Supreme sport! Judge's 50th sets HR mark

Slugger belts Nos. 49, 50 to pass McGwire, join elite company in Yankees history

Supreme sport! Judge's 50th sets HR mark

NEW YORK -- His teammates egged him on, one after another. Approaching the end of a rookie season for the ages, it was time for Aaron Judge to finally rise.

"You gotta go out there," they implored him. "You gotta go out there."

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Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Yu know who is dominant in LA's 100th win

Yu know who is dominant in LA's 100th win

LOS ANGELES -- For the first time in 43 years, the Dodgers are a 100-win ballclub, and the complete performance they turned in Monday night -- a 9-3 throttling of the San Diego Padres -- went a long way toward showing how they got there.

The National League West champions got offense from everywhere -- including a homer and a three-run double from Logan Forsythe and a three-run shot from Austin Barnes. They got pitching, too, in the form of a two-hit, seven-inning gem from Yu Darvish, who struck out nine in an impressive postseason tuneup.

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AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

Joshua Thornton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Let's tray 2: Cub replaces fan's KO'd nachos

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Let's tray 2: Cub replaces fan's KO'd nachos

If there's one thing we've told you over the years, it's this: If your seats are along the first-base or third-base lines, you must protect your food at all times -- but especially if a ballplayer is charging over in your direction, eyes searching the skies for a mid-flight foul ball.

A fan named Andrew Gudermuth now serves as the latest example of this situation coming to a head.

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Astros gain in HFA race; Altuve's forearm hurt

Houston claims Silver Boot, climbs to 2 GB of AL's top spot

Astros gain in HFA race; Altuve's forearm hurt

ARLINGTON -- The Astros pushed the rival Rangers to the brink of elimination on Monday night, winning the season series between the Lone Star State rivals in the process.

The American League West-champion Astros sent 12 batters to the plate in an eight-run outburst in the fourth inning -- taking advantage of a pair of costly errors to push across seven unearned runs -- to beat the Rangers, 11-2, at Globe Life Park.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.

Sam Butler is a reporter for MLB.com based in Arlington and covered the Rangers on Monday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Indians seal home-field advantage in ALDS

Indians seal home-field advantage in ALDS

With the Red Sox's loss to the Blue Jays on Monday, the Indians have clinched home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Dress for October: Get AL Central champs gear

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Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland. Follow him on Twitter at @benweinrib. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs' fast start helps magic number drop to 1

Cubs' fast start helps magic number drop to 1

ST. LOUIS -- The Cubs shifted their champagne onto ice Monday night while simultaneously delivering a costly blow to the Cardinals' chances of following with their own cork-popping celebration later in the week.

The suspense was drained out of Busch Stadium early, as the Cubs pounced on starter Luke Weaver for eight early runs before coasting to a 10-2 victory. The win extended Chicago's year-long dominance over the Cardinals -- they have won six straight and are now 12-4 in the season series -- and reduced the Cubs' magic number to repeat as National League Central champs to one.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rockies can't cash in RISP; 1 1/2 up in WC

Rockies can't cash in RISP; 1 1/2 up in WC

DENVER -- Miguel Rojas drove in a career-high four runs as the Marlins won, 5-4, putting a bump in the road the Rockies hope ends with a playoff berth.

Rojas had a three-run double off Rockies starter Tyler Chatwood in the fourth inning, and doubled in another run off lefty Kyle Freeland in the sixth.

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Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page.

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com based in Denver who covered the Marlins on Monday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins face Tribe with shot to clinch Wild Card

Twins face Tribe with shot to clinch Wild Card

After getting swept by the Yankees in New York, the Twins bounced back with a four-game sweep over the Tigers, and they're riding high into a three-game series against the historically hot Indians that begins on Tuesday at Progressive Field with a chance to clinch the second American League Wild Card spot.

Cleveland will start right-hander Josh Tomlin (9-9, 4.98 ERA) in the series opener, while Minnesota will counter with veteran Bartolo Colon (6-14, 6.63 ERA).

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Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Baker reflects on national anthem protests

Nationals manager: We need to adjust, find solution to the problem

Baker reflects on national anthem protests

PHILADELPHIA -- Athletes' protests to raise awareness about injustice and brutality at the hands of authorities reached Major League Baseball this weekend when A's catcher Bruce Maxwell took a knee during the national anthem on Saturday and Sunday, and has said he will continue to do so. On Monday, Nationals manager Dusty Baker addressed the topic.

Baker is a 68-year-old veteran of the Marine Corps Reserves who grew up during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, began his career in the Deep South during that time and has been outspoken about the racial challenges he has faced throughout his career.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Road to the Postseason: Sept. 26

Cubs on verge of clinching NL Central; Tribe secures ALDS home-field

Road to the Postseason: Sept. 26

The final week of regular-season action began Monday with two divisions and two Wild Card spots still unclaimed. After defeating the Cardinals in St. Louis on Monday, the Cubs are on the verge of wrapping up the National League Central with their magic number to clinch down to one.

