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


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.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

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No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.