Riley swings the Braves to a win over the Red Sox
The Atlanta Braves received an MVP-level performance from Austin Riley as they went into Fenway Park and left with a 9-7 extra-innings win on the road against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday.
Riley – who is the second-favourite for National League MVP, trailing only Paul Goldschmidt from the St Louis Cardinals – got things going for the Braves in the opening inning, with an RBI triple scoring the first run of the game.
After Red Sox second-baseman Christian Arroyo connected on a two-run home run an inning later, travelling 403 feet, Riley answered back in the third frame with his own two-run shot, with his sailing 426 feet for the longest hit of the game.
The Red Sox rallied back in the middle stages, with home runs to Tommy Pham and Jarren Duran, as well as another RBI double from Arroyo, to jump ahead 5-4 in the fifth inning.
National League Rookie of the Year contender Michael Harris II tied the game with a double in the sixth frame, and Dansby Swanson gave the Braves a 6-5 lead as his double brought home Ronald Acuna Jr for his second run of the game.
That lead would be short-lived, with Boston tying things up at 6-6 in the bottom of the eighth through a J.D. Martinez base hit, and that score would hold through the end of regulation to force extra innings.
Both teams tallied a single run in the 10th, before Riley came through again in the 11th, driving in his fourth and fifth runs of the day with a single as Acuna crossed home plate for the third time to snatch a 9-7 lead.
Tyler Matzek made no mistakes on the mound, finishing things off and collecting his first save of the season, striking out two.
Riley finished three-for-five at the plate with five RBIs, and he now sits third in the league in home runs (30), eighth in RBIs (74) and second in total bases (255), trailing only New York Yankees superstar Aaron Judge (273).
Ohtani delivers with bat and ball
It was another starring performance for baseball's most unique player as Shohei Ohtani pitched six scoreless innings and hit his 25th home run of the season to carry the Los Angeles Angels to a 5-1 victory away against the Oakland Athletics.
Only 11 players have hit more home runs this season than Ohtani, while only five pitchers have struck out more batters than his 157 in 19 starts. Everyone ahead of him on the strikeout list has started at least two more games, and he trails only Braves rookie Spencer Strider in strikeouts-per-nine-innings among starters.
He struck out five batters against the Athletics while giving up four hits and three walks in his six innings, and finished two-for-three at the plate, with two runs and one RBI.
Padres get mixed results from new recruits
The San Diego Padres needed some late heroics when newly acquired closer Josh Hader blew a three-run lead in the ninth inning, before Manny Machado came through in the clutch for a 7-4 win.
While Hader was the Padres' big pitching recruit, Juan Soto was the prize of their trade deadline dealings, and he was terrific as he finished with two hits and two walks from his five plate appearances, including his first home run since arriving in San Diego.
Leading 4-1 in the ninth inning, Hader failed to secure the save, giving up three runs to tie the game. But the Padres would get away with it, with a single to Jurickson Profar and a walk to Soto bringing Machado to the plate for the walk-off home run.