The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will meet in the American League (AL) Wild Card showdown after winning late to deny the Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners.

Four teams were vying for two AL Wild Card berths on a chaotic finale to the MLB's regular season, with the possibility of a four-way tie.

While the Mariners went down to the Los Angeles Angels 7-3, the Blue Jays crushed the lowly Baltimore Orioles 12-4 to give themselves a chance of forcing a Game 163 as they watched the Yankees and Red Sox contests anxiously.

But the Yankees and Red Sox produced two clutch hits to secure their spot in the play-offs.

Aaron Judge drove home the winning run in the ninth inning of the Yankees' 1-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, while the Red Sox overturned a 5-1 deficit to trump the Washington Nationals 7-5 behind Rafael Devers' two-run homer in the ninth.

 

Giants win NL West on final day

The San Francisco Giants clinched the National League (NL) West title for the first time since 2012 with a 11-4 rout of the San Diego Padres. San Francisco denied World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers thanks to their franchise-record 107th victory of the season, eclipsing the 1904 New York team. The Dodgers topped the Milwaukee Brewers 10-3 to settle for an NL Wild Card meeting with the St Louis Cardinals.

Blue Jays star Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (48) – alongside Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals – and Padres sensation Fernando Tatis Jr. (42) ended the regular season as the home run leaders in their respective leagues. It is the first time in AL-NL history both leagues were led by players aged 22 or younger thanks to Guerrero and Tatis.

Dodgers star Trea Turner became the first NL player to lead the league in hits in back-to-back seasons since Terry Pendleton in 1991 and 1992. On the back of his second grand slam in 48 hours, Turner finished with 195 hits. He also won the NL batting title (.328), ahead of Washington's Juan Soto. Yuli Gurriel (.319) of the Houston Astros claimed the AL title.

Corbin Burnes became the first Brewers pitcher to earn an ERA title, having topped the NL at 2.43, beating Dodgers starters Max Scherzer (2.46) and Walker Buehler (2.47) to the honour. Toronto's Robbie Ray (2.84) led the AL's ERA standings.

 

Injury worries

The Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers all have injury concerns heading into the Wild Card round. Yankees star DJ LeMahieu landed on the injured list due to a hip/groin problem ahead of Sunday's game. Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez exited in the sixth inning with a sprained left ankle. Meanwhile, Dodgers slugger Max Muncy is "very unlikely" to feature in the NL Wild Card Game because of a left elbow injury sustained in the third inning.

 

Guerrero breaks record

Having earned a share of the AL home run title, Guerrero made history. His 48 homers are the most in a season by a player aged 22 or younger, eclipsing Eddie Matthews (47 in 1953).

 

 

Sunday's results

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

 

Yankees at Red Sox

The famous Yankees and Red Sox rivalry will take centre stage for Tuesday's AL Wild Card blockbuster in Boston. Gerrit Cole will face Nathan Eovaldi in a mouth-watering pitching matchup. The winner will face the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL Division Series (ALDS), starting Wednesday.

Yandy Diaz smashed a three-run go-ahead homer while Shane Baz impressed on debut as the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 6-4 in MLB on Monday.

Trailing 2-0 at the bottom of the fifth inning with two on base, Diaz stepped up and sent Robbie Ray over the wall at left-center field.

Tampa Bay would not be headed from that point on, with Joey Wendle and Yandy Diaz adding further runs. Wendle also hit a solo home run, before Marcus Semien's two-run homer halved the deficit in the ninth inning.

Dietrich Enns held his nerve to close out the victory for the Rays but another pitcher grabbed plenty of attention as debutant Baz sent down five strikeouts in five innings.

The 22-year-old right-hander held the in-form Blue Jays to only two solo home runs across the first five innings and did not look out of place at majors level.

"It was like a dream-come-true type thing," Baz said. "When I got on the field, it just felt right."

Rays manager Kevin Cash added: "You're not going to see many more impressive outings against Toronto's lineup. So happy for him. He was awesome. Fun to watch."

 

Flying Cardinals make it nine straight

The surging St Louis Cardinals claimed their ninth successive victory, topping the Milwaukee Brewers 5-2 after Nolan Arenado's first-inning two-run homer.

The victory, which marked Cards starting pitcher Jon Lester's 200th win of his majors career, keeps St Louis three games ahead of the Cincinnati Reds in the National League (NL) Wild Card race.

The Reds got past the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-5, with Joey Votto and Eugenio Suarez hitting back-to-back home runs to turn the game.

Votto enjoyed his fourth multi home-run game for this season, as well as the 17th of his career.

Salvador Perez broke the record for most home runs in a season by a primary catcher, surpassing Johnny Bench's mark of 45, with a homer in the Kansas City Royals' 7-2 win over the Cleveland Indians.

Gary Sanchez's early homer along with a strong bullpen display helped the New York Yankees beat the Texas Rangers 4-3.

 

Angels wings clipped again

Things have gone south for Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Angels in the second half of this season, managing only six hits and no runs in their 10-0 defeat to the Houston Astros. The Astros piled on eight runs in the final two innings, with Andrew Wantz and Jose Marte unable to stop a fourth straight loss.

 

Duvall creams monster home run

Adam Duvall provided a major highlight when he smoked a monster two-run home run in the Atlanta Braves' 11-4 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. The HR travelled a projected 483 feet, per Statcast, going down as the fourth longest home run of the 2021 majors.

 

Monday's results 

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

 

Cardinals at Brewers

The Cardinals will chase their 10th consecutive victory, which would reinforce their grip on the second NL Wild Card spot, when they face the Brewers in the second game of their four-game series.

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.

After winning 13 consecutive games, the New York Yankees suffered back-to-back MLB losses following Tony Kemp's late home run as the Oakland Athletics triumphed 3-1.

With the next pitch after Mark Canha's double, Kemp produced the decisive hit in the eighth – his tie-breaking two-run homer lifting the A's on Sunday.

In 16 at-bats against the Yankees this season, Kemp slugged 1.124 and did not strike out once. According to Stats Perform, no other player in history has had a 1.100-plus slugging percentage with zero strikeouts against the Yankees in a season with at least as many at-bats.

Paul Blackburn had earlier tossed down five shut-out innings for the Athletics, before Andrew Chafin closed out the win.

Yan Gomes' fourth-inning run had put the A's ahead before Gary Sanchez scored following fielding errors from Gomes and Mark Chapman on Anthony Rizzo's nine-pitch at-bat.

The result – which completes a split of the four-game series – helped the A's (72-59) move closer in the American League (AL) Wild Card standings, two and a half games adrift as the Yankees (76-54) lead the race.

 

Franco joins exclusive group as Rays crush Orioles

The Tampa Bay Rays topped the Baltimore Orioles 12-8 to become only the third team in MLB's divisional era to win 18 games against one opponent in a single season. Joey Wendle delivered a two-homer and six-RBI performance, including a seventh-inning grand slam. Rays rookie Wander Franco, meanwhile, extended his on-base streak to 29 games with a sixth-inning single. Franco's run is the longest active streak in the majors, the sixth longest in American League/National League history and second longest in AL history. It is the longest streak by any player under the age of 21 since Hall of Famer Frank Robinson (43) in 1956.

Javier Baez hammered a two-run home run into the second deck before igniting controversy with a thumbs down gesture to his own fans after receiving boos earlier in the game as the New York Mets won 9-4 against the Washington Nationals.

The Chicago White Sox belted five home runs in their 13-1 win over the Chicago Cubs, including a pair from Luis Robert. Jose Abreu joined Paul Konerko (six) and Frank Thomas (10) as the only White Sox players with six-plus 100-RBI seasons. He became the first White Sox to reach 100 RBI in 125 games or fewer since Jermaine Dye in 2006.

Austin Riley drilled a two-run homer to help the Atlanta Braves to a commanding 9-0 shut-out victory over the high-flying San Francisco Giants.

Yoshi Tsutsugo crushed a walk-off three-run homer to lift the Pittsburgh Pirates past the St Louis Cardinals 4-3.

 

Abreu and Astros suffer blowout

Houston Astros reliever Bryan Abreu had a nightmare as the Texas Rangers powered an eight-run fifth inning in their 13-2 win. Astros pitcher Zack Greinke allowed six runs with nine hits, before Abreu stepped up in the fifth, only to allow seven runs from five hits including an Adolis Garcia grand slam, the Rangers' first since 2019. It was a blowout for the AL West-leading Astros against the Rangers, who are last in the AL West.

 

Salvy hits hot streak

Kansas City Royals star Salvador Perez homered for the fifth consecutive game in his side's 4-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners, tying Mike Sweeney's franchise record from 2002. Perez has also moved into second for home runs in the majors this season, behind only two-way Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani (42) and he has scored eight home runs and 15 RBIs on the Royals' current 10-game trip.

