MLB scores, schedule, live team updates, news: Puig's three homers help put Dodgers in first place

The third-to-last Saturday of the 2018 regular season brought us a full 15-game slate of big league action. Here is everything you need to know about the day that was in baseball.

Saturday's scores

Puig hits three homers as Dodgers beat Cards again, take first place

The Dodgers are taking care of business against the Cardinals this weekend. So is Yasiel Puig. Puig swatted three home runs Saturday afternoon after going deep twice Friday night. It is the first three-homer game of Puig's career.

Puig is only the ninth Dodger in history with back-to-back multi-homer games. He's the first to do it since Cody Bellinger last June. The last guy to do it before Bellinger? Adrian Beltre in 2004.

Los Angeles went into this four-game series two games behind the Cardinals for the second NL wild card spot. Three wins in the first three games give the Dodgers a one-game lead over St. Louis for that second wild card spot. At least that was the headline at the time the afternoon game finished. 

Out West at night, the Rockies fell to the Giants, meaning the Dodgers have moved into first place by a half-game. The Rockies maintain playoff position, sitting in the second wild card spot. A quick snapshot of both overly-fun races. 

NL West

  • Dodgers, -
  • Rockies, 0.5 GB
  • Diamondbacks, 4 GB

NL Wild Card

  • Brewers, +3.5
  • Rockies, - 
  • Cardinals, 0.5 GB
  • Diamondbacks, 3.5 GB
  • Phillies, 4.5 GB

Lots of head-to-head action remains, too. Fifteen days left in the season! 

Soto steals three bases for Nationals

Juan Soto's remarkable rookie season continues. On Saturday afternoon, Soto became the first teenager in baseball history to steal three bases in a game. They were his third, fourth, and fifth stolen bases of the season.

Soto took a .303/.417/.534 (148 OPS+) batting line and 20 home runs into Saturday's game. Only Tony Conigliaro (24 in 1964) and Bryce Harper (22 in 2012) hit more home runs as a teenager than Soto. Also, Soto has 71 walks on the season, far and away the most by a teenager in history. Rusty Staub held the previous record. He walked 59 times in 1963.

Lindor sets club leadoff homer record; Indians clinch AL Central

Make it eight leadoff home runs for Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor. That is a new franchise single-season record. Grady Sizemore held the previous record with seven leadoff homers in 2008. Lindor and Michael Brantley opened Saturday's game with back-to-back homers.

Lindor tied Ronald Acuna and Matt Carpenter for the 2018 league lead in leadoff homers. The all-time single-season leadoff homer record? That would be 13 by Alfonso Soriano with the 2003 Yankees.

Also, Saturday's home run was Lindor's 35th of the season. Manny Machado also went deep Saturday for his 35th homer. They are the first two full-time shortstops (i.e. at least 50 percent of games played at short) with 35 homers in a season since Bill Hall hit 35 with the 2006 Brewers. For real. 

On the whole, the Indians scored 15 runs on 18 hits in a laugher. It was fitting, because that's what the AL Central "race" has been this season and the Indians clinched the division on Saturday with this win. Full story on the clinch here.

Lester, bullpen lead way for Cubs

The Cubs were able to pull off the 1-0 win against the Reds Saturday in a game that featured only four hits for each team. Of the eight total hits, five were infield hits.

Here's the hit that gave the Cubs the lead for good: 

Needless to say, it was not a day of well-struck balls at Wrigley Field. Give at least a partial nod to the pitching. Reds starter Cody Reed struck out a career-high 10 in five scoreless innings. 

On the Cubs' end, Jon Lester was brilliant in seven scoreless innings. He allowed just two hits while striking out nine and walking two. Justin Wilson worked a good eighth while Jesse Chavez, Randy Rosario and Steve Cishek each got one out in the ninth to close it down. 

On Lester, he's now back in a hot streak. Check out the three distinct divisions in his season:

  • First 15 starts: 2.10 ERA
  • Next nine starts: 7.51 ERA
  • Last six starts: 1.73 ERA

Wilson's also hot. The lefty now has allowed just one run since Aug. 2 (0.84 ERA) and could prove to be the Cubs' best bullpen arm with Pedro Strop out and Brandon Morrow attempting to come back from a lengthy injury absence. 

Brewers lose ground

The Brewers got Christian Yelich's 30th home run of the season in the first inning to take an early lead: 

His previous career high in homers was 21, by the way, and he remains a name to watch in the wide-open NL MVP race. 

That's about all that can be said positively when it came to the Brewers offense in this one, though. The rest of the game was full of empty innings and wasted opportunities. The Brewers would leave seven men on base and go 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position. Twice late, they wasted relatively easy scoring opportunities. 

  • Jesus Aguilar led off the seventh with a double. He'd get to third on a wild pitch. Man on third with no outs? Lots of ways to score him, right? Those ways don't include strikeout, foul pop out, strikeout. 
  • Ryan Braun and Aguilar led off the ninth with back-to-back singles. They never got the chance to advance even one base. 

