Seven RBI enough for Joe Mauer as Twins win 19-1

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Joe Mauer turned in his fourth career five-hit game and drove in a personal-best seven runs as the Twins steamrolled the Royals 19-1 on Monday night.
The reigning AL MVP was 5-for-5 with a three-run homer and a double before being removed for a pinch-hitter with a runner on in the eighth. Manager Ron Gardenhire offered him the chance to hit and go for a 6-for-6 night, but Mauer opted out. Drew Butera replaced him and promptly lined into a double play.
Mauer topped his previous high of six RBI, which he established in a 20-1 win over the White Sox on May 21, 2009.
Also notable from the game was that Danny Valencia, who didn’t have a homer in the majors or minors this season, went 4-for-4 with a grand slam and a walk. He entered the game with four extra-base hits — all doubles — and five RBI in 81 at-bats for the Twins.
He’s the first Twin ever to hit a grand slam for his first homer.
The Royals got their lone run on a Wilson Betemit double in the ninth to narrowly avoid their worst shutout loss ever. It wouldn’t have been the biggest margin of victory this season either way, though. The Brewers beat the Pirates 20-0 back on April 22.
The 18-run deficit was the Royals’ biggest since they lost to the A’s 21-3 on June 18, 2000.

Kris Bryant on Joey Votto: “He’s the best player ever … He’s a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”

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The Cubs wrapped up a four-game series against the Reds at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon, suffering a 13-10 loss to split the set. They’ll match up again against the Reds next week for a three-game series in Cincinnati. That’s good news for Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, because that means he’ll get to see Reds first baseman Joey Votto some more.

As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Bryant has grown quite fond of Votto. Bryant has already won a World Series ring, a Rookie of the Year Award, and an MVP Award, but he still looks up to Votto. According to Bryant, Votto is “the best player ever.” He added, ““He’s my favorite player. I love watching him. I love talking to him, just picking his brain. He gets a lot of (heat) about his walks and working at-bats and some people want him to swing at more pitches. But, gosh, I mean, he does an unbelievable job. You know that he’s going to give you a great at-bat every time he goes up there. It’s definitely a guy that I look up to and I can learn from.”

Bryant said that Votto is “a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”

Bryant also explained how his approach changed by watching Votto. He said that in his rookie season, he was “swinging at everything.” Votto, however, is “aggressive, but he’s not going to swing at a pitch until he wants it.”

Indeed, in Bryant’s rookie season, he struck out in nearly 31 percent of his 650 plate appearances. This season, he has struck out in only 19 percent of his PA. His walk rate has also increased by more than 2.5 percent since his rookie campaign. Compared to last year, Bryant is down in HR and RBI, but his average is the same, his on-base percentage is markedly better, and his slugging percentage is only down by a minute amount.

Video: Daniel Descalso hits D-Backs’ third inside-the-park homer of the season

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Diamondbacks second baseman Daniel Descalso hit his team’s third inside-the-park home run of the season during Thursday’s 4-0 win over the Astros. In the top of the fourth inning, with the score 1-0 and the bases empty, Descalso ripped a 1-0, 83 MPH change-up to right-center field. The ball caromed off the wall, heading towards left field, which sent center Jake Marisnick on the chase. Marisnick tried to pick up the ball with his glove, but dropped it, which sealed Descalso’s destiny for an inside-the-parker.

It had only been five days since the Diamondbacks’ last inside-the-park home run. David Peralta hit one against the Cubs on August 12. Ketel Marte legged out his club’s first ITPHR on July 26 against the Braves.

As ESPN Stats & Info notes, the Diamondbacks have three as a team, which is amazing because the other 29 teams have hit seven combined.