TORONTO -- The first three games of a pivotal series between the Blue Jays and the American League-leading Royals had a playoff-like atmosphere. Sunday's finale, however, turned decidedly more intense.
Chin music was played, batters were hit and benches cleared in Toronto's 5-2 win at Rogers Centre that culminated with three ejections -- including Blue Jays manager John Gibbons -- and a heated exchange of words following the game.
NEW YORK -- The Mets' first three-homer inning since 2007 sent Citi Field into possibly the biggest ruckus in its history, shooting New York into a virtual tie for first place with a 5-2 win over the Nationals on Sunday night to complete a three-game sweep. Back-to-back third-inning homers from Curtis Granderson and Daniel Murphy sparked an electric atmosphere at the Queens ballpark, where the fans have thirsted for a playoff team since its inception in 2009. The crowd of 35,374 sure felt it finally had the makings of one after Lucas Duda followed Murphy two batters later with his ninth homer in eight games -- a two-run shot that punctuated a season-defining homestand and gave winning pitcher Noah Syndergaard insurance runs to work with.
The Mets' roster underwent a major facelift since the start of this 10-game homestand, most notably by adding bopper Yoenis Cespedes at the non-waiver Trade Deadline. Cespedes recorded his first Mets hit in the third inning. But it was the incumbent Mets who made the difference this weekend, with Duda leading the way. The slugger followed Saturday's dramatic, heavyweight performance with his 21st homer of the year, Granderson clubbed his 17th and Murphy added his seventh to make a loser of Jordan Zimmermann and cap the Mets' first home sweep of Washington since 2009.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
LOS ANGELES -- Andre Ethier hit a walk-off home run in the 10th inning to give the Dodgers a 5-3 victory over the Angels and their fourth straight win on Sunday at Dodger Stadium. The Halos wrapped up a 1-8 road trip.
Ethier also homered in the eighth inning to put the Dodgers up, 3-2, only for the Angels to tie the game in the ninth on Chris Iannetta's RBI double. When Ethier's spot in the order came around again in the 10th, the veteran yanked a 1-1 changeup into the right-field bullpen to give the Dodgers a Freeway Series sweep.
New acquisition's pinch-hit single lifts Cards over Rockies on Sunday
By David Cobb
ST. LOUIS -- When Brandon Moss came to the plate as a pinch-hitter with one out in the ninth and runners on first and third in a tie game, he knew it would be difficult to lift a ball to the outfield for a sacrifice fly against Rockies reliever Scott Oberg.
After seeing three fastballs from the hard-throwing righty, the left-handed-hitting Moss also decided that pulling the ball would be a challenge, so he took advantage of one of the few remaining options.
David Cobb is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Week Ahead: Familiar faces in new places
By Doug Miller
The Blue Jays will see if David was obtained for the right Price. The Astros will look to Mike to keep their postseason Fiers burning brightly. The Dodgers will hand the ball to Alex and try to keep putting the Wood to the Giants.
And so goes the Week Ahead, which is not only full of questionable puns but of thrilling pennant-race baseball, which is beginning to kick into serious overdrive now that last week's non-waiver Trade Deadline is behind us and October keeps getting closer.
CHICAGO -- Oh, well. Hanging onto Jeff Samardzija at the non-waiver Trade Deadline seemed like a good idea at the time.
Maybe not so much by mid-afternoon on Sunday, when the Yankees were pounding the Shark for nine runs en route to a 12-3 victory to win the series. It was a step in the wrong direction for the White Sox, in what has been a wide-open Wild Card race, lacking definition.
Center fielder delivers decisive hit, feels he's fitting right in
By Chandler Rome
HOUSTON -- Walking in to any new environment is daunting. For the uninitiated, walking into the Astros' clubhouse after a win, though, it can get a bit more cumbersome.
Created by George Springer, fog envelops a darkened room as strobe lights flash to the beat of techno music in "Club Astros" after each victory, and it was no different after Sunday's 4-1 win over the D-backs.
MILWAUKEE -- Addison Russell smacked a solo home run to back Clayton Richard, who helped himself by hitting an RBI double, leading the Cubs to a 4-3 victory Sunday over the Brewers to complete a four-game sweep.
With the win, the Cubs now are 10 games over .500 (57-47).
