Twins sweep Tigers, increase lead to 3.5 games

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Minnesota finished a three-game sweep of Detroit this afternoon and now leads the AL Central by 3.5 games.
Alex Avila took Jon Rauch deep in the ninth inning for the Tigers’ fourth homer of the day, cutting the Twins’ lead to 5-4, but the replacement closer retired the next three batters to convert his eighth save in nine chances filling in for Joe Nathan.
As they’ve done all season the Twins put runs on the board despite multiple failures with the bases loaded. Minnesota has 45 at-bats with the bases loaded to lead all of baseball, but the Twins have hit a putrid .156 with zero homers in those spots. And yet the Twins still rank third in the league in runs per game behind only the Rays and Yankees.
If their bases loaded luck ever evens out the Twins might be able to put the AL Central away by the All-Star break. Right now the Tigers are the only team in the division within seven games and the Twins are on a 110-win pace.

Royals closer Kelvin Herrera leaves with forearm tightness

Associated Press
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The Royals are a game and a half out of the crazy AL Wild Card race — six games back of the Indians in the division — so they don’t have a huge margin for error. They got some bad news last night, though, that could have a major impact on their playoff hopes: closer Kelvin Herrera experienced tightness in his right forearm in the ninth inning of last night’s win, forcing him out of the game.

Herrera walked the bases loaded, then went to a 2-0 count on the next batter before leaving the game. That last pitch was a fastball that clocked in at 91 m.p.h., which is NOT a typical Kelvin Herrera fastball.  Herrera didn’t talk after the game but his teammate Sal Perez said that Herrera told him  “I’m tight. I don’t feel my forearm.”

Reporters left the clubhouse before an official diagnosis or prognosis could be delivered, so expect an update some time today. If Herrera is out the closer duties could fall to Scott Alexander or Brandon Maurer.

Albert Pujols sets the all-time record for home runs by a foreign-born player

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Albert Pujols had a big night last night, driving in four runs as the Angels beat the Rangers 10-1. Three of those runs came on a three-run homer. That was the 610th home run of Pujols’ career, snapping a tie for eighth on the all-time list with Sammy Sosa. It also made him baseball’s all-time leader for home runs by a player born outside the U.S.

Pujols was aware of the accomplishment, of course, and noted how honored he was after the game:

”It’s pretty special. Obviously, all the great players from the Dominican Republic, Latin America, Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia, they’ve gone through the big leagues and to be able to accomplish something like this is very humbling.”

After Sosa, who is from the Dominican Republic, comes Rafael Palmeiro (569); Manny Ramirez (555); David Ortiz (541); Carlos Delgado (473); Jose Canseco (462); Adrian Beltre and Miguel Cabrera (459).