The Brewers now trail the Cubs by 2 1/2 games in the NL Central and the Cubs' magic number is 12. The Brewers are still, however, firmly in playoff position, holding the top NL wild card by 3 1/2 games over the Rockies with the Cardinals four back and on the outside looking in. 

Red Sox closing in on club record

The Red Sox won their 102nd game of the season on Saturday and they are soon going to be the winningest team in franchise history. Here are the four teams in Red Sox history to top 100 wins: 

  1. 1912 Red Sox, 105 wins
  2. 1946 Red Sox, 104 wins
  3. 2018 Red Sox, 102 wins
  4. 1915 Red Sox, 101 wins

Yankees stifled by rookie, late comeback falls short

Rookie Sean Reid-Foley took the hill for the Blue Jays in Yankee Stadium on Saturday in what had to look like a good matchup for the home team. Reid-Foley came in sporting a 6.86 ERA in four career starts and was battered by the Yankees in this ballpark on Aug. 18. 

This time around, it was the polar opposite. Reid-Foley was very good, striking out 10 while only allowing two hits in five scoreless innings. The Jays had a 5-0 lead when he departed and it would swell to 8-1. 

Then, things got a little more interesting. In the bottom of the seventh, Giancarlo Stanton and Didi Gregorius (his second of the game) both homered with what looked relatively harmless shots. With two outs, though, Gleyber Torres doubled in front of two walks and then Miguel Andujar hit a grand slam: 

Just like that, it was a barn burner at 8-7 heading to the eighth. The Yankees did get a runner in scoring position in the bottom of the eighth, but Blue Jays closer Ken Giles came on to close out the eighth and worked a four-out save. 

Rays still insanely hot

A playoff run is still unbelievably unlikely (they are eight games back of the second wild card with just over two weeks left), but the Rays have been insane for several weeks. With their win Saturday over the A's, the Rays are now 19-5 since Aug. 18. Not surprisingly, it's the best record in the majors in that stretch. 

Heck, they started 3-12 and 4-13 before righting the ship. What if they played well in that stretch to start the season? We'll never know, but this is an impressive ballclub at present. 

Diamondbacks flailing 

Back on Aug. 29, our own Dayn Perry mentioned that the Diamondbacks' road to the postseason was the toughest in baseball, going by the records of the remaining opponents. Thus far, it has at least in part been responsible for the D-Backs falling out of the playoff picture. 

Through Aug. 30, the Diamondbacks were up 1 1/2 games in the NL West. Since then, they've gone 4-11 and their playoff chances have taken a serious hit. With the blowout loss to the Astros on Saturday, the D-Backs now trail the Dodgers by four games for first place with the Rockies in the way. They are 3 1/2 back of the Rockies for the second NL wild card with the Cardinals only a half-game back of the Rockies. 

There are two weeks and one day worth of games left and Arizona just keeps falling back. The upcoming schedule? It's bleak. After Sunday's matinee against the Astros, the D-Backs host the Cubs, Rockies and Dodgers for nine games before the soft landing in San Diego to finish the season. I guess it's good nine of those games are at home, huh? 

Quick hits

  • "There has been some recent rumble" the Phillies could trade 1B Carlos Santana this offseason, reports NBC Sports Philly. Santana is hitting .233/.354/.429 with 23 homers in the first year of his three-year, $60 million contract.
  • Indians RHP Trevor Bauer threw off a mound again Friday, reports MLB.com. Bauer has been out a little more than a month now after suffering a stress fracture in his leg. It is still unclear when he'll be able to rejoin the rotation.
  • Indians DH Edwin Encarnacion suffered a sprained ankle in the game Saturday. 
  • Yankees closer LHP Aroldis Chapman threw a 26-pitch bullpen session Saturday, according to the YES Network. He's been out since mid-August with a knee issue. Chapman will throw a simulated game early next week, and could return after that.
  • Cubs closer RHP Brandon Morrow threw a 19-pitch simulated Saturday and expects to be activated in the coming days, reports 670 The Score. Morrow has been out since mid-July with biceps inflammation.
  • Diamondbacks RHP Clay Buchholz has been shut down for the season with a flexor strain, reports The Athletic. Buchholz was scratched from his most recent start earlier this week. He went 7-2 with a 2.01 ERA in 16 starts this year.
  • Cubs OF Kyle Schwarber remained out of the starting lineup Saturday. He's dealing with a back issue and has started just one of the team's last 10 games. UTIL Ian Happ is playing Schwarber's usual left field spot Saturday.
  • Braves 3B Johan Camargo remained out of the starting lineup Saturday. Camargo is nursing a groin injury and has not played since Tuesday. IF Charlie Culberson has filled in at the hot corner for the time being.
  • Tigers RHP Michael Fulmer exited Saturday's start after five pitches with right knee inflammation, the team announced. Fulmer gave up back-to-back home runs to begin the game, then had to exit.
  • Padres 3B Carlos Villanueva has been shut down for the season with a finger injury, reports MLB.com. He's currently on the disabled list with a fracture and the team won't rush him back. Villanueva hit .236/.299/.450 with 20 homers this year.

Live team updates

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories