Quick Links

Posey, Pence, Ellsbury among 81 to strike deals

201301181943710183017-p2.jpeg

Posey, Pence, Ellsbury among 81 to strike deals

NEW YORK (AP) NL MVP Buster Posey agreed to an $8 million, one-year contract with the San Francisco Giants, teammate Hunter Pence got a $13.8 million deal and Jacoby Ellsbury settled with the Boston Red Sox for $9 million on a busy Friday as players and teams swapped figures in salary arbitration.

Eighty-one players reached agreements, leaving just 36 headed toward hearings next month in Phoenix from among the 133 who filed for arbitration Tuesday. Most of the cases are expected to settle.

San Diego third baseman Chase Headley had the largest request and the biggest spread, asking for $10.3 million while the Padres offered $7,075,000.

Boston reliever Craig Breslow had the slimmest gap. He sought $2,375,000 - that was $50,000 more than the Red Sox offered.

Teams won five of seven cases decided by three-arbitrator panels last winter, their 14th winning record in 16 years. Overall, owners lead 291-214 since arbitration began in 1974.

Posey was eligible for arbitration for the first time after hitting a National League-leading .336 with 24 homers and 103 RBIs and helping the Giants win their second World Series title in three seasons. Posey, who made $615,000 last year, cannot become a free agent until after the 2016 World Series.

Obtained by San Francisco from Philadelphia on July 31, Pence can become a free agent this fall, as can Ellsbury.

Among those left in arbitration, Cincinnati has a major league-high six players remaining. Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, acquired from Cleveland last month, asked for a raise from $4.9 million to $8 million, while the Reds offered $6.75 million. Right-hander Homer Bailey asked to be increased from $2.5 million to $5.8 million and was offered $4.75 million.

Mat Latos, eligible for arbitration for the first time, asked for a raise from $550,000 to $4.7 million after going 14-4 in his first season with the Reds. Cincinnati offered $4.15 million. The other Reds still in arbitration are pitchers Mike Leake and Alfredo Simon and outfielder Chris Heisey.

Two interesting settlements involved Los Angeles Angels pitcher Jason Vargas ($8.5 million) and Seattle Mariners first baseman-designated hitter Kendrys Morales ($5.25 million), who were swapped for each other last month.

Also reaching agreements were Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters ($5.5 million), Milwaukee closer John Axford ($5 million) and Atlanta outfielder Jason Heyward ($3.65 million).

Only two players got multiyear deals Friday. Toronto catcher Josh Thole, acquired from the New York Mets in the R.A. Dickey trade, got a $2.5 million, two-year contract, and Washington reliever Craig Stammen agreed to a $2,225,000, two-year deal.

The high-spending Los Angeles Dodgers settled with catcher A.J. Ellis ($2 million) and right-hander Ronald Belisario ($1.45 million). That raised the Dodgers' projected payroll to $214.2 million after an adjustment for cash received this year as part of last summer's trade with the Boston Red Sox for Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett.

Five players settled after the exchange of figures, with Boston and reliever Alfredo Aceves agreeing to a deal at the $2.65 million midpoint. Posey, Vargas, Washington reliever Tyler Clippard ($4 million) and Detroit reliever Phil Coke ($1.85 million) submitted the same figures as their teams, an indication they reached agreement shortly before the exchange and didn't finalize them until after the swap.

Quick Links

Zach Britton gets AL saves record as Orioles beat Astros 9-7

usatsi_10173745.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Zach Britton gets AL saves record as Orioles beat Astros 9-7

BALTIMORE -- Zach Britton set an American League record by converting his 55th consecutive save opportunity, blanking the Houston Astros in the ninth inning the seal the Baltimore Orioles' 9-7 victory on Sunday.

Britton struck out the first two batters and issued a walk before pinch-hitter George Springer bounced into a force play to end it.

Britton broke the AL mark held by Tom Gordon, who notched 54 straight saves with Boston from 1998-99. Britton started his run on Oct. 1, 2015, added 47 in a row last season and is 6 for 6 this year.

The major league record of 84 is held by Eric Gagne of the Dodgers from 2002-04. Saves became an official statistic in 1969.

Britton earned his fifth save on April 14 and endured two months on the disabled list with a strained left forearm before returning on July 5.

Baltimore broke a tie with two runs in the eighth against Luke Gregerson (2-3), using a sacrifice fly by Manny Machado and an RBI single by Jonathan Schoop.

Britton made the lead stand up, using 16 pitches to retire the AL West leaders.

Mark Trumbo homered and Adam Jones had four hits for the Orioles, who avoided a three-game sweep. Baltimore had lost eight straight to Houston, dating to last year.

