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.
|Garcia moves into pole position at Valderrama|
|Conte will ´never´ fear the Chelsea sack|
|Herrera questions Manchester United´s ´passion´|
|Benitez impressed by Newcastle´s perseverance after narrow win|
|Hope stands alone as Zimbabwe skittle Windies on day one|
|Monaco 2 Caen 0: Keita opens account as hosts get back on track|
|A bad team deserves punishment – Mourinho blasts Manchester United display|
|Zidane rejects tag of ´world´s best coach´|
|Stoke City 1 Bournemouth 2: Howe´s men pick up first away points|
|Manchester City 3 Burnley 0: Aguero levels record as Guardiola´s men stretch lead|
|Swansea City 1 Leicester City 2: Mahrez shines as Appleton enjoys winning start|
|Newcastle 1 Crystal Palace 0: Merino leaves it late to sink Eagles|
|Huddersfield Town 2 Manchester United 1: Mourinho´s men suffer first defeat as Lindelof error proves|
|Eintracht Frankfurt 2 Borussia Dortmund 2: Bosz´s men stunned by comeback|
|Sri Lanka´s T20 squad depleted amid safety concerns|
|Double delight for Germany as Goerges and Witthoeft lift WTA titles|
|Immobile, Strakosha pen Lazio extensions|
|Beaten Read credits clinical Wallabies|
|Conte hails Chelsea´s ´desire to fight´ for Watford comeback|
|Aguero becomes joint-top scorer in Manchester City history|
|Chelsea hero Batshuayi relieved to end ´difficult moment´ against Watford|
|Verratti admits he had doubts over PSG project|
|Cheika sets sights high after All Blacks win|
|Bartomeu offers assurances over Barcelona´s LaLiga status|
|AC Milan will sell ´top players´ if they miss the Champions League|
|Chelsea 4 Watford 2: Batshuayi, Azpilicueta spare champions´ blushes|
|Darren Fletcher makes 100th consecutive Prermier League appearance|
|Carrasco´s attitude not a problem, says Simeone|
|Allegri happy to win ugly at Udinese|
|Barcelona approve €897million budget following record revenue in 2016-17|
|Lineker´s Benzema criticism embarrassing - Zidane hails Madrid striker as ´the best´|
|Bayern Munich announce record €640m turnover|
|Gasly denied chance of Super Formula title by typhoon|
|Australia claim long-awaited win over All Blacks|
|A-League Review: Brillante completes comeback in thrilling Sydney derby|
|Bakayoko starts for Chelsea against Watford|
|Not many teams can stop us scoring – Smalling hits back after United criticism|
|Halep relishing world number one battle in Singapore|
|Bakayoko: I´m not Chelsea´s new Matic|
|Manchester United fan Werner still dreams of Premier League move|
|Tigers lose Tamim for rest of South Africa tour|
|Manchester City playing like Brazil, says Jesus|
|Mbappe, Dembele and Jesus named Golden Boy top three|
|Thomas shares lead with Brown in Jeju|
|Marquez grabs pole as Dovizioso struggles at Phillip Island|
|Warriors get season on right track, Cavaliers remind Bucks who´s boss|
|Valverde: Barcelona couldn´t sign Mbappe|
|Altuve, Verlander star as Astros force game seven against Yankees|
|Kane: I´d love to spend whole career at Tottenham|
|Bolt wants to begin football career in 2018|
|What the f***? – Pochettino reveals Madrid selection questions|
|Mourinho plays down Conte spat|
|Liverpool must make Coutinho, Can want to stay – Klopp|
|Marshawn Lynch suspended for one game for contact with official|
|I´m not a dirty player - Barr rejects accusations over hit on Rodgers|
|Late Lyon comeback sinks Sale|
|Dimitrov boosts ATP Finals chances as Goffin, Anderson falter|
|Barcelona star Suarez granted rest by Uruguay|
|I don´t want to hide - Bilic takes responsibility for humbling West Ham defeat|
|Bath look at home in the wet in battling win over Scarlets|
|F1 Raceweek: Fourth straight Texas triumph could secure title for Hamilton|
|´Magician´ Conte spells out willingness to fight at Chelsea|
|Otamendi and Stones making light of Kompany absence for Guardiola|
|Goerges dashes hopes of all-Russian Kremlin Cup final|
|West Ham 0 Brighton and Hove Albion 3: Murray double piles pressure back on Bilic|
|NBA icon Kobe Bryant meets Neymar and Mbappe on PSG visit|
|Chris Paul to miss Rockets´ home opener with sore knee|
|Dyche not ´running away´ from Burnley as Leicester links intensify|
|UEFA fails to fine Spartak over racist chants in Youth League game|
|Can committed to Liverpool despite contract impasse|