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.
|´Best in history´ Messi lauded by Coutinho, Busquets|
|I enjoy living this way! - Aubameyang won´t change lavish lifestyle|
|Kohli rested for Nidahas Trophy|
|QB Bortles signs contract extension with Jaguars|
|Shohei Ohtani has mixed results in MLB debut|
|Mustafi wary of De Bruyne threat in EFL Cup final|
|Chumba and Dibaba reign supreme at Tokyo Marathon|
|Curry, Durant help Warriors dominate Westbrook´s Thunder|
|Coman suffers ankle injury in Bayern draw|
|I was right to turn down Man City move in 2016, says Laporte|
|Tiafoe wins two matches in a day to reach Delray Beach final|
|Navas not surprised by Ronaldo´s Benzema gesture|
|Ausilio: Contract talks with Inter´s Icardi done in silence|
|Mourinho tells McTominay to follow his heart amid international headache|
|I play for France´s biggest club – Marseille star Payet fires barb at PSG|
|Clippers owner says team traded Griffin for ´chemistry´ reasons|
|Ben Stokes returns to face New Zealand in opening ODI|
|Main priority was to win - Spalletti praises Inter´s ´heart´ after beating Benevento|
|Verdasco to meet Schwartzman in Rio Open final|
|Father fuels Conte´s fire ahead of Mourinho reunion|
|Tiger Woods shoots first sub-70 round since 2015|
|Valverde steers clear of Barcelona yellow card controversy|
|Montpellier pull clear of Racing in Top 14|
|Connacht bring Benetton back to earth|
|Butler suffers meniscus injury but Timberwolves ease ACL fears|
|Play like it´s a friendly - Guardiola reveals finals secret ahead of Arsenal clash|
|Barcelona equal record for unbeaten LaLiga run|
|Jones fronts up after Scotland smash England|
|Wales disappoint Gatland: We were the creators of our own demise|
|Inter 2 Benevento 0: Nerazzurri pick up much-needed win at San Siro|
|Barcelona 6 Girona 1: Suarez treble and Messi masterclass settle Catalan clash|
|Messi makes Girona 36th LaLiga victims to set new record|
|Nigeria demolish Rwanda in FIBA qualifying|
|Jonker shines but India still seal T20 series|
|Deeney ´not bothered´ after ending drought from open play|
|Tigers back to business after Hardaker departure|
|Championship Review: Fulham beat Wolves, Sunderland hold Boro in ill-tempered thriller|
|Lions bounce back to win, Schoeman leaves it late for Bulls|
|Russell eyes Six Nations title after inspiring Scotland to win over England|
|Watford 1 Everton 0: Stunning Deeney finish moves hosts six clear of trouble|
|Benitez rues missed chances as Newcastle lose two-goal lead|
|Heynckes ´can live´ with home Bayern draw|
|Ronaldo is a team player - Zidane hails Real Madrid star´s Benzema gesture|
|West Ham fans reference Hitler in protest at club´s owners|
|Dyche dismayed by decisions before Gabbiadini goal|
|Russell´s redemption comes as Scotland seal rare England win|
|Wagner impressed with Huddersfield´s commitment after vital win|
|No place like home for Schmidt as Ireland leave it late to sink Wales|
|Liverpool win had everything – Klopp enthuses over West Ham´s Anfield rout|
|Khachanov sets up Pouille final after Berdych upset|
|Dunk equals record for own goals in a single Premier League season|
|Chiefs return to winning ways in thriller|
|Real Madrid 4 Alaves 0: Ronaldo at the double as ´BBC´ delight|
|Burnley 1 Southampton 1: Gabbiadini grabs late leveller|
|Brighton and Hove Albion 4 Swansea City 1: Two-goal Murray helps end Swans´ unbeaten run|
|Bournemouth 2 Newcastle United 2: Hosts in thrilling fightback after Gayle double|
|West Brom 1 Huddersfield Town 2: Van La Parra and Mounie seal vital win|
|Liverpool 4 West Ham 1: Salah nets again as Reds climb to second|
|Svitolina retains Dubai crown as Kasatkina runs out of steam|
|Ill Neymar included in PSG squad for Le Classique|
|Bayern Munich 0 Hertha Berlin 0: Lewandowski´s run ends as leaders are held at home|
|Ireland see off Wales in Dublin thriller to stay perfect|
|Gattuso surprised by AC Milan´s growth since taking over|
|Lambert defends ´best goalkeeper in Britain´ Butland after own goal error|
|Stokes expected to face Black Caps|
|Mkhitaryan, Ozil potential excites Mertesacker|
|A-League Review: Perth Glory in dramatic win, Melbourne Victory end losing streak|
|Leicester City 1 Stoke City 1: Butland howler costs Potters|
|Matic insists Man Utd can still do ´big things´|
|Fisher´s birdie streak secures share of Qatar Masters lead|