Mychal Givens (7-0) worked the eighth for the Orioles.

The Astros twice fell behind by three runs before coming back. Jose Altuve's 15th home run -- the first of his four hits -- made it 3-all in the fourth, and Noro Aoki connected with two on in the sixth to knot the score at 6.

Houston added a run in the sixth, but Trumbo tied it with a shot to left leading off the seventh.

Astros starter Lance McCullers gave up six runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings. In three starts this month, the right-hander is 0-1 with a 9.88 ERA.

Baltimore's Dylan Bundy allowed seven runs in 5 1/3 innings, including both Houston homers.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Astros: 3B Colin Moran was placed on the disabled list with a facial fracture. The injury occurred Saturday night when the rookie fouled a ball off his cheek, and he remained hospitalized Sunday. Houston recalled 1B Tyler White from Triple-A Fresno. ... LHP Dallas Keuchel pitched five innings in his second rehab appearance Saturday night. He's been on the DL since June 5 with a neck injury.

Orioles: SS J.J. Hardy, who's been on the DL since June 19 with a fractured wrist, is taking grounders but not yet throwing. "Right now, the stage is getting the mobility back," Hardy said. He will see a hand specialist in a week, then seek to strengthen the wrist before starting baseball activities.

UP NEXT

Astros: RHP Brad Peacock (8-1, 2.49 ERA) helps Houston launch a three-game interleague series in Philadelphia on Monday night.

Orioles: Kevin Gausman (6-7, 6.11 ERA) seeks to level his record for the first time since April 18 when Baltimore opens a three-game series at Tampa Bay on Monday night.

Quick Links

Orioles can't keep up with Houston's offense

usatsi_10172962.jpg

Orioles can't keep up with Houston's offense

BALTIMORE -- The Houston Astros gasped, watched in dismay and jumped for joy in the span of a few minutes.

When the unusual sequence of events was complete, the American League's best ballclub was well on its way to another victory.

Marwin Gonzalez stepped in for injured Colin Moran and delivered a pinch-hit, three-run homer in the sixth inning to propel Houston past the Baltimore Orioles 8-4 on Saturday night.

Moran fouled a ball off his left eye and had difficulty standing before being carted from the field with a towel pressed against his bloody face.

"It was a pretty scary incident," manager A.J. Hinch said. "I go on the field and he's got blood on the face. Blood, it isn't generally seen in our sport."

Moran was taken to a hospital, where he was "evaluated for everything from a concussion to a fracture," Hinch said, adding that he expected the rookie to land on the disabled list.

After play resumed, Gonzalez ended a nine-pitch at-bat by driving a 2-2 offering from Darren O'Day (1-3) over the right-field wall and onto Eutaw Street. It was Houston's first pinch-hit homer of the season, and it capped a five-run uprising that wiped out Baltimore's 4-1 lead.

"The range of emotions goes to extreme thrill, for Marwin to come off the bench and work an at-bat," Hinch said.

As he headed to the plate, Gonzalez knew he had to turn his attention toward getting a hit off O'Day.

"That was a scary moment for us," Gonzalez said. "I just focused to have a good at-bat, but I got a homer and that was even better for the team."

O'Day also experienced an array of emotions -- from bad to worse.

"I've had good friends who've had accidents like that and never knew if they were going to play again or didn't get to play again, so I hope he's OK," the pitcher said. "But as a professional you've got to try and block that out."

Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel homered for the Astros, who will seek to complete a three-game sweep on Sunday. Houston has won eight straight over the Orioles spanning two seasons.

Astros right-hander Collin McHugh allowed four runs in 4 2/3 innings in his season debut and Francis Martes (3-0) pitched 2 1/3 innings of hitless relief.

McHugh went 19-7 in 2015 and 13-10 last year before being diagnosed with right shoulder tendinitis at spring training. He was shut down after one inning in a rehab start for Triple-A Fresno on April 6, returned to the mound on June 30 and pitched in four games with Double-A Corpus Christi before being activated Saturday.

McHugh showed no ill effects from the layoff -- until the fifth inning. After issuing a leadoff walk to Seth Smith, he got two quick outs before it started to rain. An instant later, Adam Jones drove a 2-0 pitch into the left-field seats.

Manny Machado followed with a single and Jonathan Schoop chased McHugh with a shot that wasted no time clearing the left-field wall.

Gurriel shaved the margin with a two-run drive off Chris Tillman in the sixth, and Gonzalez completed the comeback.

"He fouled off some good pitches until he got a bad one," O'Day said.