Here's a look at how the rest of Monday's action impacted the playoff picture:

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Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Red Sox fall to Jays; magic number stays at 3

Red Sox fall to Jays; magic number stays at 3

BOSTON -- On the strength of a two-out, four-run second inning, the Blue Jays held on for a 6-4 victory on Monday night at Fenway Park, in the process keeping the Red Sox's magic number to clinch the American League East at three.

With the Yankees winning earlier in the day, Boston's lead in the division was cut to four games, with six games remaining for both teams. The loss also snapped the Red Sox's six-game win streak.

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Craig Forde is a contributor to MLB.com based in Boston and covered the Red Sox on Monday.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Explaining possible postseason tiebreakers

With mere days remaining in the Major League season, the battles for two division championships, two Wild Card spots and home-field advantage are still ongoing. And because even the 162-game schedule has proven unable to settle scores at various points in the game's long history, it's important to understand what would happen in the event of a tie.

So far, we've gotten through five seasons of October expansion and only required one tiebreaker game -- the 2013 tilt between the Rays and Rangers to decide the second AL Wild Card slot. But plenty of tiebreaker possibilities exist here in the home stretch of '17, and the goal here is to lay out the most realistic ones remaining and how they would be settled.

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Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Indians top Power Rankings for final week

Indians top Power Rankings for final week

In a highly unusual season that produced four landslide division wins, it's been obvious for a while that one of the Wild Card races was going to have to keep us on the edge of our seats through the final week of the regular season.

For a while, it looked like the AL race could produce some drama, but the Yankees have clinched the top spot and the Twins will likely seal their postseason berth soon. The race for the second National League Wild Card spot is where the late-season drama lies.

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Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cubs lined up for Central clinch on MLB.TV

Cubs lined up for Central clinch on MLB.TV

The Cubs' 2017 season has been up and down, but with six games to go, they have a chance to clinch the National League Central with a win or a Brewers loss tonight.

And what better way for them to have a chance to clinch than to face their rival Cardinals in a battle of aces with Jake Arrieta and Carlos Martinez taking the mound, streaming live on MLB.TV.

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Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland. Follow him on Twitter at @benweinrib. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Marlins remember Fernandez's joy, energy

Marlins remember Fernandez's joy, energy

DENVER -- A year ago on this date, the Marlins, their fans and so many others were left heartbroken by the tragic, sudden passing of star pitcher Jose Fernandez.

The Rockies paid special tribute to Fernandez on their video scoreboard before Monday's game with a remembrance over the P.A. before announcing the night's starting lineups.

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Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com based in Denver who covered the Marlins on Monday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Loss to White Sox puts Angels on brink of elimination

Loss to White Sox puts Angels on brink of elimination

CHICAGO -- The Angels' playoff hopes continued to dim on Monday night, as they dropped to five games out of the American League Wild Card race with a 4-2 series-opening loss to the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.

James Shields allowed two runs over seven innings, and Nicky Delmonico went 2-for-4 with two RBIs to hand the Angels the seventh loss in their last eight games. The Halos (77-79), who slid two games below .500 for the first time since Aug. 8, are now on the brink of elimination, as their defeat caused the idle Twins' magic number to clinch a Wild Card berth to fall to two with six games left to play.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

The Home Run Apple didn't rise after Travis d'Arnaud's homer, so fans cheered it back to life

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The Home Run Apple didn't rise after Travis d'Arnaud's homer, so fans cheered it back to life

The Home Run Apple at Citi Field has been through a lot. It suffered a boo-boo from Travis d'Arnaud's home run ball in 2015, was patched up. Fast forward a couple years later and d'Arnaud seems to be continuing his interesting relationship with the apple.

It was Monday night, during the Mets' 3-2 win over the Braves in Game 2 of a doubleheader, when the apple did … nothing. The giant piece of fruit usually rises after a member of the home team hits a home run -- but not this time.  

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The long and short of Blackmon's beard

The long and short of Blackmon's beard

DENVER -- Charlie Blackmon has heard the murmurs relating to the beard that cloaks nearly his entire face, and the mullet that has morphed with it. He's been called a lumberjack look-alike and confused for an extra on "Sons of Anarchy," among other far-flung comparisons.

"It makes my face really dark," Blackmon said of the beard, slowly beginning to grin. "Like, it's hard to know what's going on under there. I wear the eye black and sunglasses a lot of times, so I kind of like that persona -- like I'm a machine or something. I don't have a face or facial expressions. I'm just a 'Terminator' or something."

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Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Altuve exits, day to day after HBP on forearm

Altuve exits, day to day after HBP on forearm

ARLINGTON -- The Astros avoided what could have been a devastating blow when All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve exited after getting hit on the left forearm by a 94-mph fastball from Rangers relief pitcher Jose Leclerc in the seventh inning of Monday's 11-2 win with nothing more than a bruise.

Altuve, who notched his 199th hit of the season in the first inning, was taken for X-rays, which were negative. He's listed as day to day. Astros manager A.J. Hinch said he was going to take Altuve out of the game at that point had he reached a base anyway, which is why Tony Kemp was ready to pinch-run.

