Mets host three-hour interview with Wally Backman

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Single-A Brooklyn manager Wally Backman was interviewed Saturday in San Diego for the Mets’ managerial opening.  He had a three-hour sit-down meeting with new Mets GM Sandy Alderson and, according to Peter Botte of the New York Daily News, it went smoothly.

“I thought it went very well,” Backman told the Daily News Saturday night. “But out of respect to the Mets and the interview process, I’m not going to comment any further.”

Backman led the Brooklyn Cyclones to a stellar 51-24 record this season and a playoff berth, but he has a checkered past that includes a DUI arrest, tax evasion and other financial and personal struggles.  That past cost him a managing gig with the Diamondbacks in 2004.

The Mets are expected to interview close to 12 candidates, including but not limited to Mets minor league field coordinator Terry Collins, Mets third base coach Chip Hale, Double-A manager Tim Teufel, former Arizona manager Bob Melvin, Rangers hitting coach Clint Hurdle and former Mariners skipper Don Wakamatsu.  It’s a rather impressive list.

Mike Moustakas sets Royals single-season record with 37th home run

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Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas belted his 37th home run on Wednesday evening, setting a new club record for homers in a single season. Moustakas had been tied with Steve Balboni, who hit 36 home runs in 1985.

The home run came on a 2-0, 82 MPH slider from Blue Jays reliever Carlos Ramirez, boosting the Royals’ lead to 13-0 in the top of the sixth inning.

Moustakas, 29, entered the night batting .271/.313/.523 with 82 RBI and 71 runs scored in 560 plate appearances.

Chris Sale records his 300th strikeout this season

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Red Sox starter Chris Sale recorded his 300th strikeout of the 2017 season on Wednesday night against the Orioles. The momentous occasion occurred with two outs in the eighth inning. Facing Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a slider that caught the strike zone low and inside for called strike three.

Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002, and Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000. Pedro Martinez had been the only other Red Sox pitcher to have a 300-strikeout season.

Through eight scoreless innings, Sale limited the Orioles to four hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox offense gave him plenty of run support. Mookie Betts and Devin Marrero each hit two-run home runs in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez added a two-run double in the sixth and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double of his own in the eighth to make it 8-0.