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For baseball’s two closest divisional races, the first weekend of the regular season’s final month wrapped up with plenty of high-stakes drama. Ultimately, both the Red Sox and Giants walked away with hard-fought losses — a near no-hitter turning into a walk-off defeat for the former, and a 13-inning saga with a tough ending for the latter — as the top spots in the AL East and NL West remained up for grabs.
In the AL East, Sunday began with the Red Sox and Blue Jays tied atop the standings. For its part, Toronto kept things interesting early in the afternoon, coming from behind late to earn a victory against Tampa Bay. It was then Boston’s turn to match. That Eduardo Rodriguez managed to carry a no-hitter into the eighth inning would seem a promising sign here, but in the end, it wasn’t enough.
The Red Sox offense couldn’t get anything going against Kendall Graveman and the Oakland bullpen, and after E-Rod’s no-no was lost on a replay review with four outs to go, the A’s walked it off against Craig Kimbrel to win 1-0 in the ninth. Boston then handed over their spot at the top of the division as they slipped to one game back of the Blue Jays.
In the NL West, meanwhile, the Dodgers managed to extend their divisional lead over the Giants to three games. While L.A. took a relatively easy win against the Padres, the Giants battled through 13 innings to wrap up their tough weekend series with the Cubs. Ultimately, it was for naught, as they took the loss on a Jason Heyward walk-off single and slipped a little further back.
- Elsewhere in walk-off wins, the Indians came back in the ninth against the Marlins to extend their AL Central lead over the Tigers ...
- ... who won a close game over the Royals, leaving them 5 1/2 games back of Cleveland and still in possession of the second wild card spot.
- After being struck by a comebacker, Matt Shoemaker suffered a skull fracture in a scary moment in Sunday’s game against the Mariners. He reportedly spent the night in the hospital.
- After a rehab start this weekend, Clayton Kershaw is looking ready to make his return this Friday.
- The Mets remain in the wild card race with a win over the Nationals.
- The Braves may still be at the bottom of the standings, but they’ve quietly pushed their win streak to six.
- Wilmer Flores has changed his walk-up music to the Friends theme song, and people are really into it.
- Finally, Mitch Moreland cannot pronounce "Pokemon."