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ryan Zimmerman's impressive behind-the-back flip proves it takes a lot to get Rhys Hoskins out

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Ryan Zimmerman's impressive behind-the-back flip proves it takes a lot to get Rhys Hoskins out

Rhys Hoskins proved this season that it takes a lot for the opposing team to figure him out. For example, Don Mattingly said during a postgame interview that the only way to retire Hoskins would be to put his players in the seats. While that's something that'll more than likely never happen, Ryan Zimmerman proved it'll take a few tricks up your sleeve to stop the rookie from getting on base.

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Mariners mash 4, back fantastic Felix vs. A's

Mariners mash 4, back fantastic Felix vs. A's

OAKLAND -- The Mariners cruised to a 7-1 series-opening victory on Monday night, slugging four home runs -- including two off the bat of Mitch Haniger -- to snap the A's seven-game winning streak.

Right-hander Felix Hernandez did his part with six strong innings, the lone damage being Marcus Semien's sixth-inning solo shot. Hernandez, making his third start off the disabled list after being sidelined for more than a month by a shoulder issue, allowed just one other hit.

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Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

D-backs mulling Greinke's prep for WC Game

D-backs mulling Greinke's prep for WC Game

PHOENIX -- Zack Greinke will all but surely start the National League Wild Card Game on Oct. 4. The question is whether the right-hander will do it on his normal four days' rest or if he will get six instead.

If the D-backs stay in rotation from now until the end of the regular season, Greinke would start Wednesday's game against the Giants, which would give him six days off before the Wild Card Game.

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Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

DYK? At 25, Judge rewriting record books

DYK? At 25, Judge rewriting record books

Aaron Judge made history yet again in the Yankees' 11-3 win over the Royals on Monday, homering twice at Yankee Stadium to tie and then break Mark McGwire's rookie record of 49 home runs in a season.

While breaking the rookie home run record is a major landmark, Judge's 2017 season has been incredible in so many other ways. The 25-year-old has made his way into the record books of rookie history, the Yankees and Major League Baseball.

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Jack Baer is a reporter for MLB.com. Oliver Macklin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter at @OMacklinMLB. Matt Kelly, Ben Weinrib and David Adler contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nats ride Taylor homer past Phillies in opener

Nats ride Taylor homer past Phillies in opener

PHILADELPHIA -- On a night the Nationals learned they'd have to wait at least another day to activate Bryce Harper, Michael A. Taylor provided all the pop necessary for a series-opening 3-1 win against the Phillies on Monday at Citizens Bank Park. The win marked Washington's 95th, matching its total from last season.

Taylor crushed starter Aaron Nola's only mistake of the game -- an up-and-in fastball after working a 3-1 hitter's count -- out to left to put Washington up 2-0 early.

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Ben Harris is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia who covered the Phillies on Monday.

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pretty, pretty good: Larry David at Yanks game

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Pretty, pretty good: Larry David at Yanks game

You never know who you are going to see in the stands taking in a baseball game. For instance, David Letterman, a known Reds fan, took in a game at Great American Ball Park last month. At the Yankees' home opener, Alex Rodriguez, Henry Kissinger and Regis Philbin were in attendance.

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Lucroy finding power stroke for stretch run

Lucroy finding power stroke for stretch run

DENVER -- Veteran Rockies catcher Jonathan Lucroy could be finding his production and power at the right time.

Lucroy tripled and homered, plus nearly ignited a ninth-inning rally by fighting back from a 1-2 count to draw a walk, in Monday night's 5-4 home loss to the Marlins.

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Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards' focus shifts to WC race after loss to Cubs

Cards' focus shifts to WC race after loss to Cubs

ST. LOUIS -- No longer is it necessary for the Cardinals to divide their attention between two races. There is only one viable path to the postseason remaining, and it's getting narrower by the day.

An opportunity to delay a Cubs clinch faded away early in an eventual 10-2 loss on Monday. So, too, did the Cardinals' hopes of making a late charge up the division standings. With a National League Central title no longer attainable, the Cardinals will now seek to chase down the Rockies and the Brewers for the second NL Wild Card berth.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Betts not worried after exiting with wrist pain

Betts not worried after exiting with wrist pain

BOSTON -- Mookie Betts exited for precautionary reasons in the eighth inning of Monday night's 6-4 loss to the Blue Jays at Fenway Park.

Acknowledging that he had been battling some left wrist discomfort over the past few days, the All-Star right fielder was wincing in pain following an RBI single in the fifth.

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Craig Forde is a contributor to MLB.com based in Boston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Yadi pulled after taking two foul balls to mask

Catcher enters concussion protocol; status unclear for rest of 2017

Yadi pulled after taking two foul balls to mask

ST. LOUIS -- Knocked out of Monday's 10-2 loss to the Cubs after taking consecutive foul balls of his mask, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina was quickly ushered into Major League Baseball's concussion protocol. How he responds to those tests will determine whether Molina takes the field again this season.

Making his league-leading 133rd start behind the plate, Molina was hit in nearly identical spots by foul tips off the bat of Kris Bryant to open the seventh. A team athletic trainer, along with manager Mike Matheny, checked on him after the first impact. Molina convinced them he could continue.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.