CINCINNATI -- Tempers are never far below the surface when the Pirates, the Reds and the National League Central rivals' mutual philosophies of pitching inside clash. Those emotions boiled above the surface in the eighth inning of Sunday's game with the Reds.
Weekly rankings are as much about long-term prognostications as they are about tracking the progress of a team week to week. And this week's MLB Power Rankings presented by The All-New Chrysler 200 largely reflect how a lot of teams fared at the non-waiver Trade Deadline and how that may set them up for the stretch drive.
The top five teams, for example, all have one thing in common: They seemingly did a lot to improve before the Trade Deadline passed last Friday. Still more in the top 10 -- the Giants and the Mets, for example -- also acquired strong reinforcements. This sets us up for what is looking to be a wild finish with several hotly contested division races likely to go down to the wire.
Those are some of your newest reasons to sign up now for MLB.TV, and here's another one: Major League Baseball Advanced Media just lowered the yearly subscription price to $49.99 for MLB.TV Premium and $39.99 for MLB.TV.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Key things to watch for in today's games
By Cash Kruth
This is why the Blue Jays traded for ace left-hander David Price.
Price, acquired by Toronto from Detroit for three prospects before the non-waiver Trade Deadline, makes his Blue Jays debut at 1:07 p.m. ET on Monday in Toronto in undoubtedly the most must-see game of the day.
MILWAUKEE -- Cubs rookie Kris Bryant was removed in the fifth inning of Sunday's 4-3 win over the Brewers as a precautionary measure because he felt a little dizzy after a hard slide into second base in the fifth inning. He was to be re-examined on Monday in Pittsburgh, where the Cubs open a three-game series.
"He got banged a little bit on the slide, popped him in the head a little bit," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "He's a little bit dizzy at the moment. We believe he's fine. I think he's going to be fine actually."
Mets manager Collins likes the versatility he has with all his outfielders
By Alden Woods
NEW YORK -- At this point in his career, Curtis Granderson doesn't care where in the outfield he plays. He's just making sure to check the lineup before jogging out to his habitual spot in right field.
It's no longer a given that Granderson will have a "9" penciled beside his name on every lineup card. The Mets' trades for outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Kelly Johnson have led manager Terry Collins to consider fiddling with his outfield combinations to create better day-to-day matchups.
CINCINNATI -- A.J. Burnett returned to Pittsburgh for his final season because he wanted to write a triumphant ending to a 17-year career. He may have unwittingly written a legendary exit.
Placed on the disabled list following a Thursday night outing when the pain in his right elbow became "a little more than I expected, and more than I could tolerate," Burnett has an appointment with Pirates team doctors on Monday in Pittsburgh. He expects the diagnosis to be one of two things.
CHICAGO -- Jacoby Ellsbury and Mark Teixeira homered and Ivan Nova allowed one run over six innings as the Yankees defeated the White Sox, 12-3, on Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field. New York outscored the White Sox, 27-17, in the three-game series, taking two of three.
Ellsbury led off with a home run on the second pitch of the game before the Yankees blew the game open with a five-run fourth and a three-run fifth. Stephen Drew supplied four RBIs, while Didi Gregorius, Brett Gardner and Ellsbury each added two RBIs. White Sox right-hander Jeff Samardzija threw fewer than five innings for the first time this season, giving up nine runs over 4 2/3.
Greg Garno is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
TORONTO -- Right-hander R.A. Dickey threw seven shutout innings and Chris Colabello smashed a two-run homer as the Blue Jays earned a 5-2 win over the Royals on Sunday to win three of the four games in the series at Rogers Centre.
Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. Dan Toman is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
First baseman has 9 blasts in last 8 games; Grandy, Murphy also go deep
By Joe Trezza
NEW YORK -- Replenished, rejuvenated and apparently revived, the Mets' once stagnant offense once again set Citi Field aflame by clobbering three third-inning home runs en route to a 5-2 win over the National League East-rival Nationals in Sunday's series finale.
MILWAUKEE -- This may be Dan Haren's last big league season, and if it is, the right-hander wants to go out with a winner.
Acquired on Friday from the Marlins, Haren will make his Cubs debut Wednesday in the series finale against the Pirates. When the trade was finalized, Haren posted on his Twitter account that he would be wearing No. 50.
MIAMI -- Nothing personal was directed at the Padres, but Jose Fernandez took the mound on Sunday afternoon with a bit more adrenaline than usual. The 23-year-old struck out 10 over six shutout innings in Miami's 5-2 win at Marlins Park.
Fernandez didn't have to be reminded that his 2014 season abruptly ended on May 9 in a 10-1 loss at Petco Park. Afterward, it was revealed that the hard-throwing right-hander had a torn elbow ligament that required Tommy John surgery.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
LOS ANGELES -- It didn't take much for Mat Latos to surpass his last debut after being traded.
On April 7, his first outing with the Miami Marlins after being traded in the offseason, Latos allowed seven runs in two-thirds of an inning. Latos was much better in his first start with the Dodgers, allowing one run on four hits over six innings in a 5-3 win over the Angels on Sunday.
NEW YORK -- On Sunday, just one day after optioning him to Triple-A Las Vegas, the Mets recalled Michael Conforto and placed Kirk Nieuwenhuis on the 15-day disabled list.
Nieuwenhuis did not play in the past three games as he attempted to ease the discomfort of a pinched nerve in his neck. When a cortisone shot proved ineffective, the Mets placed him on the DL and filled his spot on the 25-man roster with Conforto.
Rangers starter dominates Giants for first win since Tommy John surgery
By Cody Stavenhagen
ARLINGTON -- Martin Perez, only a little more than a year removed from Tommy John surgery, had pitched a dominant 8 1/3 innings before he left a changeup high and allowed a ninth-inning double to Angel Pagan.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister came to the mound to pull Perez in what became a 2-1 Rangers win Sunday against the Giants.
TORONTO -- With the Blue Jays banging home runs all weekend, the Royals' plan of attack in Sunday's 5-2 loss was to pitch more inside, which is exactly what right-hander Edinson Volquez did.
Volquez's pitch to Josh Donaldson in the first inning got too far inside and hit him. Both benches were warned, and that was just a prelude to a day full of tension, especially between Volquez and Donaldson.
ARLINGTON -- Josh Hamilton shattered the offensive silence Sunday at Globe Life Park with a sixth-inning home run that complemented Martin Perez's dominant performance as the Texas Rangers outlasted the San Francisco Giants, 2-1.
Perez limited San Francisco, which entered the afternoon ranked second in the National League in batting, to one hit in eight innings -- Justin Maxwell's infield single with two outs in the fifth -- and exited after allowing a one-out double to Angel Pagan in the ninth.
BOSTON -- Larry Lucchino's impactful run as president/CEO of the Red Sox will come to an end following the 2015 season.
In a statement released on Sunday morning, Lucchino said that he would stay with the club in a new role, and that Sam Kennedy, who grew up just a couple of miles from Fenway Park in Brookline, Mass., will be the team's next president.
MINNEAPOLIS -- After a wild ninth inning that saw both teams exchange homers to send the game to extra innings, Logan Morrison connected on a go-ahead RBI double in the 11th to help lift the Mariners to a 4-1 win over the Twins on Sunday afternoon at Target Field.
"I haven't even taken batting practice in the last four to five days," said Morrison, who has been sidelined by a bruised thumb but entered as a pinch-runner in the ninth. "I was just trying to get something in middle of the plate. I didn't feel it. When you barrel it, you don't feel it no matter how bad your hand hurts."
BOSTON -- The Rays are expected to call up infielder Richie Shaffer from Triple-A Durham before Monday's road game against the White Sox.
Left-hander Matt Moore will be optioned to Durham on Monday, which will leave an open spot on the 25-man roster. Because the Rays have a number of off-days in the coming weeks, they have the luxury of being able to use a four-man rotation. Thus, the Rays can fill Moore's vacated spot with an offensive player.
PHILADELPHIA -- Andrelton Simmons felt fortunate that he did not fracture his right thumb during Saturday night's 12-2 loss to the Phillies. But the significance of the Braves shortstop's injury will not be known until he undergoes an MRI exam on Monday in Atlanta.
"Our medical people are calling it a sprain," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. " There is no timetable. We're on top of it. We'll get him some ice and treatment and see how quickly we can get him back on the field."