falling to 0-7 for the first time in their history before Matt Chapman scored on a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning.

Moreland completed the confidence-boosting comeback in the 10th – a line-drive single scoring Mark Canha from third in Oakland midweek.

"It's definitely not the start we wanted," Moreland said. "We know we're a lot better team than that. We played great in spring and kind of had a little bit of lag. It didn't go our way out of the gate. That's a good win for us."

Trevor Bauer impressed for World Series champions the Dodgers, despite the defeat.

The reigning National League (NL) Cy Young winner allowed three hits and two runs, recording 10 strikeouts for the second consecutive start.

 

Cain makes history

Lorenzo Cain became the first player in Milwaukee Brewers history to hit two go-ahead home runs in the eighth inning or later in the same game, per Stats Perform. The Brewers overcame the Chicago Cubs 4-2.

Justin Dunn impressed for the Seattle Mariners, who defeated the Chicago White Sox 8-4. He became the first pitcher since Pete Harnisch in 1991 to walk eight-plus batters and allow one hit or fewer in his season debut, via Stats Perform. The only other Mariners pitcher to do so in any regular-season game was Randy Johnson in 1991.

Connor Brogdon became the first Philadelphia Phillies player to have three wins in the team's first six games of a season in the modern era. The Phillies accounted for the New York Mets 8-2.

The Cleveland Indians were 4-2 winners against the Kansas City Royals thanks to Shane Bieber, who became the first MLB pitcher to start multiple seasons with back-to-back 12-plus strike-out games.

 

Marlins mauled

The Miami Marlins were blanked 7-0 by the St Louis Cardinals, who claimed a series sweep. Zach Pop struggled after giving up four runs and a homer in less than an inning.

 

Waffles over bat flips for Pederson

Joc Pederson hit his first home run for the Cubs – a game-tying homer in the eighth inning against the Brewers. A World Series winner with the Dodgers last season, the 2015 All-Star celebrated with a waffle maker.

"I hope we're making a lot of waffles," Pederson said after the game. "I don't know. It's [Ian] Happer's. I think I just rented it for a minute, but we'll see. Hopefully we're passing out waffles soon to all of us."

 

 

Wednesday's results

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

 

Angels at Blue Jays

The Blue Jays (3-3) will stage their first home series – at their spring base in Dunedin as the coronavirus pandemic prevents them from returning to play in Toronto – starting Thursday. The Los Angeles Angels (4-2) are their opponents.

Toronto Blue Jays star George Springer suffered a second injury in a fresh blow for the World Series champion, who is still waiting to make his highly anticipated debut.

Springer was lured to Toronto on a six-year, $150million contract from the Houston Astros via free agency – the largest deal in franchise history – but injuries have prevented the 2017 World Series MVP from debuting for the MLB hopefuls.

The three-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger had been nearing a return from a left oblique strain, but he is now dealing with tightness in his right quad which he felt on Tuesday.

Speaking prior to Wednesday's 2-1 loss to the Texas Rangers, Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo – as Toronto await the results of an MRI – told reporters:  "His live batting price was fine. There's no issues with the oblique. But his leg did feel a little tight. But we don't know how badly.

"Everybody's concerned — because with those injuries, you just never know where they are. It's tough because you've got to be careful. Just like with the oblique. Because if you pull it worse, then you're really out for a long time.

"That's the one thing about those injuries. That's for anybody. We have to be patient and be careful. You know how badly he wants to play.

"That's why after everything that happened yesterday, he talked to [the media] and he felt like he still wanted to play. But then, as the day went on, he felt, 'OK, this is still tight'. So, that's why we ended up getting an MRI."

Heading into the 2021 season, Springer led MLB with 136 home runs from the lead-off spot since 2015. The Blue Jays as a team had 129 homers from the lead-off spot over that time, per Stats Perform.

Springer has 39 lead-off home runs in his career – fourth most all-time behind Rickey Henderson (73), Ian Kinsler (48) and Brady Anderson (44).

The 31-year-old Springer has recorded seven career World Series home runs – most from the lead-off spot all-time – and he is 19-for-56 (.339) in the World Series in his career. No other current Blue Jays player has a World Series hit in their career.

