Cole Hamels shuts out Reds as Phillies complete sweep

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Yes, Game 2 was in their hands and they lost it, but with the results from Games 1 and 3, it doesn’t seem like the Reds ever really had a chance to win this series.
The Phillies got their second dominant pitching performance in three games, this one from Cole Hamels, in beating Cincinnati 2-0 on Sunday night and completing an NLDS sweep.
Hamels went the distance in this one, something he never did while putting together his dominant five-start run in the 2008 postseason. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel eschewed closer Brad Lidge in the ninth, even after Brandon Phillips singled to lead off the inning, and Hamels was able to finish it up in 119 pitches. He allowed five hits, walked none and struck out nine.
A two-out double from Ramon Hernandez in the seventh was the Reds’ lone extra-base hit. Once again, regular-season stars Joey Votto and Scott Rolen failed to get anything going. As the tying run, Votto grounded into a double play in the ninth to finish the series 1-for-10. Rolen was 1-for-11. Jonny Gomes, who didn’t play in Game 2, went 0-for-7 with three strikeouts.
The only Reds hitters to produce in the series were Phillips (4-for-12, 1 HR) and Jay Bruce (2-for-8, 1 HR, 2 BB).
With the easy victory, the Phillies will be well set up to take on either the Giants or Braves in a series starting next weekend. They’ll even have the option of setting up Roy Halladay to start Games 1, 4 and 7 if they’d like.

Report: Royals and Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Eric Hosmer #35 of the Kansas City Royals and the American League rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the National League in the 2nd inning of the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.

Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.

Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.

Yankees sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 17:  Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 17, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
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Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.

According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.

Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.