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.
|WATCH: Chargers top Chiefs on dramatic two-point conversion in final seconds|
|Suns owner Sarver committed to keeping team in Phoenix|
|Chargers WR Allen leaves with injury after near-spectacular catch|
|Socceroos not giving up on Mooy for Asian Cup|
|Cooper says Raiders owner wanted to trade him to Cowboys|
|Pochettino jokes Levy is ´worried´ about losing him|
|Barcelona would welcome Morata – Alba|
|Toure not a priority for West Ham – Pellegrini|
|Koscielny no certainty to face Southampton, says Emery|
|We gifted the game – AC Milan boss Gattuso furious after Europa League exit|
|My season starts now, says Koscielny|
|Cipriani ´at peace´ with latest England snub|
|Laporte: Deschamps must have personal reasons for France snub|
|Morata injury not too serious, claims Chelsea boss Sarri|
|Hansen to leave: All Blacks coach returning focus to World Cup defence|
|I want to fight the champion! - Joshua reiterates Wilder in April ambition|
|Gundogan glad to leave Christmas holidays behind|
|I know how it feels and it hurts - Gundogan on Sterling abuse|
|Celtic 1 Red Bull Salzburg 2: Scottish champions through despite defeat|
|Olympiacos 3 AC Milan 1: Rossoneri crash out of Europa League|
|Arsenal 1 Qarabag 0: Lacazette on target as Saka shines|
|Hansen to leave: All Blacks will take time to name replacement|
|Chelsea condemn alleged anti-Semitic chanting from fans|
|Hansen to leave: The best Opta facts from New Zealand coach´s tenure|
|Hansen to leave: Five contenders to be the next All Blacks coach|
|Hansen to leave: Highs and highs of his All Blacks reign|
|Hansen to leave All Blacks after World Cup|
|Rapid Vienna 1 Rangers 0: Late Ljubicic winner sends Gerrard´s men out|
|Beckham continues to miss Giants practice with quad injury|
|Vidi 2 Chelsea 2: Giroud spares Sarri´s side in lacklustre draw|
|Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille fixtures among latest Ligue 1 cancellations|
|Santos turn to ex-Argentina boss Sampaoli|
|Muller could miss Champions League last 16 after Tagliafico kick|
|Home hope Bekker out in front at Alfred Dunhill Championship|
|Van Bommel in touch with Robben over PSV reunion|
|Pinarello chief confident over Team Sky future|
|Stade make Ospreys tickets free in tribute to teenager|
|WRC great Loeb seals Hyundai switch|
|Madrid rumours better than sack talk, says Pochettino|
|Nadal to join Federer at 2019 Laver Cup|
|Prigoda smashes world record, Hosszu dethroned in Hangzhou|
|Former Juve CEO Marotta takes over at Inter|
|Glenn to stand down as FA boss next year|
|Muller apologises to Tagliafico for kick to the head|
|Pereira pleads for more Manchester United chances|
|Griffin hails ´phenomenal´ Lowry after Warriors demolition|
|I´ve played with Zidane and Henry, but Messi is something else – Pires|
|Dragons forward Jack de Belin charged with sexual assault|
|Durant: Raptors are the real deal|
|Cocu bids farewell to Fenerbahce after ´mutual agreement´ is made over October sacking|
|Australia unchanged for historic Perth Test|
|Champions League draw: The possible last-16 ties|
|Southee happy to be back on home soil|
|I wouldn´t swap Dembele for Neymar – Pires|
|Canelo ready to risk heavy weather against Fielding|
|Raptors upstage Warriors, Davis leads Pelicans with 44 points|
|India skipper Kohli excited by green Perth wicket|
|PSG? I haven´t decided my future yet – De Jong|
|Marcelo: Real Madrid don´t have attitude problem|
|India pair Ashwin, Rohit ruled out of second Test|
|Kovac: Ajax-Bayern draw was amazing|
|Sims re-signs with Dragons until 2022|
|Derrius Guice injury update: Redskins RB (knee) has rehab setback, undergoes 3 more procedures|
|Emery: Arsenal could sign defender in January|
|Phillies sign McCutchen to three-year deal|
|O´Neal thinks his Lakers teams could ´easily´ beat Warriors|
|A-League to add two clubs by 2020|
|Curry says he was ´obviously joking´ about moon landing comments|
|Now the beautiful part starts – Ronaldo ready for Champions League knockout stage|
|Bayern have a lot more potential – Lewandowski not satisfied despite top spot|