Former major leaguer Oscar Azocar dies at 45

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Oscar Azocar, who played with the Yankees and Padres during a three-season career that began in 1990, passed away Monday in a Venezuelan hospital. He was 45.
Originally a pitching prospect, Azocar had a 2.30 ERA over 168 1/3 innings in his first three seasons in the Yankees farm system. Arm problems played a role in his conversion to the outfield in 1987. He reached the majors as a 25-year-old in 1990 and hit .248/.257/.355 in 214 at-bats for the Bombers. He excelled at making contact no matter where the ball was thrown, and he had just 15 strikeouts and two walks as a rookie.
After the 1990 season, Azocar was traded to the Padres for Mike Humphreys. He went on to hit .204/.239/.240 in 225 at-bats with San Diego over the following two years. He vanished from the U.S. after that, but he continued playing baseball until 2001.
Popular in his native Venezuela, he was one of two inductees into the Caribbean Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010, joining Wilson Alvarez. He played in three Caribbean Series for Venezuela.

Astros’ bullpen throws combined one-hitter for MLB-best 30th win

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The Astros’ bullpen did yeoman’s work in place of the injured Dallas Keuchel on Monday against the Tigers. Keuchel is temporarily sidelined with a pinched nerve in his neck.

Brad Peacock made the spot start, limiting the Tigers to one hit and two walks with eight strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings. Chris Devenski took over with one out in the fifth, finishing out that inning as well as the sixth and seventh, facing the minimum. Will Harris pitched a perfect eighth and Ken Giles closed out the 1-0 victory in the ninth. Devenski, Harris, and Giles each had two strikeouts.

The Astros scored their only run in the bottom of the first inning as George Springer drew a leadoff walk, then scored on Jose Altuve‘s one-out double. Tigers starter Brad Fulmer pitched well enough to win on most days, giving up the lone run in seven frames.

After Monday’s win, the Astros became the first team to reach 30 wins, sitting on a 30-15 record. With a +55 run differential, even their expected record matches up with their actual record.

Brandon Phillips hit his 200th career home run

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Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.

Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.