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.
|Bulldogs´ fine for ´Mad Monday´ antics halved|
|Bennett to leave Broncos after 2019 NRL campaign|
|American League postseason picture becomes clear|
|Steelers edge Buccaneers for first win|
|Gatland wants Webb available for World Cup|
|Modric: Ronaldo, Messi out of this world but my season deserved recognition|
|Love says Cavs ´will surprise a lot of people´|
|George believes Thunder can compete for championship this season|
|Messi is the greatest ever – Eto´o|
|Messi to miss Argentina´s upcoming friendlies|
|Dolphins say Hayes tore ACL attempting to avoid roughing-the-passer penalty|
|Modric deserved FIFA Best award – Ramos|
|Thibodeau open to potential Butler trade|
|Modric wanted Ronaldo, Messi at awards ceremony|
|Brewers´ Yelich active after elbow hit|
|Anthony on coming off Rockets´ bench: Whatever I have to do to help this team win|
|Raiders coach Gruden says Mack trade was hard on players|
|Bale lauds ´unbelievable´ Modric after FIFA Best triumph|
|Ronaldo, Messi lacked respect with FIFA Best awards snub - Capello|
|New Zealand the benchmark but England can win World Cup - Mitchell|
|FIFA Best Award a dream come true for Modric|
|Lakers a long way from Warriors, warns LeBron|
|Milner pokes fun at Salah´s Puskas Award win|
|Josh Rosen to replace Sam Bradford as Cardinals starting quarterback|
|Kaymer: Home-course advantage crucial to Europe hopes|
|Marta and Pedros win FIFA Best awards|
|I want to be in Toronto - Kawhi Leonard focused on Raptors, not future|
|Messi and Ronaldo lead FIFPro World XI as Salah and Neymar miss out|
|Knicks´ Kristaps Porzingis ´itchy´ to return but won´t commit to 2018-19 season|
|Modric beats Ronaldo and Salah to FIFA Best prize|
|49ers confirm ACL tear for QB Garoppolo|
|Salah beats Bale and Ronaldo to Puskas Award|
|Deschamps wins FIFA Best Men´s Coach award|
|Law to leave Windies for Middlesex role|
|Sunderland terminate Ndong´s contract|
|Spalletti warns rejuvenated Inter against complacency|
|Ryder Cup 2018: Figo in town as USA arrive in style|
|Browns name Baker Mayfield starting QB|
|Chelsea need to be more versatile, warns Giroud|
|Paris Saint-Germain FFP case referred by UEFA back to CFCB Investigatory Chamber|
|Busy Bertens ready for bed, Muguruza gains Wimbledon revenge|
|Hart ready if England come calling - Dyche|
|Ryder Cup 2018: An honour and a burden - the unique challenge of captaincy|
|Hibino beats Bouchard again at the Tashkent Open|
|Falcons lose Ricardo Allen for season|
|Mbappe three-match ban stands following appeal|
|Tomic wins first Tour-level match since Wimbledon in Chengdu|
|Ryder Cup diary: Scoreboard shocker, captains tight-lipped|
|Mourinho will spawn lots of managers - Lampard|
|Furyk outlines Woods´ Ryder Cup motivation|
|Tiger doesn´t scare Team Europe - Bjorn|
|Ryder Cup 2018: Team USA profile|
|Woods winning ´incredibly special for golf´, says Poulter|
|Grealish commits to Aston Villa with five-year deal|
|Ryder Cup 2018: Four reasons why Team USA will win|
|Herrera ready for return - Mourinho|
|Bellew determined to prove doubters wrong against Usyk|
|Lewandowski and Boateng´s professionalism impresses Kovac|
|WATCH: Sheepish Murray comically drops commemorative plate in China|
|Cech: Arsenal have forgotten how to win Premier League titles|
|Lemar must adapt to Atleti style, says Simeone|
|Toulon to appeal suspended points penalty|
|AFE rejects Miami plan for Girona-Barca|
|Messi and Ronaldo to decide world´s best young player|
|Ryder Cup 2018: Talisman Poulter key to European hopes|
|Pogba hits out at critics who ´create drama´|
|Barcelona to appeal Lenglet red card|
|Ryder Cup 2018: Team Europe profile|
|Patriots´ Gronkowski threatened to retire if traded to Lions|
|Ryder Cup 2018: Four reasons why Europe will win|