Clayton Kershaw made his return from injury on Friday but it was Jose Fernandez who stole the headlines as the Miami Marlins beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-1.
Fernandez struck out 14 batters in seven scoreless innings, giving up three hits and three walks. The performance dropped his ERA below 3.00 for the season (2.90).
As for Kershaw, he got off to a rocky start in his first start since the end of June, recovered nicely, but lasted only three innings at Marlins Park.
Mike Teixeira was in good form as the New York Yankees secured a 7-5 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, and the Boston Red Sox crushed the Toronto Blue Jays 13-3.
The Cincinnati Reds edged the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3, the Washington Nationals were also narrow 5-4 winners against the Philadelphia Phillies, and the Detroit Tigers got the better of the Baltimore Orioles 4-3.
The New York Mets beat the Atlanta Braves 6-4, the Chicago Cubs shut out the Houston Astros in a 2-0 win, the Chicago White Sox defeated the Kansas City Royals 7-2, the Cleveland Indians edged the Minnesota Twins 5-4, and the Milwaukee Brewers were downed by the St Louis Cardinals 4-3.
The Colorado Rockies defeated the San Diego Padres 4-1, the Seattle Mariners overcame the Oakland Athletics 3-2, the Texas Rangers left it late to beat the Los Angeles Angels 2-1, and the San Francisco Giants came through 7-6 against the Arizona Diamondbacks in extra innings.
It has been a tough year for the 36-year-old veteran Mike Teixeira, who announced in August this is his last season, but on Friday he looked like the Teixeira of old. He clubbed a grand slam and a double, walked twice and drove in four runs in five plate appearances in the Yankees victory.
Mike Napoli launched a blast into the upper deck at Target Field for his 32nd home run of the season. Statcast estimated the hit at 463 feet.
Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello became the first 20-game winner this season in Boston's 13-3 win over the Blue Jays. Porcello gave up two earned runs and struck out seven in seven innings.
RED SOX MEET BLUE JAYS
Toronto will aim to respond to their bludgeoning at the hands of Boston in game two of the series on Saturday.
These two teams are not just vying for the AL East title; a slight stumble could knock them out of the crowded AL wild-card picture. Toronto starter J.A. Happ (17-4, 3.34 ERA) has blossomed into an ace in the past year. Lefty Eduardo Rodriguez (2-6, 4.83 ERA) gets the start for the Red Sox. He looked sensational in his last start, giving up one hit in eight scoreless innings against the Athletics, but not so great in the start before that (five earned runs in 5 1/3 innings versus the Royals).