National League Rookie of the Year favourite Seiya Suzuki registered a hit in the eighth consecutive start of his career after a home run in the Chicago Cubs' 6-4 away win against the Colorado Rockies.

The 27-year-old, who arrived from the Hiroshima Carp this off-season on a five-year, $85million deal made more history with his home run, becoming the second Japanese player to ever start his career with an eight-game hitting streak, and the third Cubs player in the past 100 years to start a season that way,

With a hit in his next game, Suzuki will tie Akinori Iwamura for the record for longest hitting streak to start a MLB career for a player coming from Japan, which happened in 2007 for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Suzuki's home run was his fourth of the season – trailing only C.J. Kron and Vladimir Guerrero Jr (five each) for most home runs in the entire MLB.

It came at an important time on Sunday, after the Rockies had cut the Cubs' 5-0 lead back to 5-3 going into the seventh inning, before Suzuki tacked on the extra insurance run.

Nick Madrigal was also terrific for the Cubs, going three-for-five at the plate, including a double, while the biggest hit of the game was Ryan McMahon's 447-foot two-run blast for the Rockies in the sixth inning.

Freeman and Heaney fit right in as Dodgers sweep Reds

Freddie Freeman had four hits and three RBIs as the Los Angeles Dodgers completed a four-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds, claiming a 9-1 win on Sunday.

Andrew Heaney struck out 11 over six innings in a scoreless home debut, while Max Muncy, Will Smith and Chris Taylor.

Heaney was dominant, posting his 15th career start with at least 10 strikeouts, while walking three and only allowing a double from Kyle Farmer in the third inning.

Darvish bounces back against Braves

Yu Darvish pitched into the seventh inning as the San Diego Padres beat the Atlanta Braves 2-1 with only three hits.

Following the shortest outing of his career, not even covering two innings against the San Francisco Giants on the prior Tuesday, the 35-year-old allowed his only run against the reigning World Series champions via Marcell Ozuna's home run in the seventh.

Taylor Rogers closed out the four-hitter for San Diego, to save what was an otherwise off day at the plate for the Padres, with Jake Cronenworth particularly going zero-for-three.

The Arizona Diamondbacks ended a 17-game losing streak after upstaging the Milwaukee Brewers 5-1 in MLB on Monday.

After almost a month, the Diamondbacks returned to winning ways behind Merrill Kelly's solid pitching display at home to the Brewers.

Kelly only gave up one run, five hits and a walk with five strikeouts as the Diamondbacks celebrated a victory for the first time since June 1.

"It's definitely more fun winning than losing," Kelly said afterwards in Phoenix, with the Diamondbacks bottom of the National League (NL) West standings with the MLB's worst record (21-53).

 

Padres' Darvish makes history

Yu Darvish became the fastest pitcher to 1,500 strikeouts in fewer than 200 games. Darvish reached the milestone in the sixth inning of his 197th MLB game, surpassing Randy Johnson – who needed 206 appearances. Darvish allowed one run and two hits as the San Diego Padres trumped NL rivals and World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-2.

Jacob deGrom produced a trademark performance as the New York Mets topped the Atlanta Braves 4-2 in their opening game. DeGrom retired the first eight batters he faced – the Mets ace finishing with five shut-out innings. The two-time Cy Young award winner extended his scoreless streak to 30 innings, while lowering his MLB-leading ERA to 0.50.

 

Akin struggles against Astros

The Baltimore Orioles were routed 10-2 by the high-flying Houston Astros, who got on top of Keegan Akin. The Orioles pitcher was tagged with the loss after giving up six hits, five runs – all earned, four walks and a homer in just four innings.

 

Braves star Acuna at it again for

Ronald Acuna became the second player in MLB history to homer for the only run in a 1-0 victory on back-to-back days, according to Stats Perform. His lead-off shot in the fifth inning secured a 1-0 win over the Mets in the second game of a doubleheader.

 

Monday's results

New York Mets 4-2 Atlanta Braves
Atlanta Braves 1-0 New York Mets
Houston Astros 10-2 Baltimore Orioles
Cleveland Indians 4-0 Chicago Cubs
Texas Rangers 8-3 Oakland Athletics
Arizona Diamondbacks 5-1 Milwaukee Brewers
San Diego Padres 6-2 Los Angeles Dodgers
Minnesota Twins 7-5 Cincinnati Reds

 

Red Sox at Rays

It will be a clash of the best two teams in the American League (AL) East when the Boston Red Sox (43-29) open their series at the Tampa Bay Rays (43-30). Boston lead the AL East by a half-game. Andrew Kittredge starts for the Rays, while the Red Sox send Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound.

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.

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