Springer's 174 home runs since debuting in MLB via Houston are third most by an Astro in a player's first seven career seasons, behind only Jeff Bagwell (187) and Lance Berkman (180).

Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw returned to form as the World Series champions crushed the helpless Oakland Athletics 5-1 in MLB action on Tuesday.

Kershaw – a three-time Cy Young Award winner – struggled on Opening Day following a difficult Spring Training campaign for the Dodgers.

But Kershaw bounced back against the winless Athletics, striking out eight batters across seven solid innings in Oakland.

Kershaw allowed one run and four hits and did not walk a batter as the star pitcher retired 20 of 22 opponents for the Dodgers, who won their fifth consecutive game.

Dodgers team-mate Mookie Betts homered for the first time this season, while team-mates Max Muncy and Edwin Rios also went long for the visitors.

In New York, three-time All-Star Gerrit Cole impressed with a 13-strikeout gem – his most in a regular-season game since joining the franchise in 2020 – as the Yankees made light work of the Baltimore Orioles 7-2.

Yankees ace Cole allowed four hits without a walk over seven scoreless innings, while slugger Aaron Judge and Jay Bruce homered at Yankee Stadium.

Per Stats Perform, Cole already has 21 punchouts this season – tying Al Downing (1964) for the most by any Yankees pitcher in his first two starts of a season.

 

Reds flying after slow start

The Cincinnati Reds humbled the Pittsburgh Pirates 14-1. Cincinnati allowed 11 runs on Opening Day but have proceeded to score 40 runs over their next four games. According to Stats Perform, they are the first National League (NL) team to allow 10-plus runs in their first game and then tally 40-plus runs over the next four since the 1877 Louisville Grays (47 runs).

Juan Soto was the hero for the Washington Nationals, hitting a walk-off home run in the ninth inning in a 6-5 victory against the Atlanta Braves.

American League (AL) MVP Jose Abreu crushed his second grand slam of the season to lead the Chicago White Sox to a 10-4 success against the Seattle Mariners.

 

Roark rocked in Texas

Tanner Roark's first start of the season for the Toronto Blue Jays was a dismal one. The veteran pitcher gave up three homers – five runs – in three innings as the Blue Jays lost 7-4 to the Texas Rangers. He finished with a 15.00 ERA for the night.

 

The Baddoo legend grows

Akil Baddoo continued his amazing start to his MLB career. After homering on his very first pitch in the big leagues on Sunday, Baddoo hit a grand slam on Monday. Not satisfied with that, he hit a walk-off homer to lift the Detroit Tigers past the Minnesota Twins 4-3 – in just his third appearance.

 

Tuesday's results

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

 

Braves at Nationals

After finally opening their season, the coronavirus-hit Nationals (1-0) will look to stay undefeated in a doubleheader against the winless Braves (0-4) on Wednesday. Erick Fedde will start game one for the Nationals against Atlanta's Max Fried, while ace Stephen Strasbourg takes to the mound in the second clash as the Braves counter with Huascar Ynoa.

The World Series-chasing New York Yankees acquired Rougned Odor from the Texas Rangers on Tuesday.

Odor was designated for assignment by the Rangers on Thursday and the infielder has now landed in New York.

The Yankees dealt for Odor in exchange for minor league outfielders Antonio Cabello and Josh Stowers, and cash considerations.

"Hopefully we can help him get that talent out that we've seen flashed over the years," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.

Odor – who had spent his entire MLB career with the Rangers, where he debuted in 2014 – hit .167 with 10 home runs and 30 RBIs in 38 games for Texas last season.

The 27-year-old owns a career slash line of .237/.289/.439 (88 OPS+) in 858 MLB games, while he has hit 30 or more homers in a season three times.

"He has the ability to really impact the ball from the left side at Yankee Stadium," Boone said. "We feel like that could play up.

"Hopefully just getting in our environment and our culture will unlock some things for him."

Not since 2009 have the Yankees won the World Series, the storied franchise fell to the Tampa Bay Rays in last season's American League Division Series (ALDS).

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