 

Sunday's results 

Philadelphia Phillies 7-4 Arizona Diamondbacks
Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3 St Louis Cardinals
Tampa Bay Rays 12-8 Baltimore Orioles
Miami Marlins 2-1 Cincinnati Reds
New York Mets 9-4 Washington Nationals
Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 Detroit Tigers
Cleveland Indians 7-5 Boston Red Sox
Atlanta Braves 9-0 San Francisco Giants
Milwaukee Brewers 6-2 Minnesota Twins
Chicago White Sox 13-1 Chicago Cubs
Texas Rangers 13-2 Houston Astros
Colorado Rockies 5-0 Los Angeles Dodgers
Seattle Mariners 4-3 Kansas City Royals
Oakland Athletics 3-1 New York Yankees

 

Red Sox at Rays

The Red Sox (75-57) make the trip to Tampa to take on leaders the Rays (82-48) in a crucial clash in the AL East on Monday. Nick Pivetta starts for Boston as Tampa Bay counter with Luis Patino.

Toronto Blue Jays sensation Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani and Fernando Tatis Jr. of the San Diego Padres headline the starters for the 2021 MLB All-Star Game.

The starters for the upcoming All-Star Game, scheduled for July 13 at Coors Field – home of the Colorado Rockies, were revealed after two rounds of fan voting on Thursday.

Guerrero (aged 22 years and 119 days) will be the youngest Blue Jays player to start an All-Star Game, while he is also the youngest player to start at first base since George Scott in 1966.

Son of an MLB Hall of Famer, Guerrero is only second to Ohtani (28) for home runs this season with 26, while he leads the majors in RBI (66), on-base percentage (.442), OPS (1.117) and three-plus hit games (11 – level with Trea Turner).

Ohtani, 26, is set to become the first Japanese-born player to start an All-Star Game since Ichiro Suzuki in 2010.

The Angels' Ohtani has the most homers this season, while he owns a 3.60 ERA and 83 strikeouts across 60 innings on the mound.

As for Tatis, the 22-year-old shortstop will be the youngest player to start for the Padres in an All-Star Game.

Tatis entered Thursday's action leading MLB with an incredible .705 slugging percentage, while leading the National League (NL) in homers.

Elsewhere, Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers will become the first shortstop/third base combo in Boston Red Sox history to start the All-Star Game.

Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr. will join Eddie Matthews as the player in franchise history to start multiple All-Star Games before turning 24, while Nick Castellanos and Jesse Winker will give the Cincinnati Reds multiple outfield starters for the first time since 1956.

 

All-Star Game starters:

American League

C: Salvador Perez (Kansas City Royals)
2B: Marcus Semien (Toronto Blue Jays)
3B: Rafael Devers (Boston Red Sox)
SS: Xander Bogaerts (Boston Red Sox)
OF: Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels) 
OF: Aaron Judge (New York Yankees)
OF: Teoscar Hernandez (Toronto Blue Jays) 

National League

C: Buster Posey (San Francisco Giants)
1B: Freddie Freeman (Atlanta Braves)
2B: Adam Frazier (Pittsburgh Pirates)
3B: Nolan Arenado (St Louis Cardinals)
OF: Ronald Acuna Jr. (Atlanta Braves)
OF: Nick Castellanos (Cincinnati Reds)
OF: Jesse Winker (Cincinnati Reds)

Kansas City Royals star Salvador Perez has signed a record four-year contract extension, the MLB franchise announced.

Perez's new deal with the Royals is reportedly worth a franchise-record $82million, surpassing Alex Gordon's $72m contract in 2014.

The contract extension for the six-time All-Star catcher and World Series champion – one of the league's premier players in his position and a franchise favourite – will begin in the 2022 season.

It comes after Perez was named the American League (AL) Comeback Player of the Year in 2020, having missed the entire 2019 campaign due to Tommy John surgery.

Perez hit .333 with 11 homers and 32 RBIs over 37 games last season.

"I feel so happy and excited that I'm going to stay here for a long time, for four or five more years, and hopefully I can end my career here," said the 30-year-old, who has called Kansas City home since debuting for the Royals in 2011.

"I love the people here, I love the fans. I'm excited. I can't wait for the season to start and to see what happens."

Perez guided the Royals to their second World Series crown in 2015 and first in 30 years, winning the MVP as a result after Kansas City beat the New York Mets 4-1.

The Venezuelan hit .364 with two doubles and two RBIs in five games in the 2015 World Series.

Perez – a five-time Gold Glove Award winner and three-time Silver Slugger – has 138 career home runs as a catcher – third in the league among active players, only trailing Yadier Molina (158) and Matt Wieters (140).

He ranks seventh in Royals history in homers (152), ninth in extra-base hits (351), 10th in RBIs (535) and total bases (1,657) and tied for 10th in slugging percentage (.449).

"I don't ever want to retire from baseball," Perez said. "Never. I don't even think about that.

"I'm going to play, I told Dayton [Moore] the other day, until God comes down and tells me, 'Salvy, go home'. I love baseball. I believe in myself, and this isn't going to be the last one."

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