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.
|Low welcomes Sane to Bayern rumours|
|Kyrgios withdraws from French Open due to illness|
|Kovac´s Bayern future not in question - Rummenigge|
|Morris not surprised by Lampard´s Chelsea links|
|Reds fall to ruthless Chiefs, Kuridrani stars for Brumbies|
|Villas-Boas expecting Bale to make Premier League return|
|Pique: Anfield opened scars of Rome for Barcelona|
|Osaka wants to channel Melbourne mindset in Paris|
|Cronk´s absence felt as NRL premiers Roosters thrashed by in-form Knights|
|Real Madrid fume at Pochettino´s accommodation joke|
|Halep relaxed ahead of French Open title defence|
|Chiellini would ´hate´ to see former Juventus boss Conte at Inter|
|Oh-no Fernando! Sri Lanka opener taken off on a stretcher following injury|
|A manager of Manchester is coming - Allegri mischievously drops Guardiola hint|
|England captain Morgan sent for x-ray on finger injury|
|Ronaldo is a ´deity´ - Chiellini|
|Should I bet the Eiffel Tower? - Dani Alves confident Neymar will stay at PSG|
|Antetokounmpo insists Bucks are still fighting in Raptors series|
|Wenger: Europa League final being in Baku is ´a nightmare´|
|ATP adds Federer-backed Laver Cup to calendar|
|Aaron Rodgers no match for Packers team-mate Bakhtiari, MLB star Yelich in beer-chugging contest|
|Raptors must live for the moment as NBA Finals beckon, says Leonard|
|Raptors fan Drake: I love this team and we´re going to the NBA Finals|
|Copa del Rey final: Valencia can see a bright future after 11 years in the shadows|
|Majestic Messi, Bale´s bliss, Sevilla slaughtered – Barcelona´s five successive Copa del Rey finals|
|He´s a winner - Mourinho has no doubts over Cech´s commitment amid Chelsea links|
|French Open 2019: The top Opta facts ahead of Roland Garros|
|DFB-Pokal final 2019: Are RB Leipzig the new pretenders to Bayern Munich´s throne?|
|French Open 2019: Djokovic has an opportunity to come full circle at Roland Garros|
|Another Champions League final loss would be hard on Klopp – Mourinho|
|Antetokounmpo hurt his ankle late in Game 5, says Budenholzer|
|Jets´ Darnold ´really pumped about´ playing with Bell|
|Three takeaways from Raptors´ Game 5 road win over Bucks|
|Raptors take series lead over Bucks after come-from-behind win|
|Lippi named China coach again|
|Polanco proving his worth as Twins keep rolling|
|Archer will be England´s ´X-factor´, says Kohli|
|Inglis enters facility for treatment of mental health issues|
|Wenger plans football return, unsure about role|
|Griezmann can decide if he wants Atletico farewell – Cerezo|
|Finau leads at Colonial, Spieth starts well|
|Drake, Spike Lee and Rihanna – five times celebrities became part of the game|
|Molinari pleased to be in the mix at Made in Denmark|
|This Week in US Sports: Durant not cleared, Stanton suffers setback|
|With him, we managed to win – Pjanic congratulates departing Allegri|
|Klay Thompson fumes at All-NBA snub|
|Last-gasp goal sets up Canada´s overtime triumph|
|Aggressive Zverev into Geneva semis|
|Union Berlin hold Stuttgart in relegation play-off first leg|
|Durant, Cousins set to feature ´at some point´ in NBA Finals|
|Sabalenka, Garcia battle through in Strasbourg|
|It is time to step aside – Julio Baptista announces retirement|
|Giannis, Harden unanimous selections in All-NBA First Team|
|Mercedes dominance makes F1 more boring - Scheckter|
|Manchester United to play Solskjaer´s hometown club in friendly match|
|Nadal and Federer in same half of French Open draw|
|I´m the reserve tank for the boys – ´Calmer´ Klopp still ready to provide a spark|
|Kompany won Anderlecht job after six-hour meeting with Arnesen|
|Osaka and Serena set for French Open quarters clash|
|Bale backed by just nine per cent of Real Madrid fans|
|Lauda got successful Ferrari doing the right things - Scheckter|
|Polanc storms into Giro ascendancy after breakthrough Benedetti win|
|Man City star Sane is a Bayern target – Hoeness|
|UEFA dismisses Montenegro appeal against stadium ban|
|Woods to play Memorial ahead of U.S. Open|
|Joao Felix picked by Portugal as injured Andre Silva misses out|
|Djokovic will be motivated by clay record against Nadal – Ferrero|
|Mercedes, Ferrari lead Lauda tributes with new liveries in Monaco|
|Atletico Madrid´s Juanfran ´leaves as an Indian´ with emotional speech|
|Neymar & Mbappe could leave PSG, hints Tuchel|