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.
17. Dezember 2017
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|Spedding extends Sarries losing streak, Wasps halt La Rochelle|
|Klopp calls for Liverpool consistency after Bournemouth battering|
|Coutinho won´t be drawn on Liverpool future|
|Kaka Retires: Ballon d´Or, Milan glory and Brazil brilliance among career highlights|
|Liverpool make top-flight history in Bournemouth victory|
|We can´t think we´re unbeatable - Jesus|
|Lukaku´s love for West Brom behind muted celebration - Mourinho|
|Bournemouth 0 Liverpool 4: Coutinho sparkles as Reds return to winning ways|
|Pool-topping Blues gain Sale revenge|
|Kaka Retires: Former clubs and team-mates pay tribute|
|Dybala needs to be in better physical shape - Allegri|
|Hearts break spell but Celtic join Milan, Porto among unbeaten elite|
|Juventus allowed Bologna nothing - Pjanic|
|Mourinho: United lost ambition in second-half slump|
|Lingard claiming second goal in Manchester United win|
|Rohit relishing overseas challenges after Sri Lanka ODI series win|
|Kaka eyes future in the boardroom after resisting Milan swansong|
|West Brom 1 Manchester United 2: Lukaku on target against old club|
|Former AC Milan and Brazil star Kaka announces retirement|
|Bologna 0 Juventus 3: Pjanic, Mandzukic and Matuidi send champions second|
|Feyenoord hit seven against Sparta Rotterdam|
|Dhawan hundred seals series win after Sri Lanka collapse|
|Gattuso slams ´embarrassing´ Milan after Verona defeat|
|Celtic´s 69-match unbeaten run ends with Hearts thrashing|
|Fekir keen on Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico, Manchester City... and Arsenal|
|Julian Savea not ruling out rugby league switch|
|Mbappe pips Martial to Telefoot Trophy|
|Verona 3 AC Milan 0: Gattuso´s side slip to insipid defeat|
|Man City´s celebrations? You should hear Burnley, says Rooney|
|Froome´s Vuelta test bad for cycling, says Bardet|
|Vince backs Cook and Root to overcome slump|
|Rooney wants greedy Rashford, has high hopes for Martial|
|Man City aren´t one of the Premier League´s best ever - Rooney|
|Rose romps to Indonesian Masters title|
|The best answer is laughing - Ronaldo mocks Gremio boss Renato|
|Brisbane Roar 1 Melbourne Victory 2: Williams and Barbarouses boost pre-derby mood|
|LeBron James wants to break ´stereotype´ around ageing stars after passing Larry Bird|
|Hazlewood frustrated as Anderson issues rallying call|
|The Ashes Round-up: Weather holds up Australia|
|Perez keen for ´spectacular´ Ronaldo to never leave Madrid|
|Rain halts Australia charge for Ashes glory|
|Numbers tell the story as Cook´s Ashes woes continue|
|Golovkin, Alvarez scared to face me - Saunders|
|Cook, Root fall as Australia close in on win|
|Knicks top Thunder in Anthony´s return to New York|
|Saunders outclasses Lemieux to retain title|
|Chiefs too good for Chargers, Lions win|
|Australia push further ahead in Perth|
|Kroos: Madrid don´t need added motivation for Clasico|
|Howe discussed Liverpool criticism with Begovic|
|Pellegrino: I can´t control Van Dijk future|
|Perez suggests Madrid unlikely to make January moves|
|Packers activate Rodgers for Panthers clash|
|Gonzalez bids emotional farewell to Dodgers|
|Liverpool scouts to thank for Salah capture, says Klopp|
|Substitutes made the difference - Simeone|
16. Dezember 2017
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|Mutual trust at Man City is ´a dream´, says Guardiola|
|Thorley grabs four in Gloucester rout, Connacht trounce Brice|
|Stoger´s small changes getting Dortmund back on track|
|Atletico Madrid 1 Alaves 0: Substitute Torres breaks LaLiga duck to net winner|
|City defeat a ´good experience´ for Tottenham - Pochettino|
|Fury takes pop at ´carthorse´ Joshua|
|Zidane dreaming of sextuple after Club World Cup success|
|Running man De Bruyne makes it easier to manage City - Guardiola|
|Ronaldo and Zidane hoping for Ballon d´Or winner to retire at Madrid|
|Championship Review: Teenage debutant Maja snaps Sunderland´s home drought|
|In-form Neymar is good for all who love football – Emery|
|Napoli´s record goalscorers - how Marek Hamsik compares to Diego Maradona|