The Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros clinched their respective MLB play-off series on Monday.
The Dodgers completed a sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League Division Series (NLDS) with a 3-1 win.
The Astros ended the Boston Red Sox's season, claiming a 5-4 win in game four of the American League Division Series (ALDS).
Meanwhile, the New York Yankees stayed alive in their ALDS against the Cleveland Indians, squaring the series at 2-2 with a 7-3 victory.
The Chicago Cubs edged ahead of the Washington Nationals 2-1 in their NLDS, courtesy of a 2-1 win.
DODGERS NEEDED BELLINGER TO REGAIN FORM
Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger was one of the best stories in baseball this season, hitting 39 home runs. But he has been struggling at the plate the past month, with only one home run since September 16. He entered game three only one-for-10 in the postseason, with six strikeouts. In short, Bellinger was overdue.
An RBI groundout in the first inning was nice. But the solo home run to left center off Zack Greinke in the fifth inning was what the Dodgers have been waiting to see.
The Dodgers have power hitters up and down their lineup – six players hit more than 20 home runs this year – but they need Bellinger hitting the way he did earlier this season.
VERLANDER IN RELIEF AS SALE DOMINATES FOR ALL BUT ONE PITCH
The Astros called on Justin Verlander in the fifth inning hoping for great results in his first career relief outing. On the first batter he faced with an inherited runner on first, Verlander allowed a two-run homer to Andrew Benintendi, surrendering the lead and putting the Astros' postseason life at risk.
After the HR, he tossed 2.2 scoreless innings but that one pitch nearly cost the Astros the game.
On the flip side, Chris Sale was called on in relief and was fantastic for all but two batters. Through four innings he allowed just two hits and no runs. He had his best stuff and was cruising.
The Red Sox just took him out two batters too late. Sale surrendered a game-tying home run to Alex Bregman in the eighth and a single to Evan Gattis, whose pinch-runner Cameron Maybin came around to score on Josh Reddick's single.
Hoping for a similar outing as game one, Indians starter Trevor Bauer flopped on three days' rest Monday, lasting just 1.2 innings. Bauer's curveball, which was nearly unhittable in game one, was torched by Todd Frazier and Aaron Hicks for the first two RBI hits of the game.
Cleveland committed the fewest errors in the AL this season but a fielding error and a passed ball were in part to blame for the two-out rally in the second inning which resulted in four straight hits off Bauer and four runs (zero earned). The Indians finished with an uncharacteristic four errors on the night.
Ahh, now we get the Bauer OUTage thing. pic.twitter.com/xrSmZ8v2Nq— New York Yankees (@Yankees) October 10, 2017
NATIONALS AT CUBS
Jake Arrieta says the hamstring injury that has bothered him the past month is a non-issue. His ERA is a full run better at Wrigley Field than on the road (2.90 versus 3.87). He will face Nationals right-hander Tanner Roark (13-11, 4.57 ERA) with the Cubs 2-1 up.
|Angels manager Scioscia has no concerns about Ohtani´s elbow|
|Roberts confirms Dodgers were ´very in tune´ with Stanton, Ohtani|
|Dodgers All-Star Seager set to avoid elbow surgery|
|Stanton rips ´unprofessional´ and ´circus times´ with Marlins|
|Stanton excited to step into ´winning environment´ with Yankees|
|Yankees confirm Stanton deal|
|Angels intend to use Ohtani as a two-way player|
|Marlins slugger Stanton rejects trade to Giants|
|MLB trade news: Mariners acquire Dee Gordon from Marlins|
|Yankees appoint Boone as new manager|
|Blue Jays acquire former All-Star Diaz from Cardinals|
|Jennifer Lopez trumpets Alex Rodriguez for Yankees job|
|Yankees All-Star Judge undergoes shoulder surgery|
|MLB great Joe Morgan urges voters not to elect steroid users to Baseball HOF|
|Altuve, Stanton named MVPs|
|Mariners acquire slugger Healy from Athletics|
|Kluber, Scherzer win 2017 MLB Cy Young awards|
|Jeter: Marlins listening to offers for All-Star Stanton|
|Molitor, Lovullo take Manager of the Year honours|
|Judge, Bellinger unanimous MLB Rookie of the Year winners|
|Astros´ Beltran announces retirement after 20 MLB seasons|
|Red Sox´s Betts rolls perfect 300 in World Series of Bowling|
|Twins CF Buxton named MLB Defensive Player of the Year|
|Altuve, Stanton headline Silver Slugger Award winners|
|Astros´ Altuve headlines MLB Players Choice Award winners|
|Promising Red Sox prospect dies aged 17|
|Alex Rodriguez not interested in managing Yankees|
|Five teams with multiple Gold Glove winners|
|Former MLB pitcher Roy Halladay killed as plane crashes in Gulf of Mexico|
|Cashman: Girardi wasn´t able to connect with Yankees players|
|MLB selling dirt from Astros´ game-seven World Series win|
|Yankees, Dodgers headline MLB awards finalists|
|Pirates pick up McCutchen´s 2018 option|
|World Series victory parade reveals 56 years of emotion for Astros|
|Tanaka decides not to opt out of Yankees contract|
|Darvish thanks Dodgers and fans after World Series loss|
|Angels, Upton agree to five-year contract|
|Tigers congratulate Verlander on World Series title|
|Springer named MVP after Astros´ World Series win|
|Astros´ Correa proposes to girlfriend after winning World Series|
|Astros clinch first World Series with game-seven win over Dodgers|
|BREAKING NEWS: Astros win first World Series|
|Dodgers´ Bellinger breaks Judge´s infamous record|
|Hinch preparing for fitting ending to ´epic´ World Series|
|Dodgers force game seven against Astros|
|Astros manager Hinch willing to do whatever it takes to win game six|
|Astros´ Hinch cites favourite moment from game-five win|
|Phillies hire Dodgers executive Gabe Kapler as manager|
|Washington Nationals hire Dave Martinez as new manager|
|Astros´ Hinch and Correa revel in latest World Series thriller|
|Astros take World Series lead after game-five thriller|
|Astros manager Hinch says every game feels ´critical´|
|Dodgers rally past Astros, level World Series|
|Kimbrel, Jansen named 2017 Relievers of the Year|
|Astros´ Gurriel suspended five games in 2018 for gesture|
|Roberts: Dodgers need Wood to perform|
|Astros take World Series lead with game-three victory|
|Texans´ Watt throws out first pitch while on crutches|
|Cubs star Rizzo wins Roberto Clemente Award|
|Astros name starters for game five and six of World Series|
|Lester rips Dodgers for taking Hill out early in game-two loss|
|Cubs shake up coaching staff with wholesale changes|
|Yankees part with manager Girardi|
|Astros trump Dodgers in game-two thriller to level World Series|
|Altuve, Stanton named Hank Aaron Award winners|
|Astros name starters for games three and four of World Series|
|Kershaw leads Dodgers past Astros in World Series opener|
|Seager makes Dodgers 25-man roster for World Series opener|
|Astros ´not afraid´ of Dodgers ace Kershaw|
|World Series 2017: Three reasons the Dodgers will win|