The Houston Astros have won seven straight through Monday to take a 13 ½-game lead in the American League West and are within 5½ games of the New York Yankees for the best record in baseball.
Houston slugger Yordon Alvarez was the AL’s Player of the Month for June, batting .418 with nine home runs and 28 RBI and hitting a walk-off home run on Monday. His 1.061 OPS is the best in the majors and he is second in baseball with 25 homers, trailing only Aaron Judge.
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The Astros have gone 7-2 against New York teams over the past two weeks, won all four contests against the Mets and taken three of five from the Yankees.
Here’s how USA TODAY Sports’ eight-person panel voted this week:
Rank (movement from last week)
1. New York Yankees (–)
- The Yankees led the majors with 58 home runs in June.
2. Houston Astros (+1)
- Series vs. Royals, Athletics (six games) and a fairly easy schedule until the All-Star break with the Angels.
3. Los Angeles Dodgers (+1)
- Mookie Betts returned from the injured list playing second base.
4. New York Mets (-2)
- Max Scherzer returns Tuesday, while Jacob deGrom begins a rehab assignment Sunday.
5. Atlanta Braves (+1)
- The Braves went 24-10 in the majors in outfielder Michael Harris II’s first 34 games.
6. San Diego Padres (-1)
- Shout out to Nomar Mazara for batting .304 in the month of June.
7. Milwaukee Brewers (+3)
- Luis Urias had a big week, going 10-for-30 with three homers and eight RBI.
8. Boston Red Sox (-1)
- Rich Hill (4.20 ERA in 15 starts) went on the injured list with a knee injury.
9. Toronto Blue Jays (-1)
- Prized offseason acquisition Matt Chapman hit .215 in his first 75 games with Toronto.
10. St. Louis Cardinals (-1)
- The Cardinals’ next series against the NL Central-leading Brewers isn’t until Aug. 12.
11. Minnesota Twins (+2)
- Carlos Correa is hitting .342 with a 1.012 OPS in 21 June games.
12. Tampa Bay Rays (-1)
- Isaac Paredes, who returned in the Austin Meadows trade, has 13 HR and a .911 OPS in 41 games.
13. Cleveland Guardians (+1)
- Emmanuel Klaas may be the best reliever in baseball.
14. San Francisco Giants (-2)
- The Giants are on a fast decline in the NL West race, losing eight of 10.
15. Philadelphia Phillies (–)
- Rhys Hoskins hit .318 with nine home runs in his last 30 games – and the Phillies went 21-9.
16. Texas Rangers (–)
- Corey Seager has six HR in 86 AB vs. lefties, nine in 210 vs. right-handers.
17. Miami Marlins (–)
- Steven Okert is 5-0 with a 2.36 ERA in 33 appearances.
18. Chicago White Sox (+1)
- Dylan Seage’s last three starts: 1.00 ERA, 28 strikeouts in 18 innings.
19. Seattle Mariners (+2)
- Robbie Ray has a 2.06 ERA with 49 strikeouts in his last seven starts.
20. Los Angeles Angels (-2)
- Noah Syndergaard has been quietly solid: 3.86 ERA, 1.18 WHIP in 12 starts.
21. Baltimore Orioles (-1)
- Tyler Wells is 5-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his last five starts.
22. Arizona Diamondbacks (–)
- Reliever Ian Kennedy (3.58 ERA in 27 2/3 IP) will go on the injured list with a calf injury.
23. Colorado Rockies (-)
- Top prospect Zach Wien has 10 homers and 32 steals in 69 games for Class A Spokane.
24. Chicago Cubs (+2)
- Seiya Suzuki hit an inside-the-park home run in his first game on the injured list.
25. Pittsburgh Pirates (-1)
- Veteran lefty Jose Quintana (3.43 ERA in 15 starts) continues to perform.
26. Detroit Tigers (-1)
- Owner Chris Ilitch is “pleased with the progress” of the 31-47 Tigers.
27. Cincinnati Reds (–)
- Brandon Drury Watch: 17 HR and 45 RBI in 69 games.
28. Kansas City Royals (–)
- Rookie reliever Jose Cuas has a 1.98 ERA through 17 appearances.
29. Washington Nationals (–)
- Josh Bell hit .439 (25-57) with five home runs in 16 games from June 16-July 3.
30. Oakland Athletics (–)
- Frankie Montas was pulled from his start Sunday with a shoulder injury after one inning.