NEW YORK (AP) — Paul Goldschmidt of the St. Louis Cardinals won the National League MVP award Thursday night, taking the coveted trophy for the first time after a couple of close calls earlier in his career.
The first baseman received 22 of 30 first-place votes and eight seconds for 380 points from a Baseball Writers’ Association of America panel.
San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado finished second with 291 points after getting seven first-place votes, 13 seconds and seven thirds.
Goldschmidt’s teammate with the NL Central champion Cardinals, third baseman Nolan Arenado, came in third with 232 points. He was picked first on one ballot, second on two and third on 15.
The 35-year-old Goldschmidt batted .317 with 35 home runs, 115 RBIs and a league-leading .981 OPS this season. He had 41 doubles and scored 106 runs while compiling a .404 on-base percentage and topping the league in slugging percentage (.578).
The seven-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner was runner-up for NL MVP in 2013 and 2015, then finished third in 2017 — all with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He came in sixth last year with the Cardinals.
Machado batted .298 with 32 homers, 102 RBIs and an .898 OPS. He had 37 doubles and scored 100 runs to lead the Padres into the playoffs with a wild-card berth.
Arenado hit .293 with 30 homers and 103 RBIs, sparkling on defense at third base again to earn a 10th consecutive Gold Glove to begin his career. He had 42 doubles and an .891 OPS.
Powered by Goldschmidt and Arenado, the Cardinals went 93-69 and won their second division title in the last four years. They were swept at home by the NL champion Philadelphia Phillies in the wild-card round.
Balloting was conducted before the postseason.
The AL MVP award will be announced later Thursday, with New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge expected to win for the first time after hitting 62 home runs to break the American League record of 61 set by Roger Maris in 1961.
The other finalists are Los Angeles Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani and Houston Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez.
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